Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Curious Book & Asperger Syndrome

i'm sure many of you have read this best-selling book 'the curious incident of the dog in the night time', and i found it to be so good that i wonder why haven't i read it sooner! it's written as if from the point of view of a teen with asperger syndrome.

* * *

i've met a boy with asperger syndrome.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people.
~ click here for source.

i think there are many forms of autism, and asperger syndrom is one of it. and while other kids with autism has withdrawal symptoms (refused to talk or interact with other people altogether) kids with asperger syndrom can talk and talk and talk, BUT the kid's speech is more like a lecture rather than a conversation, because they are not interesting in having conversations.

* * *

these are some of the facts on kids with asperger syndrome, paraphrased the way in understand it, from this site:

  • good with things around them but poor in interpreting human relationships
  • intense focus on something they really like; a particular toy, machine or hobby
  • conversations with people are often one-sided as they're not interested in feedback
  • eye contact is not understood or made use of
  • the kid may seem to be cold and uncaring but it is not deliberate. he does not think about others and cannot understand the social graces that keep society functioning
  • parents must play a huge role in teaching them social skills when they act inappropriately
  • kids with asperger syndrome prefer routine and structure and can become irritable and distressed if the unexpected happens that changes that routine
  • things are interpreted very literally, meaning that sarcasm, playful teasing and figures of speech are not understood.
  • it's difficult for them to generalize - for eg: if they were told not to hit kids in school, they might think it's fine to hit kids at the mall because it's NOT school

* * *

the boy i met is 18, and enjoys the company of much younger kids than teens his own age. his mother said he hates loud noises, and still plays with toy guns when noone's watching.

the moment i met him, he did speak to me, friendly and warm but without eye-contact. most of the time, he prefered talking to khaleef. he spoke perfect english, and his mother said he only spoke malay with his grandmother.

his mother said eventhough he's relatively slow in learning, he has made a lot of progress in terms of social interaction. i agree. if she didn't tell me he has asperger syndrome, i would think he's like any other teenager - in fact, while other teens might keep to themselves, act cool while with adults and malas nak layan budak-budak, he was friendly, curious and great with kids.

now, imagine reading a book written by a boy with asperger syndrome - and you find yourself in a world where 'seeing four yellow cars in a row means it's a black day' sounds logical. if you think that's weird, than think about how you wake up with a 'bad-hair-day' -

sees four yellow cars - black day
hair all over the place - bad day

same logic!

this is one of the most straightforward yet quirky, fantastic books i've read in awhile.

15 year-old christopher boone has asperger syndrome and sees the world in his own special way, weird to some, but totally logic when you think about it. he hates yellow and brown, but loves red - and will completely stop eating if the food on his plate touches each other - like mash potato terkena tomato ketchup or something like that.

he hates being touched, so the only way his mom and dad 'hug' him is just to put up their hand and spread it like a fan, and touch him like that.

he stated that everything he wrote in the book is the truth, because he doesn't lie. and it's not because he's a good person, or that he knows lying is wrong - it's simply because telling something that really happens is so much more easier than telling something that did not.

logic kan?

one day he found his neighbour's dog - dead, probably murdered! since he loves dogs, then-on began his 'adventure' in solving the mystery. to do this, he must go out of his comfort zone, he must interact with strangers and he must do all sorts that he feels are impossible for someone with asperger syndrome.

imagine reading about this 'adventure' from the point of view of an autistic teen. fascinating!

* * *

if you are curious about kids with asperger syndrome and how they see the world, stories with easy-to-digest language and simple words then pick up this book. funny, silly, sad and cheerful at the same time - you can't put it down!


temp. housewife said...

sounds like a great story!

spice said... it possible that the asperger boy you are referring is my boy?

ziah said...

wey! didnt kno u r expecting!!!! congrats la bebanyak... :-)
cant wait to meet the new member of the clan!

Syigim said...

>> kak nur, do try it! mmmg best sgt! simple language & yg plg interesting bcoz it's from the POV of a kid with asperger syndrom. :)

>> a ah ziah. ko nih sebok sgt jadi official reviewer for american idol smpai xseda yek! :P aku dah nk dekat due date dah pun...hihi....thanks for d wish :)

Syigim said...

>> uncle spice, i enjoyed our exchange of messages via facebook! hihi. ;)

the boy i mentioned is indeed your boy, and i am priviledged to have known him even for a short while! he's warm, cheerful and curious about what he sees around him - it's a pleasure having him befriending khaleef too! ;)

take care & send my regards to your family :)

emee said...

syigim....congrats on ur pregnancy..the book is very interesting..i think there is a follow up book but have yet to read it....wonderful story

generic cialis said...

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