Why We Love “Aspie” Kids
We’re touched and inspired by the “Autimism” movement, which promotes moving away from classifying autism spectrum disorder as a “disease” to be “cured,” but rather focuses on how kids on the spectrum are fully-formed, fun and interesting human beings! We reached out to award-winning author, Chantal Sicile-Kira, to shed some light on the awesomeness of kids with Asperger’s. — Sam Kurtzman-Counter, TMC, President
by Chantal Sicile-Kira
In the early 1990s, Asperger’s Syndrome was coined to describe those people on the more able end of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But, when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (2013) was published, the term Aspergers was abandoned, and now is considered part of ASD.
So, while diagnostically the term is not used anymore, in the real world, people continue to use it to describe their kids and students. We know Aspie kids are still out there and we love them!
Here are just a few reasons why:
- Aspie kids are very literal minded. If you see your Aspie kid drawing in a coloring book on the floor and tell them, “color on the table not the floor,” they will. They will color directly on the table, leaving the coloring book on the floor.
- They don’t lie. If you ask an Aspie kid if you look fat in a dress, be prepared to hear the painful truth.
- They are not discrete. If an Aspie kid has a question, he will ask it in front of anyone. Like the time an Aspie kid asked me how the baby got in my pregnant friend’s tummy; or why a friend of mine visiting from the Middle East was wearing a tea towel on his head.
- Aspie kids have great long-term memory for details. This could be really helpful in regards to helping you with your failing memory for passwords. Problem is, he or she will tell everyone else (see discrete #3 above).
- Aspie kids are consistent. This makes mealtime planning very easy (if a bit boring).
- They are notoriously bad at giving eye contact. This can create difficulties in school with the teacher. On the other hand, you can be sure he will not make eye contact with strangers in strange places.
- Usually they are great at anything on the computers, so they can help you with minor challenges you may be facing. But, you will have to make sure your secure files are really secure (and that you are not having them help you remember your passwords). (see #4)
- An Aspie kid may have advanced understanding and use of vocabulary. However their speech may be unclear. This is an advantage in public when your child asks inappropriate questions (see # 3).
I could go on! Kids with autism can bring a whole lot of insight, and some serious belly laughs into our lives. Yes, some days are really tough, but they’re also loaded with moments of discovery, and exposure to a unique way of experiencing the world.
Chantal Sicile-Kira is an award-winning author, speaker, and leader in the field of autism. She has been involved with autism spectrum disorders for over 25 years as both a parent and a professional on both sides of the Atlantic.
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