And not them.
By that I mean…maybe, just maybe…the problem with our Aspie (high-funtioning autistic) kids is not their behaviors BUT our expectations.
We have come to live in a world that is not very child friendly. Where children are expected to be min-adults from a very early age. Look at our modern lives…
We live in tiny apartments with no big back yards for them to play in safely. Rather than being able to just shout, ‘Mom, I am going outside for a bit,’ when they get to feeling restless, they have to compete with our computers, our television, our friends on the phone, our work and how knows what else for us to take them to a park.
At school they are expected to stay for longer and longer days…and more of them every year. When I was little, out school day was 8 to 2:30 with 45 minutes for lunch and at least half an hour for physical education plus music and art. That meant you spent less than five hours sitting quietly at a desk…pretending to learn while you really stared out the window and daydreamed. School started after Labor Day and ended before the beginning of June. Now…7:30 to 3:30 from mid-August to late June. And guess what? Fewer people graduate high school, fewer go to college and fewer get good jobs. And schools, teachers and law makers are constantly screaming we need longer school years?
Now I am not one of those…limit their computer/TV time types…BUT where is Barbie, dolls, smash’em up trucks and GI Joe? One misconception about those with Asperger’s is that they lack imagination. Maybe it is more the case that they do not get enough of an opportunity to use and expand what they do have. Like all muscles, they need to be exercised.
And food (I admit it…I fail on this one, but maybe I need to think about it some more and come up with an alternative)…instead of sitting down and eating dinner at the table, we eat in front of the TV. I read somewhere once that the single biggest indicator of success in school was not socio-economics or level of parental education. It was whether or not the family sat down and ate at least one meal per day as a family.
Of course, another factor over which we sometimes have less control than we think is…single parenthood. As a single mom myself, I do not mean this disrespectfully. I, above all people, know sometimes you have no ‘real’ choice. But that does not change the impacts this has upon the child. I often think…there is a very good reason that it takes two people to make a baby…because they really need two people to raise them. Well, honestly, a whole village…*nods* to Hillary Clinton on that one.
But that too is the saddest part…if our families are fractured…our societies have become toxic to our children. Children are no longer truly valued by them. Instead they are seen as necessary nuisances. That should be still, quiet and not make a fuss.
The truth is that children…ALL children…are meant to be…
- And so darn cute and lovable.
The difference between our Aspie kids and the ‘normal’ (yes, I know there is no such thing) ones maybe…that like one of my favorite 80s hair bands song…
Maybe they simply demand BETTER from us.