Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"All kids are like that"

The dreaded phrase that puts me in the awkward position of justifying the very impairments I strive to help my son compensate for. That statement, usually offered by way of support, often leads to 'one upsmanship' (or should I call it 'one *down*smanship') of accentuating problems and reinforcing stereotypes.

On the one hand, I would like to claim membership in the community of more typical parents with more typical developmental needs and crises. On the other, living with AS does come with its own set of issues. I once heard Carol Gray say that AS kids are like all other kids. . . only 'more so'. I really liked the way she puts this.

Just because someone is on the spectrum, doesn't automatically mean everything he/she does or says is *because* of AS. But being an "Aspie" (and I know not all folks like that term) is more than a collection of descriptive signs and symptoms in a medical text. It's a feedback loop--our central processing/wiring effects our developmental path, our developmental experiences effect out central wiring. AS is not just *what* we are, but also *who* we are.

So saying "all kids are like that" or "all kids do that" or "all kids go through that" both minimizes the real struggles that individuals with AS/Autism have as well as (overtly or covertly) accentuates the gap between NT's and AC's.

1 comment:

Kristina Chew said...

That phrase brings up a lot of feelings for me as it leads me to consider that Charlie is "not" so different (while he all the while is)--but I always feel that frustration about how the phrase "minimizes" the very real struggles Charlie faces and that the phrase only seems to bring out more. I too dread it, indeed.

Thank you for your very kind and cheering words about my blog--I will be checking into yours frequently. It was really lovely to meet and speak with you last weekend and I am very pleased your son likes Latin so much---Optime!