We all have our little quirks, and idiosyncrasies. One of the things outstanding about my 40 yr old son, and to a lesser degree in my girls, is repetition. I believe it’s the focus factor and the inability to understand social cues. What my son is focused on at the moment is what he talks about regardless of the conversation going on around him.
I remember when we were sitting in the attorney’s office and our attorney was trying to get him to go for the plea bargaining and plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit to eliminate the need for a jury trial. He would not budge from his “not guilty plea.” He kept saying, “But I didn’t do anything why should I say I’m guilty when I’m not?” He had a good point, except a jury would probably have found him guilty with the “no problem” reports from the psychologists who didn’t understand Aspergers back then, and the “false guilty” confession they extracted from him in their interrogation. He’d have served more years for his “not guilty” plea than his “guilty plea” In his mind, the issue was settled. He wasn’t guilty so there was no need for discussion.
He had other more important things on his mind in that attorney’s office, his old pickup and his boots. After the attorney would try to explain to him why it would be in his best interest to enter the guilty plea he’d answer with. Did you see my truck out there? It has duel pipes. It’s been giving me some trouble but I can get it fixed. It just needs…. and …” Then he’d go into great detail about the mechanical workings of the engine. I usually hadn’t a clue what he was talking about and I had the feeling the attorney who was very frustrated by this time, didn’t either.. My son was so unconnected to the very important legal issues that were affecting him. The attorney kept trying to bring his focus back to the legal matter at hand.
My son likes to “discuss” boots. He has a thing about his noisy old cowboy boots. They’re probably a pair I picked up at a rummage sale for him for two or three dollars. And he’s probably gotten a year or twos worth of walking out of them. They’re old and worn out, but he’s pleased with the fact that he got new soles put on them for only $15 and he’s so proud of the good deal he got. He knows all about boots, how to shine them up, what to shine them with, how to get cheap leather and make your own soles when you can’t find a place to get them resoled and how you can put the homemade leather soles on with contact cement. And even nail a tack or two in the soles to keep the new leather on. He can tell you how the steel toes are much better than the regular kind, how BIG his boots are (he wears a 9, 10, 12 or what ever) etc. And he will repeat these facts over to anyone who’s willing to listen. If there’s another conversation going on he might interrupt with, “What did ya think when ya saw I had new soles on my boots?” He’s got this big grin on his face like he’s really pleased with them and hoping you will be too.
He also loves to talk engines. He’ll come in the house and tell me all about the part he needs for his truck, because it is doing something I don’t understand which will cause it to do something else that I don’t understand either and where he can get the part and what will happen if he don’t get the part, and how this store is much cheaper than that store and he’ll go on and on about what his engine will do and the intricate parts. He knows the name for every engine part and calls them all by the proper name. How the wiring works and what is to be wired to what. I haven’t a clue what he’s talking about. I’ve learned to say uh huh, and let him just keep on talking. A few times I’ve said, I haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about.” So he backs up and tells me the same thing over and then he’ll say, “Ya see what I’m sayin’?” And I say no, so he tells me over again till I finally say, “ok, ok already!” Maybe it’s my Aspergers kicking in that makes me so unable to comprehend the workings of his engine, I guess I have a lack of focus on engines.
He repeats himself with many different subjects. That’s Aspergers. He tries to give me directions to somewhere and when he’s done he’ll say, “Did ya hear me?” and I say, “uh huh”, and he repeats it over and over, sometimes in a little different way. He gets focused on those directions and after while I can hear him in another room talking to him self, going over the directions again and again.
Another little quirk… When he was a little guy and he’d get angry at someone, he would bite his arm and shake his fist. He was giving the message that he was mad, he wanted to hit but didn’t want to hurt anyone so he’d bite himself instead. For all his quick temper he was very sensitive of others feelings and never wanted to hurt anyone.
We didn’t understand about sensory issues back then but my Aspie son was a hugger. Some Asperger children are very aloof while others are very demonstrative of their affections. Now I realize it might have been a sensory thing but he loved to hug everybody. If he would see someone he hadn’t seen for awhile he might take off at a run and leap into the surprised person’s arms and grab them in a bear hug. He’s knocked a few persons over with his exuberance and joy at seeing them! People who knew him would learn to brace themselves when they saw him coming. Impossible but lovable, that was my son!!!!
CHILDREN NEED MORE MODELS AND FEWER CRITICS!