Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Autism Devotion Project


I just wanted to spend a few minutes discussing the Autism Devotion project and highlighting some of the fantastic posts we've had so far;

The aims of the project
To highlight concrete examples of situations where people with Autism, including Aspergers syndrome, have demonstrated emotion or empathy with particular focus on situations in which those emotions may not have been recognised.

It is hoped that parents, siblings, family, friends and co-workers of people on the autism spectrum will be able to use some of these examples to better understand the emotional communication that is taking place in their everyday lives.

The Posts so far

Please have a look at these amazing posts, leave comments, like, Google+, tweet and share around. We want to reach as many people as possible.  Also; if I've missed anyone, please let me know.

On "This is not what I signed up for"
On "Unstrange Mind"
On "Autism Art Project"
On "Reinventing Mommy" 
On "Fasten Her Seatbelt"
On "Life-with-Aspergers"

If you would like to be a part of this initiative, it's easy, just write a blog post which is along the general lines of the project topic described above and post it on your blog.   You're welcome to use the graphic at the top of this page.  Tweets should include the hashtag #AutismDevotion  

If you're a blogger who writes about Autism and/or Asperger's syndrome, you might want to consider joining the Autism Bloggers group on facebook.  Contact me for more information.

Autism Devotion to ... Brothers



My wife and I went out to dinner last weekend, to celebrate her birthday.

My eldest finished his dinner quickly and didn't want any more to eat.  My youngest however was still keen to eat and had a couple of portions of mine.

The eldest wandered over to the restaurant's fish tank, stayed for a second or two and then came running back to tell us, particularly his brother, about the fish.  At our urging, he went off again (he was very loud) and spent a few more seconds with the fish before coming back to explain their toileting habits to his brother.

The pattern repeated over and over again and I could see that his brother was a little miffed by the constant banter and tugging.  He just wanted to finish his meal in peace.

I watched the behaviour for quite a while and even though my wife and I said, on several occasions, "don't annoy your brother, can't you see he's eating", the "harassment" continued.

I think we were all very grateful when his brother finished his meal and went to join him with the fish.

The Point
My eldest clearly wanted to spend time with his brother but at no point in the proceedings did he think to say "I'd like you to spend some time with me" or even "come and play".  The banter was all about the fish. It involved a lot of gesturing, babbling and a fair amount of pushing and tugging on both the younger brother and his chair.

We are a family used to this somewhat non-verbal behaviour and our youngest, like us understood the signals for what they were.

In any other situation, the behaviour would probably be viewed as harassment and not what it truly was; brotherly love.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Autism Devotion to ... Mothers


Hi and welcome to a new year.  This post marks the start of what will hopefully be an ongoing series showcasing the ways in which people with Autism express love and devotion.  

Although they often write the words on cards, my children don't often directly tell my wife that they love her - at least, not without a lot of prompting or not without having some tempting candy either on offer or recently delivered.  They do love her though.  It's just sometimes a little hard to read the signs.

"Come downstairs", she will often call, to silence.  Dragging them away from a video game is almost impossible - especially if it involves work of any kind.  It's one of the reasons that I always include the reason as part of my calls;  "Come downstairs, dinner is ready!" for example.  Of course, I have very little chance of getting the boys downstairs for anything that isn't to their advantage.

I was sitting upstairs yesterday when my wife accidentally trod barefoot on a block of wood that the dog had  brought in. She shrieked because obviously it hurt.  Within seconds, the boys who were in different rooms had let go of their game controllers and were running downstairs asking "are you alright?"

It may not seem like much but believe me, it's a very big deal. It's especially a big deal because both boys made the decision independently.

An instant reaction to a cry for help is just one of the ways that these boys on the autism spectrum express their love for their mother.