It’s no secret that I read a ton of silly books. If I spend most of my week reading twitter and academic-y articles, then I need mindless stuff in the evenings and weekends.
Over this past weekend, I read the Kiss Quotient. The main character in this romance novel has autism. She’s an econometrician with no social skills, so she hires an escort to teach her about relationships. They fall in love and yadda yadda reversed Pretty Woman and all that. The actual story is typical romance fare, but the author, who also has Aspergers, does such a fantastic job describing the autistic brain that I’m looking at my own son differently.
There is a growing consensus that autism isn’t really one thing. It is primarily a social and communicative disorder, but it impacts everyone differently. Some people have bigger language problems. Others have bigger issues with anxiety. Some have cognitive problems along with the language issues.
Also, it is really a collection of various mild disabilities or issues that many of us have, but in a person with autism, it adds up to bigger problems. Families that have a lot of these little issues are more likely to create autistic children.
Some of my family members have issues with loud noises or can’t talk while a radio is going on in the background. Others get very shy in social situations. I actually have very few of those issues. I eat everything. I don’t mind loud concerts. I like parties. I think my autistic-y issue is obsession and pattern recognition. I sort through twitter conversations and newspaper articles and conversations at the supermarket and put them all into little boxes and files in my brain.
Noticing patterns and trends has served me really well professionally. I’m leaning into that skill very heavily at the moment. But at the same time, the project that I’m developing is pushing out my ability to think about everything else. It’s a temporary thing, because I’m not actually autistic and obsessions are always short lived. But it’s fun to throw myself into things this Monday morning.
Pattern recognition is Ian’s primary autistic strength. He constantly decodes information and images. That’s why he learned to read so early and is gifted at computers and music. We spent hours yesterday at a marching band competition shivering the stands of a local college, watching him pound on his snare drum while wearing ear plugs. Balancing his autistic strengths and his weaknesses (he yelled at some kids on the bus for singing Christmas carols out of tune) is a continuing challenge.
What quirks do you have? Are they a bug or a feature?