I don’t understand.
I don’t remember.
I don’t care.
I don’t want to.
Such are often heard phrases in the life of those who live with, work with, and (try to) play with adults with Aspergers Syndrome.
“Due to misunderstanding their behavior, adults with Aspergers can be seen as selfish by their peer group members. Other unfair labels can be: egoistic, cold, ridged or uncaring. Their behavior might appear to be unkind or callous. This kind of labelling (sic) is unfair and has nothing to do with behaving inappropriately on purpose. Adults with Asperger syndrome are neurologically unable to see things from the other persons point of view. They are frequently told by their peers or partners that their actions or remarks are considered painful or rude which comes as a shock to them since they were never aware of this in the first place. It’s therefor important to get a diagnosis so people arround (sic) them understand their behavior better.”
Steve looks like a grown up. Most of the time while in public and at work he acts like a grown up. It seems to be only at home that he takes off his ‘grown up suit’ and acts like a three year old.
If you’ve ever had kids, you may have experienced that three year old stage where the kid will stand at the open front door with one foot out and one foot in, sobbing hysterically because they want to go out and they want to go in. My Aspie husband no longer sobs, but he does become confounded by his conflicting feelings and desires. His anguish typically manifests into frustrated anger.
Today Steve needs to work from home. He had tons of stuff to finish up from the regular week. But I need him to check the engine fluids on the new (to me) car that I bought yesterday. And he just received some new engine parts for his Buick that he’s working on so he wants to get out to his garage to putter on that. And it’s Saturday so he wants to sleep in. And the lawn needs mowing.
He can only do one at a time. How to prioritize? What to do? How should he react like a grown up? These issues only exacerbate his frustrations.
If my hubby is willing to talk with and listen to me, I can usually help him figure out a logical (to him) plan for his day. We can figure out how much time each task will take. Mowing takes two hours whereas checking the car takes ten to fifteen minutes. We can determine what time of the day doing the task would make sense. Sleeping in at 4 p.m. would not be very logical. Trying to mow after dark would not work so well.
What absolutely needs doing today? Can any of the tasks be moved to tomorrow if there isn’t enough time to complete them in an unrushed, non-frantic fashion?
As we worked through his task list, Steve became visibly relieved and relaxed. He involuntarily heaved a huge sigh.
“I’m sure glad we see eye to eye,” says he.