Autism 101: Individuals with autism, particularly Asperger’s Syndrome, tend to have “eccentric preoccupations or odd, intense fixations. They tend to lecture on areas of interest; ask repetitive questions about interests; have trouble letting go of ideas…..” (Karen Williams)
WOW! Not wow in the sense of……..well, wow………but WOW in the sense of today is War of the Worlds day. Therefore, I have labeled our day WOW day. In more ways than one.
I must watch War of the Worlds with Aaron if I am to have any peace in my life. His intense fixation with this movie must end, and the only way to head toward that goal is for me to honor my word and to watch this movie with him. Perhaps then, after seeing WOW, he will let go of all the WOW talk and all the WOW questions and all the WOW lectures. Of course, he will eventually move on to a new focus. It may be a new movie………it may be a news headline…….it may be a game………..it may be ANYTHING. Sigh.
It is funny, if I can just remember to keep my sense of humor intact during the endless WOW talk. This morning he joined me at the kitchen table, early. He didn’t sit down but he stood there peering at me. I greeted him with a good morning, and he smiled……….and then said, “Mom, in chapter six…………” War of the Worlds, first thing on a Saturday morning. It must end. I hope.
“In chapter six there were lights. Why were there lights?”
“What was that screeching noise?”
“Why did that screeching noise bother people?”
“Why was that guy taking pictures?”
Coffee helps. I got up to make a fresh pot. I had already poured a cup for Aaron, but seeing the fresh pot starting to perk made him want more.
“Mom, I’ll get it when it’s over.” Seeing my clueless expression, he continued.
“You understand?” And it hit me that he was talking about the coffee. When it was over……when the new coffee was brewed…….he would get another cup.
Yes, there is much to understand about Aaron. He was soon back at the table where I was sipping my own coffee. “Mom, if you want to watch War of the Worlds, come and get me. OK?”
“Come to my room and get me.”
All right, Aaron.
“Will you come to my room?”
Understanding Aaron is key to living with Aaron. It doesn’t always make it easy, but it does help to understand how his complex and amazing mind works. His connections are not like yours and not like mine. They are Aaron’s. For whatever reason, War of the Worlds is the focus of his life right now. Therefore, it has become the focus of mine as well.
I redirect his thinking when I can. I talk about other things……….I tell him that we will discuss this movie at another set time………..and other “tricks of the autism trade.”
But nothing will erase Aaron’s fixation on this movie at this point in his life.
And WOW!! So today is WOW day and one way or the other, I will watch WOW, and I will listen to Aaron’s yelling, and to all of his comments, and his questions, and to the LOUD clapping that is sure to come.
And I WILL sneak the remote away from his sight. There will be no pausing of this movie in order to inspect every remote element of every scene. Especially in chapter six.
I am a survivor. I will survive this day and this movie.