Friday, April 9, 2010

"Hello, Old Friend"

Normally, by my self-imposed, wholly artificial and arbitrary rules, I write only about shallow, selfish, self-centered superficial fun stuff on Fridays.

Well, this time out I'm going to write about something important, and throw in a plug while I'm at it.

One of things I like to do is check out the followers of other online journals that I follow. I will, on occasion, stumble upon something interesting that way. That's how I found out about Velvet Over Steel.  No, it's not some kind of kinky S&M journal, but rather something that is part of my life that maybe you don't know about.

I have a nephew, Zach, who is an Aspie, which is to say he displays those aneurotypcial symptoms that are categorized as Asperger's syndrome, and in turn falls within that spectrum of disorders known as autism. And since he is a very, very, very bright kid, he is what they call "high-functioning". And seeing that April is Autism Awareness Month, this entry is my plug for it all. 

Admittedly, not much of an effort on my part, but hey, better than nothing. There's a lot of information out there about this topic, but I think the best information of all is that, in some cases, and over time, the condition can improve.

Funny thing is, I suspect that myself and my brothers are all mildly within the spectrum. The baby brother, for example, has that unusual savant skill of being able to tell you which day of the week a date is on. We'd tease him about it. He'd say something like, "Yeah, that happened April 5th, 1971". And we'd respond "A Tuesday". And he rejoin "No, Wednesday-" and then he'd notice we are all grinning and that we are teasing him.

Myself, I used to wonder why others had such a hard time remembering everything they'd ever seen or heard or read. My memory is not phenomenal, hardly comprehensive or photographic, but I suspect it is way above average. (Although I've noticed with alarm that it is rapidly deteriorating with age).

So, it is entirely possible the family is in the spectrum.  Zach certainly is. I've had less contact with him that I would have like over the years - seeing as his parents live on the West Coast. But I've had enough contact to know that he is just a really great kid. Very smart, very quick and bright, and sometimes kind of skittish like a colt. He likes the computer games, and rock music, and girls, and honestly, to me, he's really just another teenager, but not quite as obnoxious. Here's a picture of me and him, taken last fall. 

A very good-looking kid, don't you think? He favors his mother, fortunately. I just hope he got that side of the family's hair as well.  And he's going to be tall, although I'm not sure how that is possible, given that he lives on scrambled eggs, PB&J sandwiches, and pizza.

The title of this essay is my greeting to him from almost the day of his birth. "Hello, old friend". I want him to know that I'm more than just his father's brother, but an old and dear and steadfast friend. Someone he can always count on.

I'd be willing to bet that someone you  love, or someone you know who loves someone, has autism.

Well, this is the someone I love.

Happy Friday!


  1. My one and only first cousin has a form of autism, also in the high functioning category. Unfortunately when he was born little was known about it and his parents preferred the 'head in the sand' approach. Denial. As long as he can live in his routines he does well but if anything changes, even a book out of place, it upsets him.

  2. I have an older friend (73) who I believe has Asperger's...I would not mention it to him as it would make no difference in his way of thinking or my feelings concerning him, but I know it's there...he was raised during a time when you just raised your kids, not worrying about things like why they happen to be different...He became an engineer and did very well in the business world...

  3. I took a very brief (150 question) kind of magazine test to see if I'm an Aspie. It says I'm 73 points out of 200 points Asperger's, and 137 points out of 200 points neurotypical. Which makes me not in the spectrum.

    interestingly, it also says I'm much more physical than intellectual, which, as I get odle rand realize just how dumb I am, I'm beginning to think is true.