When most people think back to their teenage years, they remember a time of tempestuous emotion, hormone changes, and other difficulties… I will say that I try not to minimize anyone’s personal experiences, but this is one time that I really have no choice…
The changes of puberty are already a nightmare… Hormones – the body is making a transition from our child form to a sexually mature creature. This comes with pain (both and physical and emotional), hormones, and changes in brain chemistry. Cognitive abilities – the modes of thought that got us through childhood are no longer useful (we no longer need to be an information sponge to survive, and are developing a cognitive model that will allow us to reason and survive as an adult of the species)… Social understanding – we move from info sponge to social creature… a necessary step for the social creature that humans are.
|So… This is what came up when I searched
google images for puberty. I ran with it.
Add these things to the difficulties of Asperger’s and Autism and you have a perfect storm… And here are just some of the reasons why.
Since we’ve been talking about hormones… Let’s… ummm… keep talking about them…Since most Autistic Spectrum individuals are isolated by the social issues that accompany the condition, we don’t have even the knowledge passed on by our peers… Yes, it is uninformative, and outright wrong in many cases, but we don’t even have that. This leaves us clueless about sex – which can lead to awkward moments, excruciating social situations and horrible sexual encounters later in life. Aspie boys can end up obsessed with porn and masturbation. Aspie girls can make advances and give sexual cues that she does not understand.
We are not able to truly be a teenager. This is a generalization, but teens are concerned with fashions, styles, and fads. There is a lot of peer pressure to commit, submit and participate in these ritualistic displays of conformity. We are not able to do this. With sensory issues, clothing must be comfortable… And with the tendency of fashion to be less than comfortable, we can’t do it… And even if we DO have the right clothing, it is unlikely that we will wear it in the proper manner and will always be about 15 degrees off cool… at least at this point in our life. Once we find hairstyles that work for us, we are unlikely to change it… even with the currents of fashion. Further, boys will often forget to shave; both boys and girls will often forget to comb their hair.
Hans Asperger described Aspies as “little professors.” As a result, even from a young age, we come across as little adults. We can be rule-oriented, knowledgeable far above our age range, and a bit stiff. The teenage world is full of pitfalls… Any mis-step can lead to the teenager being ostracized… We have odd mannerisms – loud, avoid eye contact, interrupt in conversation, has no concept of personal space, and steer the conversation in the direction of our interests, willful, selfish, aloof… As a result, we are isolated and alone… after years of this, we are too anxious to initiate social contact… so it continues.
|And THIS is what comes up when
you search for Little Professor… O.o
Often, we fall behind in our interests, clothes and hobbies. I am almost 40, and I collect toys. Another Aspie I know is into my little pony and classic cartoons. While we have other interests, getting out of them and moving into dating can be difficult.
We have problems with organization. While most of us can make it through elementary school easily… The lack of organization skills make high school ridiculously hard… It was difficult in one class… Now we have 6, six different teachers… And I can assure you (and this is from personal experience) at lease one of those teachers is going to be uncooperative or outright oppositional to the concept of special accommodations for students… This can lead to failures at school, and that attracts attention to the student which makes them uncomfortable and that just makes it worse.
Aspies, in a desperate attempt to fit in can fall into the wrong crowds, simply because these people will accept them. This can lead to issues with sex and drugs which can then lead to encounters with the police… these don’t go well. The Aspie tendency towards frankness and honesty can get them in trouble. Often, the police will interpret excessive honesty as being smart-ass.
I know… this is rambling and disjointed… and not at all inclusive or complete… but these were the issues that I had. I hope that these examples help you when preparing your Autistic Spectrum Individual.
|And my summary of Asperger’s|
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources: