Unfolding pages and Various other Aspies distractions
Chewing paper, unfolding pages, picking his cuticles, taking his shoes on and off, scratching, the bathroom, fidgeting, eating the eraser off of the pencil. These are just some of the distractions that my almost 15 year old son with aspergers will employ when he is faced with doing something that makes him uncomfortable. He usually performs these actions when he has to do homework or take notes in school. However, the scratching and unfolding pages is quite popular while he is in church. Each day, I receive a note or a verbal comment from his paraprofessional or some adult responsible for him during the day about what he was doing today. I am always amazed by the fact that these highly educated people have no idea that these are all normal things that people with Aspergers Syndrome will do when faced with some sort of stress. Would they rather he jump up, run back and forth flapping his arms as he did when he was younger? Or throw his now adult sized body to the floor and have a meltdown? We are aware that these are problematic actions in the classroom for someone who has to sit near him, but they are the best he can do right now. They are his coping mechanisms. We have an army of therapists working with him to help him find more suitable ways to cope, but for now, faced with a multitude of stress which he already has as a hormonal 14 year old, never mind the diagnosis, maybe they could cut him so slack! It is amazing that once you slap a diagnosis on someone, he becomes subject to more criticism than someone who does not have a diagnosis. Hello? People, do you see that we have chosen to give him help rather than to ignore it? Perhaps we could stand a little help. Read, study, learn about him and his syndrome instead of complaining and expecting miracles. If just having a talk with him worked, don't they think we would have done it years ago? Yes, there are always those educators who go the distance and learn, and I salute them, they make a difference. If only it were contagious!