A Story About Kindness and Autism

Today, I have a story to share about a man I recently met who is working on overcoming his challenges with Autism and how he help me with a small dilemma.

The Not So Genius of Genius Ideas

This weekend, during a family drive, one of our kids got sick in the family car due to a small case of motion sickness.  Anyways, by the time we got home, it was getting late and I still had to go grocery shopping.  However, unlike, a semi-rational person who would simply just remove the car seat (as it was just the carseat that was dirty) to take the family car to the store, I decided to take our second car, instead…Our vomit-free, super tiny Smart Car.  Yeah, not one of my best ideas.

The Smart Car Packing Challenge

At checkout is when I realized I might have a slight problem fitting all my groceries into a tiny car.  I must have let out a loud sigh, because the cashier took notice.  I then, explained my dilemma.  The cashier paused, looked at all the groceries (a week’s worth), and laughed with me.

In the grand scheme of things, my little dilemma was nothing; in fact, it was just another one of my everyday normal adventures.  I am capable of loading my car with groceries; however, to be honest, it wouldn’t be pretty.  I imagined I would have taken up all space in the Smart Car, using up all the space of it’s tiny so-called trunk, the passenger’s seat, passenger’s floorboard, and my lap, if needed.  I doubt I would be mindful of things that could get smooshed, like eggs, bread, and fruit, because I would be too distracted with the thought of just getting it all into the car.  But, nonetheless, I would be sure that every item would fit!

A Different Way Of Thinking

I think people with Autism are remarkably brilliant!  They seem to process information differently, in which, can be beneficial to solving very unique problems.  In this particular case, fitting a week’s worth of groceries into a tiny Smart Car.

At checkout, a man overheard my dilemma and with much enthusiasm wanted to help me load my groceries into my extremely tiny car.  “I can do it!” he confidently told me.  We chatted while I finished paying for my groceries and I honestly wasn’t expecting him to actually help me.  I mean, it was so kind of him to offer to help, but it wasn’t necessary; yet, when I was ready to leave, he kindly insisted.

This kind man’s name is Alex.  He told me he could help me, because his mind works like the game Tetris.  And he was not kidding!  He cheerfully chatted with me the entire time, while he loaded my car with groceries, not once pausing to think about what he was doing and how he was going to do it.  He quickly managed to fit all my groceries into the small space behind the seats (the so-called trunk area).  Not only did all the groceries fit in that tiny space, but nothing was smooshed.  He was extremely mindful of everything, heavy solid items on the bottom with soft fragile items on top!  Having all the groceries in the back of the Smart Car was quite impressive, especially, since I was certain that some of it was going to have to sit up front with me.

I really appreciated his help!  It was such a kind thing to do!  I also appreciate the way his mind works!  I know Autism is challenging, but I thought it was pretty great how he used one of his Autistic abilities (the way his mind works like Tetris) to help others.

Thank You Alex! 

I thanked Alex for helping me and unexpectedly, he told me, he has a YouTube Channel! That is super cool!

Here is his link to his Channel:  Autism Speaks Alex2018 .  He told me that he talks about his life, living with Autism, and asked me to check it out.  He posted a new video today.  He holds a positive attitude towards his everyday challenges with Autism.  After watching a few of his videos, I think his positive attitude is an inspiration to everyone!

Autism does have its challenges and I find it extremely awesome and inspiring that I met a man who has chosen to tackle those challenges with a positive attitude, a kind heart, and as well as, take full advantage of how his brain works to help others.  I wish him the very best with his You Tube Channel and may he continue to keep a positive outlook while overcoming his challenges with Autism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today I Start A Blog: Married To Asperger’s

I am happily married to Asperger’s; I mean, I am happily married to a partner with Asperger’s. ❤

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Acceptance is key to a healthy and happy relationship with a person with Asperger’s.  If not, well, I can tell you it helps; in addition to, drinking lots of strong coffee, with a dash of great understanding, sprinkled with a bit of patience, topped with a good sense of humor, enjoying your cup of coffee while looking out a new window everyday to gain a better perspective.  No doubt that living with a partner with Asperger’s can be challenging, but it can be just as rewarding as a delicious cup of coffee.  Obviously, I like coffee.  

What Is Asperger’s

Well, technically, it is called Asperger Syndrome.  It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects socialization and communication skills.  It is categorized as a high-functioning form of Autism.

  • Trouble making eye contact
  • One-way communictaion (either talks about themselves or listens without input or acknowledgement)
  • Lack social courtesy, making themselves seem rude, disrespectful, selfish, and lazy
  • Cannot pick up on body language, hints, and gestures
  • Difficulty with sarcasm and interprets information literally
  • Difficulty with emotions (cannot express own emotions, difficulty regulating emotions, trouble expressing empathy and gratitude towards others)

For more general information pertaining to Asperger’s Syndrome, I recommend visiting this website: Asperger’s Syndrome: What Are the Signs and Symptoms of the Disorder? 

The degree of Asperger symptoms can vary, allowing some individuals to live normal lives without ever realizing they have Asperger’s.  However, sometimes, Asperger’s can be a real bummer, affecting work (especially, if a job position requires effective communication skills), social life, parenting, and, of course, affect a perfectly good relationship / marriage.  Asperger’s in those situations are challenging to overcome for everyone involved, including those who do not have Asperger’s.

The Asperger’s Mind Is Not Flawed, Just Different

Obviously, there is a difference between the Asperger mind and the non-Asperger mind, but only in the way it processes and responds to information.  That is it, under the quirky processing cogs, you have an average individual; perhaps one who enjoys long walks on a beach, sipping on Pina Colada’s, and getting caught in the rain…

My point is, the Asperger’s mind doesn’t define anyone.  They say, “actions speak louder than words,” well, to have a successful relationship with a person who has Asperger’s, you must learn to realize that it is their words that speak louder than actions.  This is because they often do not understand what certain actions mean emotionally to others (socially) and because words are interpreted and expressed literally, you find more worth in their words than with their actions.  Yup, it’s just one of the fun backwards quirks of the Asperger’s mind.

The Asperger’s Mind Will Not Change

Bad news for those hoping to expect their partners with Asperger’s to do all the changing.  It will not happen.  I have been trying to force my husband to change his ways for years!  Turns out, the Asperger’s mind cannot be reprogrammed; at least not without some effort from its owner.  I am a true believer that one can successfully change their thinking habits no matter how it is wired, but it requires a lot of work.  So, taking the lead of Asperger’s logic, following the path of least resistance, I have realized that I am going to have to think outside the box on this one and learn to speak to the brain and not the heart.  I am not talking about learning to be telepathic, although, I often wonder if my husband expects me to read his mind.  Be much easier to communicate, I’ll tell ya that!

I believe I think too much emotionally with my heart than I do logically with my brain.  I blame hormones, but hey, what do I know.  Anyways, I discovered that if I calm down (nix the emotions) and speak literally and to the point, I can better communicate with my husband.  The same goes for interpreting  his actions or lack of actions; by nixing the emotions and thinking logically.  Basically, not reading too much into his actions.

Still Takes Two To Communicate

Although, I have learned the best way to communicate with my husband is by nixing the emotions, I am still an emotional person and my husband had to learn that about me.

However, he still cannot gauge my emotions.  I learned that if I am reasonably upset about something, he thinks I am “over reacting.”  When I am forced to explain my emotions rather than the problem that caused my emotions, is when I know we are not on the same page.  I think this is where most communication goes south in most relationships with Asperger’s; that pivotal point when a non-Asperger’s partner try’s to persuade their Asperger’s partner to feel just as strongly as they do about something as an attempt to get them on the same page.  We often forget that people do not have to be on the same “emotional” page to have equal understanding of something.

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To effectively communicate with one another, my husband had to learn to recognize when I am being emotional.  Although he cannot recognize and process emotions, he can certainly recognize when I am not making any sense to him (because I am speaking with emotion rather than logic).  He had to go out of his comfort zone to verbally acknowledge when I am not making any sense to him, so that I can nix the emotions and speak more logically.  He doesn’t have to tell me that I am being emotional, because 9 out of 10, he doesn’t know why I am not making any sense to him.

Before, he would just let me go on and on and on, BUT, it does take two to effectively communicate.  Thus, requires some effort from the other side, even if it is something as simple as saying, “I do not understand.”  This is a key phrase that indicates to my non-Asperger mind, that I better try again, but with less emotion, so that my husband’s Asperger mind can better understand what I am blabbering about emotionally.  This new tactic in communication has been extremely helpful in effectively communicating with each other.

Can You Relate?

I can talk about Asperger’s all day.  The good, the bad, and the crazy.

Learning more about Asperger’s has changed the way I communicate with my husband.  He use to be the most difficult person to live with and now, that I better understand him, he is nothing more than a loving husband who just so happens to look at the world from a completely different perspective, a logical perspective.

I know I am not alone when it comes to trying to understand the Asperger mind; therefore, I decided to start this blog.  I was hesitant at first, but with so much negative outlooks regarding Asperger relationships, I felt the need to share my experiences to provide hope to those who are not ready to give up on their partner’s.  Relationships with Asperger partners is not impossible, just takes a new perspective to make things work!   

Comments Always Welcome!