Part 2: Mindblindness, Obstinancy, Aspies and Adolescence

Sorry I have been negligent in my blogging. Unfortunately, I have been laid up with disc/nerve pain in my lower back and I find it rather hard to sit for long periods of time. I finally went to the doctor and he is sending me for some physical therapy, which even after only two sessions, I do feel a little better…hence this post.
I have definitely found a new form of massage, they hook you up to an electrode stimulator while you lay on heating pads and the stimulator sends messages to your nerves to scramble their little endings so you don’t hurt anymore. I know they are expensive so I really can’t get one for home, but boy if I could I would. Not only does it take the pain away for a while, it really feels good. Anyway, when I am not having electro-shock therapy on my lower back, I am on a Bengay patch and Advil; boring but effective nonetheless. With special exercises and a modified cardio routine, I hopefully will be back to normal in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, we are nearing the end of a milestone for this family. In one week HSB will be graduating from high school that is if he needs to finish all his work and layoff the anti-Semite and his friend for just a few more days. As I have always told everyone you never really want to get on HSB’s shitlist, but he also needs to learn to ignore people when it is not to your benefit. I know that seems to fly directly in my in-your-face advocacy of anything that I believe in very strongly, but I also don’t go around yelling at people and causing scenes.
It seems that HSB is on the lookout for any miscreant action by these boys and if the teachers don’t come down hard on their evil-evil ways, he is going to make sure that they never forget that they are assholes. Of course, we keep trying to explain to HSB that in these situations, when he causes a scene, he is the asshole but he doesn’t seem to be getting it. I pointedly told him today that he has one week left of school and he is to ignore them. Did he want to get in such trouble that he ruins the end of his school career? Does he want to spend the last days of senior year in detention? Sometimes in order to protect yourself from stupid, you have to ignore stupid too.  I also reminded him of my favorite saying…in life wherever you go there is going to be at least one asshole. The trick is to make sure YOU are not the asshole.
I recently talked about mindblindness when it came to collegeman, but haven’t really addressed the issue with HSB in awhile. Honestly, I thought he was learning his lesson and quite frankly he had other issues with these boys that I would not chalk up to mindblindness as opposed to perseveration and that aspie obsessiveness. But then again now that I think about it, perhaps this is also a social issue that he just can’t get past.
Now unlike with collegeman when he couldn’t understand the rules in the doctor’s office and needed so much help in figuring out how and why he had gone wrong, HSB does have a set of rules in dealing with these boys.
The truth is he is just not paying the rules any heed. He has actually either conveniently forgotten the rules of the social interaction game or quite frankly has decided to just completely ignore them. In HSB’s case, I think it may be a combination of both. He may remember the rules as discussed when it comes to these boys but thinks they are not worthy of adherence where these two charlatans are concerned. We used to say that HSB lives in HSB-land and he will set everyone on the straight and narrow. Recently he has been on a tare about anti-Semitism (as you know) but also about misogyny, racism and the general injustices of the world. In fact, he has already signed up for a seminar in college, which discusses anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia, and Obama (why the President elicits such strong feelings from every side of the political stratosphere). Don’t ask…it is going to be an interesting year his freshman year in college. HSB also thinks he is the only one who figured out there are problems in the world and the only one mad about them…HSB’s need to teach and deal with the “evil” boys has even gotten a little out of hand in the film class.  One of the “evil” gang happens to be taking the same film class with HSB and HSB along with everyone else in the class was supposed to review and comment on other people’s films. Now HSB loves loves loves film. He understands film. He prizes film. He can sit and discuss how the filmmaker of any major motion picture screened at Cannes or Tribeca was put together and what was the director’s purpose behind every shot. He sees things that us peons who just go to the movies for some escape do not see. He sees the art in the film.

It was “evil” kids turn to have his film reviewed. Even though the para had warned HSB to be nice and to only say something if it was helpful and constructive HSB, of course, had other ideas. Immediately when the film was over my son raised his hand. The teacher, who is totally clueless about autism and at times I think 17-year-old boys in general, or who just quite frankly ignores the reality of the teen mind, called on my son to give the “evil” one some film making advice.  Well, the only advice HSB gave was to tell the class that he thought the film “sucked big time.” Upon which the teacher ejected HSB immediately from the classroom.

Therein followed a rather lengthy discussion with his para and the special ed teacher about how to give criticism and how to engage people. Now like collegeman who didn’t get the reason why it was rude to just barge into a doctor’s office and knock on the therapist’s door, HSB didn’t get why he was in trouble. “I was just being honest,” he said. “The film sucked and evil-boy has no talent,” he said. Now I am sure that if the film had any redeeming qualities HSB was also not capable of seeing it anytime soon. But the reality is that he also had no idea that what he had said was inappropriate.

There actually was another incident where HSB had to review other people’s work. In his physics class, everyone was supposed to design games and then the other students were required to critique the games. The para sat HSB down and explained to him how to give criticism and how to do it in such a way as to not be mean. She actually wrote that his ideas and his perceptions were really interesting. It seems that he did learn something after all, as he did not get ejected from this class after his criticisms, it seems that everyone was really impressed with his incite.  Not really surprised about HSB’s incite into gameplay, after all, it is what he does with every minute of his free time and is what he hopes to do with his life. (Honestly a combination film and computer science major is what I think is going to get HSB through school. I know that there are very few majors dealing with gameplay theory nowadays, but those colleges that have them created a major dedicated to film and computer science. So we shall see where HSB goes with these two interests. Luckily his college allows students to design their won major so that may actually be quite an option for him.)

Ultimately, I think in the realm of mindblindness we did have a good episode this week where HSB learned that it was inappropriate to be mean when giving criticism and that there is such a thing as constructive criticism. In trying to get him to understand, hubby had suggested that they role play with HSB and help him use the proper language, more so than just explaining it to him. I even tried to do that with my son, at which point HSB called me an “idiot.” That, of course, is not mindblindness that is being a nasty teenager for which he got in trouble.  “At least say it under your breath,” I told him. “I thought I had, “ he retorted. “Apparently not quietly enough, because I heard it,” I said.

It is interesting how they do say things like typical teens and think things about their parents like typical teens, they just lack at times the overall social understanding that when you say something under your breath, you should be in another room than your intended victim or should just think it in your head. For some reason, HSB and collegeman as well, have never really learned that part. I suppose that is the aspie in them coming out, totally devoid of any understanding of how to protect themselves from their own stupidity. I don’t know if they will ever learn to play the “game” properly and I am not sure I truly want to except if it harms them in some way. They are truly sweet boys, (even when they give me a hard time and call me names) well most of the time, and I do not want them turning into one of those underhanded creeps that we have all had to deal with at some time in our working lives.But I still think the most comical events are when HSB doesn’t remember how to backtrack and protect himself, such as when he calls me a name, and I can hear him and then I ask him what did he say. He will insist, even upon pain of computer loss that he didn’t say a thing. It’s as if, he thinks that if he lies about his mistake it will go away. That I am too dense to remember I heard it and that I will take his word for it. Afterall I am 50, which means I am nearing dementia, when you as a humanbeing begin to hear things…right. Of course my refusal to disacknowledge (is that a word) his actions does not go over well and therein begins some other issues/arguments, but that is for another day and moment when I have more patience.

So needless to say, both boys have had their mindblindness misadventures and successes in the past few weeks. Right now though we have to make sure that HSB finishes a four-page paper on The Tempest, an economics project and studies for the physics final. The only true final exam he was going to have to take was the Shakespeare, but his special ed teacher convinced the classroom teacher to exempt HSB (teachers in our school can exempt a senior from finals if they want. Sort of a last hurrah and a celebratory yippee from the staff.) But we are not going to tell him until the last day of school. It is hard enough to get him to be on during the day in English, now if he didn’t think he had to pay attention so he could pass the final the teacher is concerned that he would just check out completely for the last week.

Little do they know that he checked out a long time ago…. actually I think they do. They aren’t new to this teaching gig and HSB is not the first senior they have ever come across. So wish us luck…ten more days to go.

Meanwhile, since I think we could all use a real vacation (even though it will not be happening anytime soon) I will dream of a Caribbean island, calm winds, blue seas, and white sandy beaches…

Until next time,


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Elise Ronan
The purpose of this blog is to document the practical and realistic approach taken over the decades to help our two sons grow, and develop in order become all that they are entitled to become as human beings.
Elise Ronan

Elise Ronan

The purpose of this blog is to document the practical and realistic approach taken over the decades to help our two sons grow, and develop in order become all that they are entitled to become as human beings.

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