This is Spencer. He is 3 (and a few months more than a half) years old. He loves to play with his dad, play with legos, watch Curious George, love on his brother and just be a little (okay, a lot) silly. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome (or High Functioning Autism).
Let me tell you a little bit about Aspergers Syndrome. Aspergers is part of the Autism spectrum, and due to recent changes to the Autism spectrum it is now just lumped in with High Functioning Autism. What makes Aspergers Syndrome (AS)/High Functioning Autism (HFA) different than classic Autism is mostly the language skills. People with AS/HFA have no lack of development in language, but they do have other typically autistic symptoms.
– They find it difficult to tell people what they need and how they feel
– They find it difficult to meet other people and make new friends
– They find it difficult to understand what other people think and how they feel.
– They can have good language skills. But some people with Aspergers syndrome think that people always mean what they say. For example, someone with AS might not be able to tell when someone is joking
– They may only talk about their favorite subject.
– They may be very interested in some things. For example, they may be very interested in trains or the weather.
– They may want to take part in games or activities with other people. But they may not know how to do this.
– They may like to play the same game or do the same thing every day.
We’ve found that Spencer has trouble with all these areas to one degree or another.
He has great language skills (which is not typical of classic Autism) and likes to chat about his most current obsession, which happens to be robots or Curious George. He will answer questions, if prompted to do so. He may not if you just asked him. Often we’ll have to tell him to please answer our questions.
Spencer always means well, but he doesn’t understand how to communicate his emotions and sometimes they come out more aggressively than he really intends. We’ve been working on this, but sometimes it doesn’t always work.
Spencer really does want to play with other kids, but he doesn’t know what to do when he asks them to play with him and they answer. He just doesn’t quite grasp how to play with other kids (and it’s not from lack of socializing and trying). So more often than not, Spencer will find a toy he loves and just play by himself.
He thrives well under a very consistent routine. We’ve haven’t been great at this, but there are things we have to do the same way everyday. It causes him a great deal of stress to have his routines changed. We worry about him when it comes time to start school, but we are doing everything we can to help him make a smoother transition.
Spencer is also bothered by loud, sudden noises, even when his brother starts crying. He can be easily over stimulated in a large room like a gym that sound echoes off the walls. When this happens, we’ve found it best to try to take him out of the room let him go some place a little quieter to relax a bit and then try to bring him back to the group. Doesn’t always work, but we have to try.
Spencer is SUCH a sweetheart, and a great kid to be around. We love him every much, and want to record his (and our) journey through his alien planet.