The reason I get along with my cat so much is because we think so much alike. We don’t like surprises, we both like food, we both like things when they are calm.
- Surprises are super annoying to a kid with Asperger’s. People can have a good thought in them, and not understand that you just don’t like things popping up in your face. Asperger’s kids don’t like it when their rules change or their schedules change suddenly. Having time to ease into things, and seeing things coming, make change way easier. Asperger’s kids like routine. It helps us feel way more relaxed.
- Sometimes, Asperger’s kids say things trying to be funny and blend in, and it actually has the reverse effect. If someone doesn’t take something kindly, say you’re sorry and hopefully move on. Explain what you said and why you said it. It will help people to see that you’re not trying to be rude.
- If you go to someone else’s house, or to a new environment, having things that are familiar to you can be helpful. Your sleeping bag, your blanket, your stuffed lobster. These are all helpful things that can help you ease into a new space. When you’re there, find a private spot you can go to to chill out when things are too hectic. You can tell people, “I need to take a break for a second.” If you need to go home, your friends shouldn’t be offended. They should accept the fact that you sometimes aren’t ready for their environment yet. That doesn’t mean you don’t like them, it’s just how your brain works.
- Asperger’s kids can sometimes relate better to animals than people. You can’t really offend an animal with just words, unless you yell at it and scare it. When you feel like you are the only person in society who cares about you or understands you, an animal can make you feel less alone. The reason I get along with my cat so much is because we think so much alike. We don’t like surprises, we both like food, we both like things when they are calm. I knew how to introduce myself to him, because I am very much like that cat. I got down to his height and approached him slowly, giving him time to adjust. Ever since then, he’s been my cat, and likes me the best.
- Reading books about Asperger’s can help you understand. My favorite book to recommend is “All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome” by Kathy Hoopmann. I recommend this book because it really defines what Asperger’s is. It made me laugh, it helped me relate and it has cool pictures of cats. In my opinion, it is a great book for any kid with Asperger’s.
And what would I like to say? Mostly that my child is a special, brilliant, amazing human being who, just like all of us, wants to be loved and appreciated. For every thing that is “too blunt” and for every time he can’t read the room, he notices ten interesting, unique things about people and appreciates them in a way no other child does. For every time he resists a social norm or doesn’t understand one, there are a dozen interactions that his atypical brain make fascinating and delightful. For every time he struggles to adapt or appreciate something that doesn’t fit into his ideas or schedule, there is a time that he reminds me to slow down, see things from a new perspective, and really evaluate what is important and what isn’t. I believe that our children were sent to us for a reason, and I believe that he has as much to teach me as I have to teach him. And I wouldn’t trade him, miraculous, mysterious brain and all, for any other child in the world.
Originally published on Sweatpants and Coffee.
Barbara Sirois Doyle is a Contributing Editor for the online lifestyle magazine Sweatpants & Coffee. She is a writer, mixed-media artist, and a wife and mother to her boyos three. Originally a New England native, she now lives with her family in Northern California.