Your Parenting Info Sign Up

The Literal Aspergian Child

by C. Finkbeiner | May 21st, 2015 | Special Needs, Tweens

tween boy black and white (400x400)It was a blazing summer afternoon. My son and I were driving to pick up my husband from work. There was no air conditioner in the car, so we had the windows open and the music loud. Just me and my boy out for a cruise. Just before we pulled up to our destination, the song “Hot in Here” by Nelly came on the radio. My five year old bounced up from his overheated backseat slump and started to wiggle and groove. Ah, precious moments.

I pulled up to the plaza and parked to wait for hubby to finish up work for the day. I peeked at my rear view mirror to see my dancing cutie, and to my shock there was a naked child in the backseat. Yes, naked… and still dancing. “Sonny, why are you naked?” I exclaimed. His answer was simple. “Well, mom, the guy said it was hot in here, so take off all my clothes. So I did. He is right, I feel better.”

This is the life of an Aspergian Tween. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome, although highly intelligent, generally have poor social and nonverbal communication skills. They are aware they are not good at receiving cues and showing emotion with facial expressions and gestures to the point that they tend to focus themselves on vocabulary and understanding tone of voice. This results in taking everything said and read very, very literally, and not always understanding jokes or figures of speech.

The best way to describe a the difference between comprehending things “Asperger” versus “normally” is that a child with Asperger’s will take every word you speak very literally down to the definition. Hence my priceless story of my naked child cooling off in the car. All he heard was “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes”. He thought, “Hey, that’s not a bad idea”.

Do you have an Aspie like my Sonny? My advice to you is this… don’t beat around the bush with words. Introduce your child to a dictionary or a thesaurus to play fun word games. Asperger’s kids love to read and learn, and they will try to utilize their new vocabulary as often as they can. They may describe things to you in more specific details, and in return they require this same level of details in order to fully understand what is expected of them in the moment. They aren’t always good at problem solving either, so it is very important to teach your Aspie about understanding sarcasm and how to respond when  they are in a situation they do not understand. I had always referred to younger children as “Polly Parrots” because they often repeat everything they see and hear from their parents, older siblings and such. But raising a child with Asperger’s Syndrome raised my awareness to how careful I must be when choosing my words, and especially when speaking aloud.

Comments on The Literal Aspergian Child