The boy with Asperger

When emotions run low
I dated a rock once. Girl couldn’t express emotion to save a baby from drowning.

The word passion meant zilch to her. Thing about dating is that when you have a passionless partner, you will work your behind off trying to connect with them on an emotional level and they will feel pressured and run off and then you will chase them and that relationship will be dead faster than you can sing have a baby by me baby.

So I decided I would never again touch someone who couldn’t show emotions with a 10-foot pole, gloves and detergent on standby to wash my hands thereafter. But what happens when the one who can’t show emotion isn’t a girl/boyfriend you can just walk away from, but your child?

The other night I drove a mother home and sometimes when you drive people home under the cover of darkness, they tend to speak from their hearts. When you talk to people during the day, they will talk to you from their heads. They will tell you about their jobs, their favourite football teams, and girls will mention an ex that won’t stop calling. When you talk to people at night, they will talk from their hearts. They will tell you about the emotional aspects of their lives and when girls tell you about that annoying ex who won’t stop calling, they will delve deeper into why they don’t want to answer the phone.

Tell the truth

The lady has a 10-year-old son. “The other day we go to church, he sees this one-eyed woman, points at her and laughs loudly in the middle of the sermon saying, ‘mum, she looks like the ogre from my storybooks!’ I told him how wrong that was but he couldn’t get it,” she said.

When told what he did was wrong, the boy shrugged and said matter-of-factly, ‘But she is ugly. I didn’t lie. You told me lying is wrong so I don’t lie. Now you are telling me telling the truth is wrong too?’

The child wouldn’t recognise inappropriate behaviour if it entered his bedroom and introduced itself.

He would engage in violent behaviour in school, throw tantrums and was obsessed with electricity, unscrewing lights switches and sockets and fraying the wires and generally acting very curiously around electricity. He had no other interests.

What got to the mother was that the boy had no emotional reaction to her at all. Her hugs went unrequited; any emotional attempt made towards him was rejected. This aloofness was extended to anybody who attempted to be his friend and he never participated in any social activity, instead opting to spend his time with electric appliances. 

Special boy

The teachers at his school convinced her to get her son to see a specialist who diagnosed her son with Asperger’s Syndrome.

She quit her job to provide him with the specialIsed care she felt he needed and as I drive her home on a chilly night she says, “I thank God for giving me the kind of man who stuck around for me and our son even during this difficult time.”

“What do you mean you thank God for that?” I ask because I believe that even though God should be thanked for something, it isn’t for providing her with a man who stuck around. Men shouldn’t be congratulated for doing what they are supposed to be doing in the first place.

“Many men would have bailed,” she says. “The doctor just told us that our child isn’t the most mentally fit child in the world.”

What she has had to comes to terms with is that she will never receive a Happy Mother’s Day card from him, she will never hear him say, “Happy birthday mum” or “Get well soon” when she’s unwell or “Thank you mama for all you’ve done for me over the years.”

“Do you know what surprises me most about myself though?” she asks and when I nod that I don’t know, she proceeds. “I want another child. I shared that with my husband and he went….” She interrupts herself with fits of laughter before proceeding.

“He went ballistic,” she taps her temple, “Uko na akili mzuri wewe?/ Are you nuts?” She continues laughing a minute longer then gets serious. “But I want another child. Not to replace the one with Asperger’s, but because everyone deserves a sibling to watch their back when the parents are no longer around.”

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