It’s not Aspie children who are OCD, it’s American psycho-culture that imposes robotic instructions, schedules and rigid “time clock” behavior on every minute of every person’s life! Let no experience be without a manual of approved thought and behavior!
Authentic experience is not allowed, but prescribed!
The source of the Titanic struggle over the behavior of ASD / Asperger children is obvious and unnecessary: hyper-social parents, teachers (and as adults) bosses are “indignant” (or often enraged) that a child or adult won’t conform to arbitrary demands. It’s “my way or the highway” with most adults, who are “in charge” of training children to obey the parents’ schedules and rituals and “social absolutes” – ditto with teachers, “bosses” or managers, even if those social rituals lead to conflict, lower productivity, and passive aggressive sabotage by family members, spouses, and employees.
How many bosses micromanage the office, wasting the time and potential of the people they hire?
In my experience, all a neurotypical parent or boss needs to do, if suffering the terrible fate of having to deal with an Asperger, is this: set a “goal point” for whatever you require – especially if (in your mind) the one and only solution is a LINEAR sequence of tasks. Instead of demanding that a child follow, step by step, your unimaginative idea that life is a list that must be obeyed, try this: tell your Aspie child the time at which the school bus will appear at the bus stop, necessitating that he/she be ready to leave the house at 7:15 a.m. Leave it at that! Remind them, if you must, that this means being dressed, eating breakfast, and gathering “stuff” needed at school.
Your Aspie child (not infant or toddler) will likely surprise you by arranging these tasks in a way that makes sense to them! Starting with a “completion point” removes the obstacle of linear problem-solving (which is your hang up) and allows the child to express their natural visual-spatial brain processing. Reward them for getting to the 7:15 a.m. “exit point” and don’t get petty over how they accomplish this.
They may surprise you by “revising” the morning activities to be more and more efficient; arranging clothing items ahead of time (maybe for the entire week) or meticulously assigning school necessities to specific pockets in a backpack, or deciding to eat their favorite brand of cereal every morning. Don’t “freak out” when changes to “your procedure” actually demonstrate how smart (efficient) your AS child is.
Take a look at your own life: how compulsive and controlling are you? You are unlikely to be the “rebellious free spirit” that so many Americans imagine themselves to be.
Get over the self-centered fear that your “social standing” will be demolished because your child has chosen “a non-matching” outfit, or has turned out to be a girl who likes flannel shirts and camo pants, but hates dresses, or a boy that loves to wear plaid shirts with plaid pants. If they are “Aspergers” they are going to be different no matter what you do to attempt to disguise them as “socially normal” conformists.
My academic weekly schedule: by Mr. X (an actual post comment)
My schedule is online, and sync’d with my iPod Touch and with my HP TouchPad. This enables me to know what I am doing anywhere at any point in time. For years, my wife and I shared our online calendars, because that made it easier for her and for me to plan our time together. And I booked time for her that would overlap with my “open” time. That was, for me, the only way to maintain a healthy relationship. I follow the same philosophy when I book time for my friends and for my family, as well as for my own health. Nobody can schedule time for THEIR activities when it’s MY time. If you notice, I have left ample time for administrative stuff and for meetings during normal hours.
I sincerely hope that this couple never produces children…