Thursday, June 24, 2010

"I don't mean to offend you but.."

Andrew has a habit of saying the above and then adding..."you look fat." He did that a few weeks ago to a child at OT. Things went from bad to worse when the adults involved tried to logic him to stop saying it. That just made him say, "I'm sorry..but you are fat." (over and over again...)

People think- well just tell him DON'T SAY stuff like that. He has probably said that fat thing about 100 times. I heard him say it to someone at a grad party this weekend. But truly he thinks it is 'ok' to say it and telling him not to seems illogical to him. He also doesn't place value on it. I told him I was going to loose some weight and he said.."no mommy! I like you squishy." yea .. sorry kid. I gotta loose the squishy.

Our RDI consultant recommended a book: Look Me In The Eye. It is written by an adult w/ Apsergers. I don't really like that much of the book. The text is somewhat boring to me and there is some 'naughty' language but I think I will buy it (I have a library copy) just for one chapter called, Logic vs. Small Talk. (There is also some in there on how he feels his brain has been re-wired over the years. The second half of the book is better.) There are several pages that are most interesting but let me type out a couple of paragraphs. Starting on page 192:

As to weight...if he looked bigger, I'd say, "You seem fatter than the last time I saw you." I've learned by life experience that people get fatter for any number of reason, most of which are benign. I am aware that people may not like having their deficiencies- increased bulk, for instance- pointed out. But my mouth may spit out, "You look fatter!" before my brain concludes, It would be rude to say he looks fatter!

Losing weight is another matter. If someone looks a lot thinner, I might say, "You look a lot thinner..are you sick?" I know people go on diets. But people my age are just as likely to be thinner because there's something wrong with them. ....

The chapter has much more than discussing just this but it points to the fact that even as an ADULT, he struggles with saying inappropriate things. He was not diagnosed until he was 40..he has tools... yet sometimes his inborn brain wiring just doesn't quite get things 'right.' So be compassionate and patient with those on the spectrum when it comes to communicating. The closing paragraph of the chapter:

With me, though there is no external sign that I am conversationally handicapped. So folks hear some conversational misstep and say, "What an arrogant jerk!" I look forward to the day when my handicap will afford me the same respect accorded to the guy in a wheelchair.


The Glasers said...

Fluffy? Well-padded? Insulated? Enjoying the fast-food life? Ready for 2012 when the world is going to end? . . . too much coffee in the past 12 hours!

Do you think that Andrew's impulsiveness or OCD qualities overcomes referencing at some point? Like Monk knows he shouldn't say or do things, but he can't help himself?

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

you are funny. you know the ocd/impulsive/referencing.. they all exist together like a big ball of yarn that has been unraveled and then rolled back together. some is all twisted, connected, tangled.. i am seeing LESS of that and MORE of that if that makes any sense. Was talking w/ a friend and then a book confirmed..when you do RDI you are re-wiring the brain (you knew that) and so I think in some cases you might see some things get better before they get worse.

Laura O said...

Well, I've got one son that does something simliar and he isn't diagnosed with any issue that would explain his bluntness.

Actually, most of my boys will comment about other people being heavy. But, I guess they don't view their slightly plump mom in the same category.

Welcome on board the TOS Crew from one of the FMs.

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