Autistic Kids: The Square Peg

I saw this pic on my IG feed this morning:

Its not the first time I have seen this exact pic or read the meme enclosed in it, but it got me to thinking, “How do we prepare our kids for the world that is very much like that hammer in the pic?”

I know a young lad, who has, what I like to refer to as “a touch of Aspergers.” He is delightfully quirky. Intelligent as all can be, funny as f***, and wise well beyond his years. Scarily so.

I often refer to him as a 70 year old trapped in a teen body. Why is that? Cause he has one way of doing things; his way. Heaven help those who don’t play by those rules.

So how does he prepare to head out into that unforgiving world of hammers and round holes? Thats the million dollar question. If you ask the “experts”, they suggest that the world will somehow accommodate him. Wrong. We all know how the world favors the majority.

Its a challenge to slowly get him to accept other opinions, methods, options, strategies. Hes pretty good at once he is “guided” (read, pushed) into trying something new, of assimilating it into his practice. You need to be smart though. Not fool him, as such, but finesse the situation that he wants to try it.

Rest assured, he still has his way of doing things. Sometimes elegant, sometimes awkward, but always his. I envy his ability to be like Sinatra and do it “his way.”

I hope that he will keep exploring with guidance, new ways to tackle problems. But hey, like Huey Lewis sang, “Its Hip To Be Square.”



Praising Older Kids

We have two different sub-generations of children in this house. We have a daughter thats 16, son thats 14 and two sons that are 8 . This brings new adventures as well as new challenges. Like most parenting, not every challenge is anticipated before it happens!

We are very fortunate that our daughter is very mature for her 16 years. She helps out above and beyond, she is opinionated as f***, and very wise. As such, sometimes its hard to remember she is one of the children too and our job of nurturing is not over.

As they get more independant, parents are no longer checking kitbags, writing in journals, asking about marks, at least as much as they used to. Its part of allowing the child more independence, however, it reduces the feedback that every child and every adult needs. (Hmm, Maslow, maybe?)

A few weeks ago, I scolded her about the condition of her bedroom. Lets just say its a “busy” decor. As I was lecturing, per the instructions in the parenting handbook, she put up her hand. As I stopped speaking, she said, “Dad, I don’t do drugs, no booze, and you never have to wonder where I am out running around, so how about we don’t worry about my room?” (I said she was outspoken!)

I had no reply to that. She was correct. I cannot expect perfection, and she is pretty close to the mark. My reply? “You are correct. Thank you for being a great kid. Carry on.”

Today as I was drinking my morning coffee at the counter, I looked across the kitchen and spied this, attached to the fridge:

Funny, we seldom have tests on the fridge. What’s more important that the tests themselves us the mark on each one, 87% and 93%. Grade 11 Physics and Math. I considered myself fairly well off with these subjects in school, but never got marks like that.

I thought to myself, “Did I tell her ‘Good Work’ on those?” Not being able to remember, I assume the answer is no. Bad dad.

So, I write this entry, both to publically (my limited exposure) congratulate her, and to remind other parents, your kids are never too old to praise, never too old to hug, never too old to reward and make feel special. Celebrate the wins, don’t fret the challenges, forget MOST of the losses.

Good work, B! Dad is proud of you.