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Asperger’s and reading

Written by Kirsten on November 4th, 2010

There were a few factors that weighed in when I was deciding whether or not to return to Maine. One that has remained is my need to be a part of my youngest brother’s life. He’s 12, will be 13 in December, and he has Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s only one of several challenges he faces,  and it’s one about which I know very little right now. I intend to read Temple Grandin, as I’ve heard that she is an incredible resource and powerful advocate for Aspies, but I’m hoping to find some local community, as well, or at least some online forum for support and advice. My brother is 100% tuned in to video games, has no interest in anything that doesn’t show up on a TV screen or monitor, has significant trouble communicating verbally, and refuses to eat vegetables. (Or potatoes – the kid is Irish. WTF?) I’m hoping to work on “unplugging” him via graphic novels based on the same stories as video games he loves, but haven’t yet had much luck (though I give major props to the guys at Coast City Comics – they were extremely supportive and helpful and showed me that generous and caring people do still exist in this world – if you live in Portland and ever want something they can get for you, please purchase it there – it’s a great shop with amazing staff.)

Do you know of a great resource for parents, guardians, supporters of kids with Asperger’s? Can you recommend a book, web resource, or individual who might be able to educate me and assist with my ability to give my brother what he needs? I don’t want the fact that I am a very verbal/word-based communicator to keep me from being able to connect with him, but I also honestly don’t know where to start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


15 Comments so far ↓

  1. Tim says:

    Maybe you need to spend time talking to Justin. Maybe the answer is to get some videogames with social stuff built into them? I bet he knows/knows who knows.

    Glad to hear Coast City helped you out.

    • Kirsten says:

      I wish I’d gotten the guy’s name at Coast City; he wasn’t there when I stopped in tonight, but I want to thank him for his help. I pass the shop regularly, and will try to catch him another time.
      Thank you for suggesting Justin, and social interaction via video games – I do have a Wii, which Joshua (my brother) loves, and a “Wii speak” – I should look into games that utilize that feature.
      I know it’s not likely that I’m going to turn Josh into a bibliophile, and I don’t want to force books or anything else on him – but I do want to introduce him to things he may not be exposed to currently, and show him that there are other forms of *entertainment* out there. A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post or article that said that if you want your kids to be readers, you need to let them see *you* reading. So many responses were along the lines of, “Wow, never thought of that – I always read after I put them to bed.” Which makes sense to me – for many parents, reading is a luxury, not a right, unfortunately. Last time Josh was with me, I let him know I was listening to a book while I made dinner, and if he needed me, he should come into the kitchen so I’d see him. When he came in to ask me for a drink, it gave me a chance to say, “You got it; let me just get to the end of this chapter, I’ve got 25 seconds left,” and it opened conversation about audiobooks. It wasn’t an epiphany, but I hope it was a start.

  2. Nguyen says:

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