The ABCs of Asperger's Syndrome: An A-to-Z Guide to Understanding the Symptoms of Asperger's

Order, Patience, Questions

O Is for Order

Order is important and everything must be in the same place all the time. It's unclear if this is because it helps kids with Asperger's maintain a sense of control or because it makes things easier to find. If things aren't where they belong, a meltdown is sure to happen.

Nick: I like my shirts and pants hung by similar colors so I can find the ones I want to wear. My desk is neat so I can find things quickly. I sort my toys into bins by color and size. I don't even like different foods touching each other on my plate. It seems wrong to me to have things crowding each other. I like everything in its own space.

P Is for Patience

Kids on the autism spectrum have no patience when they want something, but they seem to have more patience with babies, animals, people with special needs, and older adults than other kids do. They are more communicative with these groups than they are with their peers. They don't see them as different and they give help freely. They are open-hearted, well-intentioned, and kind with those they trust.

Nick: My grandpa needs help getting things so I do it for him. He messes up the remote a lot and asks me to help him find Netflix. I don't mind because I'm good at that. When Grandma gives me a cookie, I always ask for one for Grandpa too. We talk a lot about buildings; he was a contractor and knows a lot of interesting stuff about design and construction.

Q Is for Questions

Many kids don't have a social filter and ask questions at the most inappropriate times but kids with Asperger's don't respond to a hint or even a direct comment to stop. They just keep going until they resolve the issue for themselves. When I took my 6-year-old grandson to the store, he asked the clerk if she had a baby in her stomach. She answered, "No." I glared and shook my head no. He pressed on, "Then why is your stomach so fat?" I told him that he wasn't being polite. As we were leaving, he said, again, in a very loud voice, "But her stomach is kind of fat!"

Nick: I ask a lot of questions because I want to know things. My brain is curious about a lot of stuff. I don't understand what it means to be polite or rude. If you have a question, shouldn't you ask it? How will you learn stuff? My mom came up with the word "zip" when she thinks I should stop talking. It doesn't always work.

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