Mr Williams, read my article from the The Orange County Register, which I have reposted here as well, and took the time to leave a comment on my blog. Because it was so well written, and so long, I felt it merited it’s own blog post.
Well done, Robert! I’m an Aspie as well, albeit not formally diagnosed, 46, with a 12 year old son who is a diagnosed Aspie. When my wife and I were trying to figure out what was going on with him in his early years (especially since the pediatrician dismissed our questions/concerns outright), I stumbled on references to Asperger’s Syndrome. Reading the various traits and hallmarks was like reading into a mirror. Not only did it describe him, but it described me to a T. And, it also described my Dad as well, which led me to believe that AS is hereditary, and based on the levels of AS from my father to me and then to Ethan, I’m reasonably convinced that the “level” of AS is pronounced with each generation. Of course, I’m not a scientist or expert in any medical arena, but, like you said, I know us because I am one, and I witness and live it each day.
I grew up in Australia, and moved here to the US when I was 20 (1986). I was brilliant at school, would read encyclopedias for the hell of it, but at home I was a complete klutz. My folks wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Dad had the shortest temper on the planet, and I felt his wrath plenty over the years. On his good days, he sweat brilliance, knew everything about anything, and would talk paint off a wall (much to the chagrin of people he knew, who often had tuned out eons before but were captive to his ramblings). I got one hug out of the guy, which was prompted by me, and he still felt uncomfortable. We had a falling out in 1996, when I approached him over his days with the heavy hand, and I was basically ostracized. He died last year, and the family never mentioned it; I found out through a Google search for an obituary.
Depression, attention issues, lack of focus, constant distractions… that’s me. In fact, I came across your story as a result of being distracted from my normal work at home (graphic design/illustration). My teenage and 20’s years were miserable. It’s taken time to “grow out” of certain things, but I still tackle with various issues. I don’t have personal friends (real-life ones, away from the ‘net), and I’m not bothered by it. In fact, I’m more uncomfortable around people in casual settings, and would prefer to not be there. I work okay with people (I’m also part-time at Disneyland) but I’m there to work and then go home. (The kids are the best, I do enjoy interacting with them better than adults).
Ethan, the oldest of my two sons, is profoundly anti-social, and extremely awkward in conversation with anyone, family or stranger. At school, he’s brilliant, working in math beyond his age range, can spell anything, has a memory for history like a trap (got that from me), but has difficulty with comprehension and vocal sentence structure. He cannot stand tattoos but has taught himself to look away and ignore them (a world of difference from when it first manifested). The youngest, Gage (7) is mildly autistic, but not an Aspie, and is much more outgoing.
The difficulty lies in knowing that in order to help him overcome social obstacles, I need to be there to help, which presents some problems at times when I myself have similar issues. No amount of therapy or counseling is likely to help (been there, done that); it’s a matter of trial and error for all of us. There’s still some resistance from some circles; my mother doesn’t buy that I’m an Aspie, and it took her a long while to accept that diagnosis for Ethan. It can be a lonely environment to work in sometimes.
Well, I’ve rambled on long enough, just as Dad would, and now I must go collect the paint off the floor. (Metaphors I can do; Ethan wouldn’t get that at all).
Anaheim Hills, CA