Friday, June 17, 2011

She's Going to Be Fine!

On Wednesday I met up with a mother I had interviewed (for the Asperger's book I'm writing) several months ago and her 18-year-old daughter. They flew in from Tennessee. We had a late lunch at the Tick Tock Diner near Penn Station. The girl is not ready to drive, and not ready to go to college yet. But I know she's going to be fine. She's very intelligent, very high-functioning, and I think just a "late-bloomer." When will she be ready to begin taking adult responsibilities? I don't know. If I had to make a guess, five years. She's not going to need "supported living." All she needs is more time to reach adulthood.

Anyway, I had a good time with mother and daughter, and we hung out in the restaurant for over two hours. We laughed a lot-- the daughter has the same deranged sense of humor I do-- talked about issues with Asperger's, and more. I listened to the daughter's interest in Nintendo and Pokémon, and they listened to my theory about why I think the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian had Asperger's syndrome. And we laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more. And that's important. Not all conversations have to be serious, and not all (or even any) have to be about "social" topics. What matters is the participants have a good time. 

The daughter is going to be fine. Just give her time.


  1. Why do you think Jack K. had Asbergers? I'm a mother of a 10 yr old boy with asbergers, we're also from the Detroit area, so I'm courious.

  2. AsPerger's.

    And I think Dr. Jack Kevorkian might have had Asperger's because of things people have said about him in books, interviews, and so forth as well as some of the mannerisms (intense expression on his face) that he'd often exhibit in interviews.

    What his friends and relatives have said that make me think Kevorkian had Asperger's:

    1. A couple people, including his sister, mentioned that he pursued projects with a single-minded focus. His sister said that "project dates/girlfriend/marriage" seemed to be at the end of this list.

    2. His friend/lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, said that the first thing he noticed about Dr. Kevorkian was how intense he was.

    3. Fieger also said that Kevorkian was brilliant but lacked a lot of common sense.

    4. The mother of one of Kevorkian's patients said that she noticed that he was a genius but had a childlike naivety about him. In fact, I read in an article that when he went to see "Braveheart" with a couple people (he was in his 60s at the time), there was a "tender" scene in which a man gives a woman a scarf or something and Kevorkian blurted out, "What is that? A medieval condom?" and looked around for approval. I admit that I do that kind of thing, but not as frequently as I used to.

    5. Kevorkian had few friends in high school once the social scene became about relationships and less about what he considered fun-- projects, reading, games, and so forth. As a little boy, his creativity and ability to build things made the other kids idolize him instead of making them think he was a "nerd."

    6. In college, Kevorkian's mother had to nag him about his appearance. It wasn't uncommon for him to wear the same sweater several days in a row.

    7. A few people said that Kevorkian was great one-on-one but awkward in large group situations.

    8. Kevorkian memorized a lot of facts and quotes from an early age.

    9. Someone described Kevorkian (a friend, I think) as being "out of touch with the real world."

    10. Kevorkian rarely dated and never married. He claimed to have never fallen in love either.

    11. Kevorkian was not affected by peer pressure and didn't care what people thought of him. He never made his interest in death a secret even prior to the euthanasia campaign.

  3. Thanks for that beautiful blog about our meeting. It was a special time for both of us. I hope it was enjoyable for you too.

  4. Your characterization of this girl doesn't make sense. Someone is either very high-functioning or not. And supposedly "needing extra time" isn't part of guaranteed success. I for one didn't simply need time to be ready for things. I attempted responsibilities and experienced loathsome failures due to my developmental disability.

  5. What doesn't make sense? Some people just need extra time to transition to adulthood.

  6. I don't get why someone would actually need extra time when they're without impairment.

  7. When the daughter is ready for college, I suggest that she get the book Succeeding in College with Asperger's Syndrome. It's very helpful and has concrete advice. It helped me a lot.
    Also, I am seventeen and I'm not ready to drive yet either. It's okay; I take the bus. It might be helpful when the daughter starts college if she lives with her parent for the first few years. That's what I'm doing.