Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dealing with things ASD and Grey

One of the things I've noticed when spending time with many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder is that grey areas are very complicated.  It should be either black or white, not some combination.  This grey thing is not logical.  Many people on the Spectrum work very well in careers where mostly concrete logic is involved, partly for this reason.  It clicks.  But the world is full of greys - the root of much turmoil to my ASD guy.

This year, Remembrance Day is causing great problems for Owen.  He is at a stage of maturity now that he is able to take in more of the world around him.  It is troubling.  The "right" thing for him is peace, total peace with no fighting, ever.  He can't stand seeing any fighting in sports or life, let alone trying to comprehend people trying to kill each other to win for their cause.  It is absolute for him and he cannot wrap his head around the idea that soldiers may fight for a greater good, even though some may die in the process. 

At school, they do many activities for Remembrance day including an assembly.  Owen is supposed to sing in the choir.  As you might imagine, he is highly stressed about all this.  He is proud to be a member of the choir and wants to do everything with them.  He is also melting down every time they talk about war.  There is no reasoning through this right now.  Believe me, we've tried! 

So tomorrow I am going to school to help.  Hopefully he can pull it together and be respectful.  I know there is the option of pulling him from the assembly or school that day.  But I don't want to start that precedent.  It would mean many future battles over running away from anything that causes distress.  I don't think he can handle the choir thing tomorrow but it is a choice for him and his teacher to work out.  I'm thinking I will sit near him with quiet distractions in-hand.  We will be ready to leave if we must.  With any luck, he will persevere and have learned something positive from this experience. 

Owen tells me in "Owenland" there is never war or fighting.  People work together to help and there is a lot of pizza for everyone.  I like Owenland.  But I also understand and appreciated those who have lived through the dark grey times, working for brighter times.  Tomorrow I will be wearing my red poppy with pride and many thoughts of peace for all.


  1. In Owenland, all the mothers are also very, very good and keep their friends open-mouthed in admiration. I think I'm going to go too, so give me the high sign if you need help wrestling him peacefully to the ground.

  2. When I teach critical thinking, the hardest things for students to get their mind around are all those "grey" Owen is far from alone in this. My middle daughter who is now 10 went through a phase where she couldn't handle thoughts of war or death, and though to this day she prefers to avoid the subjects, she proudly laid a remembrance day wreath last weekend without breaking down.

    For the record, I think you are handling Owen's sensitivity beautifully.

  3. i often think that a life in black and white would be so much simpler. finding the right compartments for the grey things is a struggle, many of choose not to do. i'd like to live in owenland too. does the pizza come glutten free? ;)