"God is in the details." I heard this quote yesterday and I began to think how apropos to our children. Everything is about details. Exacting, minimalist, painstaking details. There can be no mistakes, no errors and no vying off the regular path. Their need to absolutely understand their world around them leads to an exactness akin to a compulsion. It gives them a sense of calm in a world that they do not understand.
So how do you help them deal with the bumps in the road? When my boys were very little we used to schedule everything. We had white boards at home with the days schedule that they would check off when the activity was done. I know at school they did the same thing. It helped them order their world and deal with the day. Not knowing what to expect is overwhelming and distressing to the point that they would do nothing. So the schedules really helped.
The next step was to work in "bumps" into the schedule. This is easier said then done. There are always changes in life. Basically things happen that you need to learn to adjust yourself to. The interesting thing is that as an adult I find it rather discombobulating to change what I even have to do. I get set in my ways and have to remind myself that if it is not life or death somethings can wait.
So we would write social stories. How to handle a change in schedule. In school they actually know ahead of time if there is gong to be a change and they tell us, and the boys the day before. In fact, the school even knows when there will be firedrills, so they prep them, and make them promise not to tell anyone. Well, you know aspies if they make a promise they keep their word. Noone else in the student body ever knew. The best thing was that the disability director at my older son’s college even told us about an upcoming emergency drill so he wouldn’t be frightened or confused. (It gives me pause to know that some people deserve a heck of alot better karma than they receive. When you look out into the world, I wonder just wonder, what are God’s details.)
I have to say that we are still working on the details of life for both of my boys. My oldest does get thrown when he is handed a "curveball" as he puts it. It is an on going challenge, but one we are working on continually. They get grumpy when things don’t work out just so, but hey, they need to learn to "go with the flow," and I am sure that one day they will. They have come very far, and I know they will go farther. I also know that their exacting, detailed way of thinking will lead them to choose the "road less traveled" in their lives. I believe exciting things are ahead for them. Whether God is in the details or not, the boys are marching on.
I have to say though the exactness can get in the way of life. For my youngest everything has to be done on a quarter hour, So he can keep better time, he says. We were watching a tv program a few nights ago and the main character happened to use the wrong tense of the verb "to be." Well an entire discussion ensued with him, about what a stupid show it was to the point that we just turned it off. Please! And don’t get my youngest aspie started on the US Constitution and "a more perfect union." Sometimes my head does hurt.
Now we are just hoping that the youngest’s exacting does carry over into his school work. It would be nice, interestingly it hasn’t happened yet. So far he is behaving like a typical teenage boy. The only things he really cares about are video games and girls. (The "details" surrounding the "girl" thing is a discussion for a different day. Trust me).
Until next time,