Years ago I worked at Best Buy electronics store in which I held numerous positions in various departments, except for Computers. During the majority of my tenure, I did not own a computer. Why? Well, first of all, when you work in retail, there isn’t a lot of money to spread around. Also, while in college I failed a computer programming class and worried I would never understand how to use the darn thing. One day a customer approached wondering where something in the computer department was. I directed her to the merchandise but needed to find another sales person to answer her questions. “What do you mean you don’t own a computer? How can you survive without one?” She asked taken aback by my lack of knowledge. Looking back at her I replied, “One does not miss, what they don’t know…” and handed her over to someone more knowledgeable than me.
Hello, I am a mother of two teenaged children. That line in and of itself should scare the crap out of some people, I know at times it does me. In addition, one of those two teenagers happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Usually when I tell people that, they either ask, “What is Asperger’s? or “What’s that like?” I’ve even had some say to me “I’m so sorry” which simply irks me.
So for the benefit of those who may wonder, the textbook definition is that Asperger’s is a developmental disorder affecting one’s ability to effectively socialize and communicate. For us, Asperger’s means my son has a hard time fitting in with kids his own age. He doesn’t effectively read the underlying social cues kids his own age use, to determine where they belong. Instead, he tends to isolate himself from others. For instance this past school year, he didn’t recognize any “familiar” faces during his lunch period, so he chose to sit in the library, alone instead. But for those of you who know him personally are fully aware, communication has never been a problem for my son. He loves to hear himself talk.
Asperger’s does not define my son. Every kid with Asperger’s does not demonstrate the same behavior as my son. There may be similarities, but no two are ever the same. I once had a teacher, while discussing my son’s potential placement in her class, tell me about some odd behavior a student with Asperger’s displayed in her classroom. I looked at her and asked “What does this have to do with my child?” While surreptitiously trying my best not to smack her and her assumptions. “Well, she’s the only one with Asperger’s with which I have been acquainted”. She replied.
Again just like everything else in this world, Asperger’s affects every person differently.
“I know you have it hard”. Someone recently said to me, while we discussed my son. I didn’t dispute her implication, primarily because I have a teenage son who’s a pain in the …well you get the picture. He’s stubborn, can be narcissistic at times and a know it all–especially when you consider how little he does, in fact, know. In addition, I also have a teenage daughter who’s not far behind employing those same undesirable characteristics, as her brother.Sure we all have it hard, but who said life was easy and who said one’s label (other than teenager) dictates or defines who they are?
Like I told that customer years ago, I don’t miss what I don’t know. I know my children and frankly, I wouldn’t have them any other way–well except to maybe have the boy like sports a little more.