Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mindblindness, Obstinancy, Aspies and Adolescence


Sometime you wonder whether your child will ever get the little nuances that are necessary in order to get through life. There are times when everything seems to be going quite well that I fool myself into thinking that hey…maybe just maybe some of the work is over, but then I am pulled back into reality. Yesterday was one such day. Luckily it happened at the psychiatrist’s office so I had some back up.

Collegeman has been finished with the spring semester of college for several weeks now so he is engrossed in his World of Warcraft, Nintendo games and has begun to obsess once again about world-wide genocide. When we left the house he had to carry everything that was important to him in his hands or wear a rather warm spring jacket and put everything in the pockets. I mentioned to him that we could put everything in a bag and that it would be easier to take everything along but he had none of it.

He was actually quite annoyed that we had to go to the doctors. Truthfully he was quite put out. He of course, wanted to do what he wanted to do, and didn’t like being interrupted. Honestly I can understand his disdain. He doesn’t like to be bothered with things he considers incidental when he has more important things to do, like leveling up on WoW. Now its not the he doesn’t know about responsibility. Heck the youngman earned straight A’s this last semester, so responsibility is anything but foreign to him. But when he is done with the world for a while he is done with the world. Just as he knew he needed to cocoon himself after his push to get through writing several papers in one day, he really does know that he needs time to regroup after each semester. Bu sometime you have to do what you have to do and one of those things is to see your doctors.

No he didn’t meltdown or have a hissy fit, but you could tell by his need to carry everything in his hand that he was not happy and that he was anxious for some reason about going to take time out to see the doctor. But he was not really even in a bad mood as we waited for HSB to leave school. (It was a joint appointment.) Meanwhile collegeman read his papers and played his games while we waited for HSB to appear.

It was when we got to the doctor’s office that things got really harried. Collegeman took everything in his hands and ran in the building. HSB who had decided that yesterday of all days, was the day he was not going to eat lunch, so we had stopped at a vending machine in the office building, trying to get him some cheesnips (it was about the healthiest food item in the machine). Unfortunately for some reason the machine wouldn’t take dollar bills and I had no change. Collegeman decided he just couldn’t wait for us to get finished so he ran into the doctor’s waiting room and banged on his door.

Now there happened to be another mother and her teenage son waiting to go into the doctor’s office. Apparently she told collegeman that he could go before them. Collegeman was overjoyed and waltzed right in. I called him back and the doctor even told him to wait his turn. Now collegeman did not understand any of that at all. He groused and bitched and complained the entire time that the other family was in their session.

“It was inappropriate what you did.” I tried to tell him. ”You don’t barge into someone else’s session.”  “You wait until your appointment time.” “You take turns.” “Everything isn’t about what you want at that moment.” “ It was rude.”

“But she said I could go in.” “I knocked.” “I wanted to go in and how is it rude when she said I could go?”

Needless to say this went on until we finally got into the doctor’s office. I told him that collegeman has been like this for weeks now. That he does not see any social situation correctly and is refusing to listen to anything I tell him. He is being quite difficult and not wanting to acknowledge that he did anything wrong.

The doctor called collegeman in right away and together we tried to explain to him what was wrong with the scenario. We tired to explain to him that the other mother saw him run in, all disheveled (remember he was carrying all his important objects of the moment in his hands at the time too), looking rather upset and thought there was probably an emergency. As a mother of a child who also needs to see a psychiatrist she most likely thought there was a trauma of some kind and wanted collegeman to get help ASAP.

Collegeman insisted I did not know that was what she thought. “You are not allowed to assume,” he kept saying. “You need hard facts,” he kept saying.

I tried to explain body language and appearance and how any other person might have assumed that there was a problem by the way he was acting. In fact the psychiatrist pointed out that he might not even realize that this was the way he was coming across. Collegeman of course argued with the doctor that that was not it at all. She was just having manners and that it was rude of him to not accept. Collegeman would not listen. He kept fighting with us for almost an hour.

The psychiatrist tried to point out to him that even if she did let him go in first, did she realize that collegeman’s appointment was for over an hour and that her son’s appointment was for 15 minutes. That even if she was being kind, the doctor tried to explain, it did not mean she thought she would have to wait for an hour for collegeman. “How do you know?” collegeman asked.

The psychiatrist tired to explain to collegeman that we as adults were reading body language and understand how other adults think and act. That we are able to read situations and how someone behaves to try to parcel out how they feel, what they are thinking and what emotional state they happen to be in. That is what people do. Everything is not about exact protocol and exact rules and regulations. (Of course for a person taught through hard and fast rules this is very confusing.)

We told him under the rules and regulations guise, he should wait for his appointment time. There was no reason to try to go earlier. We were over 30 minutes early and even if collegeman wanted to let the doctor know that we had arrived, he should wait until the appointment time and then knock on the door. That yes, knocking is very polite, but that doesn’t mean it excuses when you knock at inappropriate times. In a doctor’s office you have to wait your turn. Your appointment is not more important than someone else. That even if someone offers you his or her appointment you should not take it if you know you have a long appointment ahead of you.

I don’t think collegeman actually ever really understood why what happened was incorrect or why we are able to understand and assume things in the social situation that he can’t. I think he was very confused after the event and I think if he actually tried to make heads or tails out of it now it would just upset him. I did just ask him if he understood about yesterday. He got embarrassed and explained that it was the way he entered the room that confused the other mother and that it was inappropriate to go before them since there was no emergency. He did get really annoyed when I tried to get him to explain it so I did give him the words to use.

I know that he did not mean anything by what happened. It was collegeman acting in his aspergean way without understanding the social protocols and getting rather confused with the ones he already understands. Hubby said one time when we realized that collegeman didn’t understand a simple cliché, how confusing the world has to be for him. I had hoped by this age it would have started to come together for him. I guess he and we still have a lot of work ahead.

I feel bad for my son. Try as he did he really didn’t understand what he had done wrong for so long and he didn’t understand why I was upset at him. Truth be told I was more upset that he wasn’t listening and not for what he did. The psychiatrist said that considering that aspies are delayed emotionally he could be going through that rebellious period that teens go through when they don’t want to listen to their parents, especially their mothers. Problem is that this aspie needs his mother’s instruction in some situations and that he needs to accept that. However, I see some more challenges ahead and quite frankly I am glad that there are others who work with him, at least he will listen to them.

As an aside, we also talked about HSB and his propensity to lie about how much chocolate milk he drinks during the day. We are trying to get him to drink more water and less of the milk. We are trying to cut back on his unnecessary calories in the hopes that he looses some weight. He is not terribly overweight but it could become a problem if he doesn’t learn how to curb his calories, especially since the meds he takes has a propensity to put weight on him. I did make a bit of a joke out it, saying to the psychiatrist that lying to your parents is a typical adolescent event, and thankfully HSB is lying about drinking too much chocolate milk and not taking illegal and dangerous drugs. I did laugh at that, you do have to find the silverlining at times.

Meanwhile, hubby had to have a huge talk with HSB after gong to the movies this past weekend because he kept shushing the adults sitting near them during the movie. Honestly it does annoy me when other people talk or make noise during a movie. It is really rude on the other people’s part but it was not up to HSB to correct the world. Hubby kept telling him to stop trying to teach everyone. It is something he needs to stop. Not because there aren’t people out there who could use a lesson in manners, but because one day he could shush the wrong person and end up with a punch in the nose or heaven-forbid worse.

God it never ends…

Until next time,
Elise