Falling in love with a man or woman and making a family is all a part of the American dream. However, for the parents of children with autism, this question can be a point of sheer confusion, and for many mothers I have spoken to this is a regular occurrence in their daily prayer to their belief in a higher power. Find out how an Aspie couple blended into a perfect match.
For Bethany, whose name has been changed in this article for her privacy, life among the social scene of the world came easily for her. She participated in student government and cheerleading and was involved in other extracurricular activities such as dance classes and volunteering activities. In college, she attended a large university, was asked to join a sorority and was a cheerleader her freshman year. She aspired to become a politician and worked for various politicians in her state’s capital.
However, while Bethany may seem like she was the perfect picture of socially connected she never felt comfortable in that world. Bethany had a social attunement and was able to view the actions of others, sort them by the social responses they received and mimic the actions of others in a precise way, which to the onlooker seemed to come completely natural to her.
Bethany’s body felt pain when persons didn’t keep their self-imposed deadlines and became enraged, inside, as co-workers acted out in passive-aggressive ways.
This skill also came in handy in Bethany’s work environment. However, other aspects of Bethany’s “normal” response to situations caused Bethany to become uninterested in working in a typical environment. Bethany’s body felt pain when persons didn’t keep their self-imposed deadlines. Bethany also became enraged, inside, as co-workers acted out in passive-aggressive ways. Her inability to understand the negative actions of other people completely immobilized Bethany from doing anything for hours sometimes days.
Socially, Bethany could be completely happy while withdrawn from all people for prolonged periods of time. However, when around people, in a social Bethany inspired others with her precise wording and natural positive nature. Once, Bethany was an adult, it was easy to see that her core group of close friends were all hard working eccentrics whom had made mark on society, via hard work and dedication. They all had few close friends but were they were all meticulous in their attention to the emotional needs of those friends.
Bethany realized that when it came to dating, she was easily bored. The boredom stemmed from her attuned ability to figure out the most intricate detailed aspects of a person’s character and future behaviors, within a very short amount of time. More specifically, her ability to always know the persons next move, based upon their previous actions, their use of particular words and their subconscious truth that spilled out in their vocal tone. Bethany left her aspiration to date in her past. Until, a relationship snuck itself into her very closed world.
Alexander, whose name has been changed in this article for his privacy, grew up in a closed environment. He had never been social nor did her have any aspiration to do so.
People were the last thing he wanted to be around. He lived with his family. As a child, teen and adult he avoided the dinner table when guests would come. When his multiple siblings would invite guests to the house, he would hide in areas they would never go into. He wanted nothing to do with people.
Alexander could go for weeks without talking. However, what no one realized was that his refrained speech came from a lack of engagement in the form of a word-sensitive speech pattern. Thus meaning, he would have spoken when asked a question that he felt made sense to give a full answer to.
Living at home, there was regular conflict surrounding the situation.
For example, if someone asked, “what time did you wake up?” He would not answer. However, if they asked in way that provided a specific reasoning to the otherwise unimportant, simply “small-talk” question, then he would answer. This means wording the question to include a reason, for example, “I thought I heard someone up in the house, very early, everyone else was asleep, what time did you get up?”
Alexander also lived in a state of hypersensitivity to the commonly undetectable energy (radiation) he could feel when touching any object. To touch certain objects he could feel the rise and fall of his own energy level. Simple tasks, such as passing the water at the dinner table, when combined with other simple tasks, could leave his overall being in a state of depletion. His awareness of this was something that he took very seriously and therefore refrained from all actions that could be done by someone else. This left his family even more disturbed by the actions of their son.
Alexander continued his life. He refrained from ever getting a job, as he realized that it would be “too much of a strain for him.” However, he continued learning by reading dictionaries, maps and books on astronomy, math and various metaphysical topics, into his early thirties. Living at home, there was regular conflict surrounding the situation. Eventually, Alexander’s world shook and his father passed away. With that, his mother sold the home and he went to live with another family member.
At age 31, Alexander was in a new place with new people and his same avoidance of all social settings. However, in the new setting, in order to acquire food he was required to attend the weekly dinner parties that his family had to entertain friends. He attended. Mostly sitting in silence, or with the use of very few words, Alexander became a pat of the scenery.
Hello, why are you like that?
When Bethany met Alexander, at his family’s dinner party, she thought nothing of him. More specifically, she didn’t even realize he was of relation. Weeks went by and she noticed he was also around; still, it was irrelevant to her, as he never had anything to say to her.
However, one day, Bethany began to notice the details of what Alexander didn’t do. One night, while seated next to him, she noticed that he wouldn’t pass food and drinks. She saw that his family would stretch and lean to get things that he could have easily handed them. She was confused by that. She discreetly watched him for the next few hours.
After that dinner, she spoke to his family. She questioned how his actions made sense. His family explained it via the line “that’s just how he is.” While Bethany was baffled by their inability to understand someone they had known their whole life, she realized this was an opportunity to use her precise skills of reading people.
That night she spoke with him for hours. But mostly, she let him speak. In a calculated manner, she asked the right questions. And, the end of the conversion, he was surprised. She was not. However, she was interested in continuing to learn about Alexander, as everything he had told her had precise detail behind it. Out of the thousands of people whom she met in her life, he was the first to provide intricate reasoning for all his actions. He was also the first to seem to sit outside of the “typical” mold. However, she remembered he was still “just a guy” and used that her advantage, bestowing complements that would feed his un-blossomed ego and enable him to feel comfortable enough to continue to speak, share and grow in an extroverted manner.
Love? And, Late Diagnosis
Bethany became entranced with Alexander’s attention to detail and restrictive commitments that he placed upon himself to manage his behaviors and prevent particular responses from occurring. Bethany realized that Alexander understood how to be sensitive to the triggers that have the ability to immobilize her and she could trust that he would also remain attentive to refrain from injuring her in these ways. Alexander admired Bethany’s open-minded outlook and respected her vast knowledge of people and situations and her ability to comprehensively understand new things very quickly. He felt that her desire to be with him and provide for him was a priceless gift.
“what Bethany didn’t understand is that how neither he or his family realized that he definitely had Aspergers”
However, what Bethany didn’t understand is that how neither he or his family realized that he definitely had Aspergers. When she brought this up to his family, they were confused as to what autism was. When she brought this up to Alexander, he explained that he had seen people with autism on television and had always felt close to people with autism. He also explained that he understood the actions of people with autism.
Bethany convinced Alexander to meet an autism professional. As she expected, Alexander was an Aspie (a person with Aspergers). Alexander thought nothing much about it. He said, “Well, I am still the same, as I was.” Bethany simply agreed, as they are both very aware that there is no known cause or cure for autism.
Today, Bethany and Alexander live together in an open, understanding and productive relationship. Alexander has continued to grow with Bethany, as she understands exactly what he needs to grow. Bethany herself is unsure of how she always seems to know the correct “next move” but she thanks G-d for this inner ability. For others, their relationship can sometimes look very confusing. Alexander’s family continues to be ecstatic at the progression and eagerly hope for grandchildren.