My oldest son is a great kid. He’s got Asperger’s Syndrome to a degree (well, okay, Asperger’s is ALL degrees, but he’s definitely on the spectrum without being extreme.) and some of the effects are… interesting.
For one thing, he loves rules. Give him a rule that makes sense to him, and it will upset him to violate it. I’ve been trying to teach him independence, for example, and it’s really upsetting to him to be told he doesn’t have to agree with everything.
Plus, I teach with the Socratic method a lot, and that’s hard for him to handle.
One of the other things about him that annoys me to death is his need for auditory feedback. When he was very young, he’d process data very slowly … when he heard it. In fact, that was one of the things that led us (through twists and turns) to his Asperger’s diagnosis. (And yes, he’s had a formal diagnosis, we didn’t just say “Ooo! Eureka! It fits!”) He’s a lot better now – he went from six or seven seconds to process words down to one or so.
But he also picked up the need to have instant auditory feedback for him to do things. When he turns on the water faucet, he wants to hear the psssssssshhhhhh sound the water makes. When he turns it off, he’s happiest if he slams the spigot shut. Doors shut best when they click. Chairs slide best when they scrape the floor.
If I gave him a computer keyboard with no tactile feedback, I think he’d go insane. (He’s in the other room TYPING LIKE MAD AND EVERY KEYSTROKE CAN BE HEARD.)
It’s hard for me because I don’t like feedback like that. As a musician, that seems strange to me, but it’s true. I guess, in my case, I want only intentional sound; I don’t want to hear my own footsteps, and I don’t want to hear my keystrokes (unless I’m hitting the keyboard to make the point that I AM TYPING), I don’t want anyone to know I’m around.
It’s the result of growing up for a while in a house in which I was not wanted. I always felt like an intruder, and I suppose that’s what I was.
So my son, who’s the polar opposite of me, drives me absolutely bonkers with noise noise noise. And I can’t do anything about it; I’ve told him about his tendency to be loud in everything, but it’s something innate in him and I don’t think changing him is … wise, desirable, or kind. So I get to deal with it.
*sigh* I love my kids. I’m lucky to have them in my life.