Thursday, September 6, 2012

Were my interest in all things autism began

Years ago, I realized that my new spouse [an engineer] was not the typical or average guy that I previously thought he was. In fact, he was unlike any other man that I knew or had dealt with. After much research and observation, I begin to believe that he could possibly be autistic or, more likely, have Aspergers Syndrome. Not willing to admit to his own challenges, quirks, and differences, he remains undiagnosed. Not surprisingly, one of our two sons shows symptoms of Aspergers as well. He is a great inspiration for me to become an advocate in the black community and to learn how I can help bring more recognition to the unique differences in the appearance of Aspergers in black children compared to white children. These differences relate to culture and in my opinion contribute to the lack of diagnosis, late diagnosis, and misdiagnosis of children in African American communities. There are some folks that even suggest that many African American Adult Aspies may be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia based on some of the similar traits of blunted affect [emotionless face] and tangential speech [rambling, not getting to the point] or perhaps due to the limitations in research and studies on blacks, people of color, with autism. At any rate, black people are not immune to Aspergers. And, I am sure there are plenty of undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and diagnosed people in the black community that can attest to this. Going forward, I plan to use this blog as a platform for awareness and advocacy, to encourage those who suspect that their loved one has Aspergers to get them formally tested and to educate themselves on the assessment process. People that have Aspergers can contribute greatly to their society when they are understood and encouraged to explore and develop their unique interests and differences in the appropriate way. Consider those undiagnosed famous suspected Aspies like Bill Gates or Alfred Hitchcock; these people were geniuses in the field of interests. Both achieved world renowned success professionally. Their abilities to hyper-focus on their hobbies, craft, and pursuits made them innovators and masters in technology. I know that my son has the potential for greatness. I am in awe of how he processes things and what he does. He is special, gifted, and talented in ways that I don’t quite understand. He makes me laugh and cry, but more importantly he’s mine and I absolutely adore him. He does this thing when he wants me to drop the current topic, like, for example, when I ask, “why were you in time-out four times today,” first, he might gently suggest, “can you stop talking about this,” in his monotone voice or if he’s in a relaxed position, he might “pretend” to be sleeping, snores and all. Can he be more subtle? I brought this up because this is the most recent time that I had a nice LOL after something he has done or said. He rarely, if ever, is intending on being humorous; I think he is still trying to develop this attribute because when I commenced to laugh hysterically at his very realistic sounding snore, he got angry, and yelled at me to stop laughing at him, then went back to snoring. Whooz, shuh, shuh, shuh, Whoooz, shuh, shuh, shuh. Actually, the 'whooz' sounds more like a snort. I think he heard this on one of his favorite shows, “Peppa Pig,” he has a thing for talking pigs. But, Thomas the train is his world; you should see the track layouts that he builds. Any who, I look forward to talking more about the topic of Aspergers in black communities as well as sharing helpful information and resources for families with children in the autism spectrum. I also look forward to having an outlet to vent when my little Aspie starts working on my nerves.

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