Friday, September 12, 2008

And The Book Of The Week Award goes to:

"Recent articles suggest that a touch of Asperger's is an essential part of much creative genius."*
Click on the book title above to read an excerpt from this hilarious, honest, and eye opening book. I recently checked it out of the library, and Derek and I both are reading it. I have found this book to be so much more helpful and understanding than any other generic article I've ever read about Asperger's Syndrome. Not only do I particularly like memoirs, but I also have a son with Asperger's.

My Jeremy is hilarious, very literal, and stuck in many little rituals and routines that he needs to do to make the world around him feel comfortable and safe. He is sensitive and straight forward and quick witted, and wants very much to be liked and accepted, even though his behaviors can be off-puting to those around him.
Living with a child with special needs makes typical parenting that much harder. We are learning about it, and he is on the waiting list for a program that we hear is terrific. We are looking forward to that. He will need many kinds of therapies, and we are so grateful that such programs exist.
Some of the people most affected by Jeremy's struggles are his three siblings. Derek and I are aware of this, and try to make sure to give them just as much attention as we give him. It's hard when your 4 year old starts to surpass his 7 year old brother in certain developmental aspects. It's also hard when that 4 year old wants to be able to look up to his brother, and sees his brother's struggles and social inequities as proper and rightly attainable. We have to sometimes gently talk to the kids about parts of what Jeremy struggles with in ways and with words that they can understand, but that don't make it sound like we are favoring Jeremy over them.
Yet despite many of his struggles, Jeremy is in a normal 2nd grade class and is doing well there. He seems to have great respect for teachers and institutions, and a desire to please them, and do what is expected of him, even if it takes him longer to warm to new situations and to figure out the social cues of recess.
I'm not going to try to explain all that Asperger's Syndrome is; it effects people differenty, and to different degrees. I will tell you that Asperger's is a form of Autism, and I see it as a sociological issue, as well, since growing up in different societies presents different social cues with different meanings for a person to have to pick up on.(That sociological part is just my own personal opinion, I haven't read that anywhere.) I will also tell you that I definitely was refreshed and delighted to see many eye-opening glimpses of my son reflected in every page of John Robison's memoir.
Often, Jeremy's struggles are not very apparent to the world at large. Often he just seems quirky or strange. But sometimes it is glaringly obvious that something is really off with this kid. For the sake of his privacy, I will not tell you everything Jeremy stuggles with, but I will tell you that he is very astute at getting to the most honest heart of a thing. Just tonight, Derek and I heard him telling someone:

"Be careful what you say to me, because my heart can easily break, and if you break my heart, I will be angry."

*Quote from page 240 of the above mentioned book.

P.S. If you've ever read this blog before, you may have noticed that Jeremy's mother is also quite quirky.


Verlana said...

How precious, Jeremy! I think he's great.

smalls said...

I LOVE JEREMY! And Matt and I will be sure to read the book, too - I heard it reviewed on NPR and it is supposed to be fantastic. I can't wait to learn more, as the glimpses into his "quirky" world that I've seen are BEAUTIFUL. Like his painting. UNBELIEVABLE. I want to commission him to paint something for our house. Or do a collaborative piece. Seriously M - he's got talent out the wahzoo! (And that's a lot of talent...)