Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Media article on Asperger's, and how close does it come to my own history?


Here’s a piece on Vox by Noel Murray that seems somewhat relevant to my own history, “10 things I want to teach my autistic son before he goes to college,” link here.   The son in the piece is 13, so the early adulthood of college is still some years away; and the article says that he has Asperger’s, which is on the functional side of the autism spectrum developmental disorder.
  
Some of the advice about body awareness, personal hygiene, and environmental cleanliness (challenged by clumsiness) seems to ring true.  My own “symptoms” seem to have been milder than reported here.
  
It’s still a mystery how my own developmental backwardness and physical weakness emerged.   At first glance, it could seem rooted in my having the measles in 1950, just before my seventh birthday, but that doesn’t square completely with the record. My parents report some foot problems in early childhood.  I seem to remember being told I was slow feeding myself once, one of the earliest memories.  The first grade comment report card notes some mild issues with dependency on others.  But second grade went well, and I wasn’t acutely aware of my physical problems until my third grade teacher confronted me, way back in 1951.  
  
I remember wanting to start piano about the beginning of 1952, and don’t remember why!  But it does seem that once I got into piano, my brain, in order to focus on schoolwork and music, pruned out other physical development (for sports) too quickly.  So this whole matter has always had the edge of a “moral” problem.
  
It is hard to be good at everything, but playing piano requires mechanical skill, and artists often are good at some practical-work things, like cooking, or repair things (like bicycles). 

Is it so bad to talk to oneself?  It just says that one's own world is sometimes more important than anything else.
       
All of this took on a moral edge, as I grew up in a time when boys were presumed to have a moral obligation to protect other family members – girls and future mothers, and younger children – long before they could understand sex and the responsibility that comes with it.  

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