Wednesday, March 15, 2006

As·per·ger's syndrome

Main Entry: As·per·ger's syndrome
Pronunciation: 'äs-"p&r-g&rz-
Variant: also As·per·ger syndrome /-g&r/
Function: noun
: a developmental disorder characterized by impaired social and occupational skills, by normal language and cognitive development, and by restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities often with above average performance in a narrow field against a general background of deficient functioning called also Asperger's disorder
As·per·ger /'äs-"per-g&r/, Hans, 20th-century Austrian psychiatrist. Asperger first described the syndrome that bears his name in an article published in 1944.

My middle daughter lives with Asperger’s Syndrome. Anyone who knows me, or has met my family will probably already know this.

If you meet my daughter, you might figure out something’s not quite right in the first 5 minutes, or it may take many months. It all depends on the day really. Some will never get it – they’ll just put it down to a badly behaved child, whose parents don’t discipline their kids.

Some people who have known my daughter for a long time want to believe that it’s brain damage (mental disorders have such a bad name for themselves), others think we should ask for drugs to help make her normal.

It’s that last comment that always gets me thinking. I mean what the hell is normal any way?

I have a theory, and I’ll be honest and say that it’s not a very solid theory (I’ll let you be the judge of that), as it’s only based on my observations of my daughter, and to some extent her best friend (who also lives with AS).

The thing with my daughter is that she has an amazing capacity to love, to forgive and to feel empathy for others. She has tremendous difficulty lying – the only times we find her lying is when she’s trying to get her sisters out of trouble.

But as mentioned above in the definition of AS, she also has impaired social skills. For one she’s far to trusting, loves almost everyone she meets, immediately. She knows no social boundaries or personal space and when she gets stressed out she seeks solace in solitude and the occasional DVD.

What stresses her out? Crowds, noise and in-justice.

So what’s my theory?

My theory is that it’s not my daughter that struggles to fit into society; it’s society that struggles to fit my daughter. You see I’m beginning to believe that maybe God intended us to all live with the joys of AS, that it’s only as society has grow and become consumer focussed that AS has become a mental disorder. It’s only as society falls further away from God that we turn our back on people who have this unconditional love. This innocent wonder. This desire to see justice.

My theory continues, along the lines that God intended us to experience AS. My theory continues along this line because I know where the perfect place for my daughter to live is. It’s in the Garden of Eden.

You see she loves animals. Animals have a calming effect, whilst also getting her excited (I know I just contradicted my self, but it’s true). And living in that wonderful place with only the animals, the man of her dreams (no crowds) and God.

That’s right, my daughter loves God, she just finds it difficult to find a place of worship that accepts her for who she is (we recently have found a place) but in the Garden, she could have called out to God and he would have played with her, rolling around in the grass tickling her. He would have loved her sense of humour (she has a great one!) and most importantly understood that everything she did, was coming from a point of love.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this – it’s probably spurred by a recent incident that she witnessed where an authority figure encouraged her and others to bully someone – she was the only one to refuse. It caused her much emotional pain. I’ve been mulling it over in my mind today, and just can’t seem to get sleep, so I figured I’d start writing and see what came out.

That’s all. If you read this, leave a comment, tell me what you think and more importantly tell me what you feel.


servant said...

I think you're right on buddy.

When I first met your daughter I was a little taken aback.... in the positive sense. I felt unnerved because here was someone so positive and willing to be friendly even though she had never met me before. The cautious part of me didn't quite know how to handle it and that's sad.

It's sad that we don't quite know how to handle someone truly offering unconditional love... it's sad when the brokenness of the world influences us to the point where we think it strange and unusual that someone would be so forthcoming and positive in human interaction.

I think you're right on so many levels with this post and I'm glad you've found a place where you feel your daughter is accepted :o)

That's all I've got time for at the moment dude.... off to sleep soon.

Jem said...

I haven't told you this, but when I was first asked to babysit for you, I really didn't want to do it. I mean really. But as soon as I got there, I instantly knew that everything was going to be fine. Now days I look forward to looking after your kids(granted sometimes it is to get out of the house :P). But the biggest thing is that I know that when I get there I'll get a huuuuuge hug from your daughter. I love that. She's sooo much fun. And so cool. She's the only six year old I get on really well with. Yes, she has her problems. But doesn't everybody?

Jem said...

Typo, seven :D

PS I've heard alot about you Frankie. Mr cool dude :D When I last went there they couldn't wait to go to church to see you :D

onscreen said...

Hey Frank, Gem, appreciate your comments.

wotsitgonnabe said...

Reading what you had to say about our daughter brought tears to my eyes, I guess at times I feel very raw about our little Aimee. The world can be so very harsh on people like her. I am glad that, at least most of the time, it all goes over her head. I feel the pain for the world's (and sometime's the churches) rejection of her and people like her. Speaking of rejection we can go to the one who has felt it all before - Jesus, and I am so glad we know that both as individual's and as a family. :D