Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

As Marty was rolling around on my bed, he sits up and announces, “When grandma comes I am gonna ask her to spank everybody in the class.” I started to laugh, thinking to myself how much this kid really hates school to the point that he wants grandma to inflict a good ole whooping on his innocent classmates. Marty looks confused,” Do you love me when you laugh at me?” “Of course, I do. When you say funny things, it makes me want to laugh,” I explain. Just an example at how he can be totally confused by emotions, gestures, and social situations that are not familiar. If I could only walk in his shoes just to see how he interprets his world maybe I would appreciate his quirks a little bit more. So, any who, I managed to watch Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in its entirety; and it was awesome. The protagonist, Oscar, provides the perfect reenactment of a child who has an ASD. This movie got some of the worst reviews because most people didn’t get it. Which shows me how inexperienced the NT society is when it comes to [perceptions of] children with an ASD. If you don’t have or know a child with an ASD then, I guess, all children with ASD are some form of Sheldon from the “Big Bang Theory”. In many films I have seen that depict a child or an adult man with an AS, the actors exaggerate the “non typical” traits and make the person appear more like a robot than an actual person with genuine feelings and emotions. There is much that I still do not understand about autism spectrum disorders, but I do know that those with an ASD have feelings, they have emotions, and most of them can even sympathize with others. They may not be able to ‘put themselves in others shoes’ but they can remember and reenact a time when they felt a similar emotion. At our house, we do a lot of, “when Thomas the train # 6 broke, how did you feel?  Sad? That’s how someone else might feel if you say mean things to them.” To Marty, Thomas is his world – he is deeply affected when those trains are damaged, misplaced, lost, or stolen. He is even afraid of a Thomas train character named Diesel; terrified even. Sure, I think he’s overreacting, but Marty doesn’t. His fear is just as real as mine. We simply fear different things. I know that Aspies are not always socially inappropriate and that, for some, their special interests and hobbies are at times more important to them than meeting their basic needs for survival. Hopefully, those who are reading this will get a chance to see the movie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I think many adolescent Aspies will be pleased at this depiction of a young [suspected] Aspie being vulnerable and exploring his deepest emotions while connecting with other people. Plus, the movie is a clever, well written, story of the many layers of human emotion...It’s a real tear jerker. I hate that some reviewers didn’t consider and appreciate the unique and special world of those living with an ASD and all that they have to offer.

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