Aaron often exhibits the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome listed on the O.A.S.I.S. website in an article entitled Understanding the Student with Asperger’s Syndrome: Guidelines for Teachers. I’ve referenced this article through the years that I home schooled Aaron after his Asperger’s diagnosis. I look back at it now as his mother. The seven main characteristics that are listed, and then the further traits under each main characteristic, are helpful reminders at times about what makes Aaron tick. Maybe, though, I should change the title to: Understanding Our Son With Asperger’s Syndrome: Lifelines for Parents.
Under the heading titled “Restricted Range of Interests” one of the traits listed is the tendency to have “eccentric preoccupations, or odd, intense fixations.” Check.
Aaron loves movies that are, in my opinion, odd. He gets quite a kick out of anything that’s genetically altered in order to make it huge and hungry. Rats, bats, spiders, zombies, aliens – he’s not picky. If they are out to destroy mankind, then Aaron is happy. He even loves the movies with huge tornadoes (see my Mother of the Year blog) or other end-of-the-world weather events. I’ve endured watching erupting volcanoes, roaring fires, enormous hailstones, city-engulfing earthquakes – you name it, I’ve endured it. Quality and acting ability are lost on Aaron as long as the action is fairly non-stop and the human population is dropping like flies.
So it’s no wonder that once Aaron became aware of the classic movie, Sharktopus, he has become preoccupied and fixated – completely. As he said, “Mom!! Sharktopus is about a fish creature that’s part shark and part octopus. It was created by some evil navy men!!” This sharktopus eats any unfortunate people who are anywhere in or near the water, of course. And from what I can tell, that’s the entire plot of this amazing movie. Which is more than enough for Aaron.
He wants me to find this movie, and will leave no stone unturned until I do just that. To convince me that this movie is worth all this effort, he has been desperate for me to watch the trailer. Yesterday on the way to his group he talked and talked about it. I reminded him that when he got home from Paradigm, I might have a friend at the house for a visit and so he would have to wait. I was NOT going to watch the Sharktopus trailer when my friend was there, pleasant as that might be.
Terri and I were visiting over coffee in the late afternoon when I heard our garage door open. I told Terri to get ready because Aaron was home. Terri recently retired from teaching and has worked for years with special needs, plus she’s met Aaron, so I knew she had a good understanding. Still……..
Aaron burst in the door and said, “Mom!! Guess what we did today?” He then proceeded to tell me about going to Wal-Mart, buying a Cheddar Pasta Salad, two more boxes of rolls (read my Rolls blog from the past and know why I sighed), and then………………”I looked for Sharktopus and they don’t have it! Can we go to CD Tradepost? Can you take me later?” I told Aaron no to the CD Tradepost idea and then reminded him that I had a friend there, saying, “Aaron, do you remember Terri?” He offered the obligatory, mumbled “Hi” and went right back to Sharktopus. “Mom! Can you watch the Sharktopus trailer?”
I gave Aaron that look that told him he needed to be quiet as I reminded him that my friend and I were visiting, and IF I looked at a trailer it would be later. Aaron reluctantly agreed and went on his way, thumping upstairs to his room. However, in only a few minutes there he came, clomping down the stairs and into the family room where Terri and I sat. He had on his flannel pajama pants with his pajama shirt tucked in and his pants pulled up at least 6 inches above his waist. Terri handled the shock of that very well, I thought.
As he turned to me and started talking about the Sharktopus trailer again, I firmly told him that there would be no more discussion as long as I was visiting with my friend. Aaron marched off to put his dirty clothes away, and as he returned to the family room he looked at Terri, then at me, and asked, “So when is she leaving?”
Yes, there it is – under “Impairment in Social Interaction.” Persons with AS “are insensitive and lack tact.” And I would add that Mom’s of persons with AS “are often red-faced and frustrated!”
And thankful for understanding friends, for sure!