After learning I had been living on the Spectrum at the age of 58, I finally had an explanation for why I like people but I don’t like being around them much. Why I’d like to make friends with someone who doesn’t like making new friends. Weird, I know.
When a social function is canceled, I respond with “That’s too bad!” and then I CELEBRATE!! So if not “having a life” is misery, then I’m all for misery.
I am a substitute for teacher’s aides and so I sometimes work with kids who are on the Spectrum too and those who have other challenges. I do see their loneliness. I was once asked by a young girl if she was bad for not wanting to be friends with a boy who had Autism. His quirky behavior was as she put it, “driving her bonkers”. He’d get in her face, follow her around, and spin in circles on the floor.
I answered with first stating I didn’t think she was a bad person. I advised her not to abandon him completely. She didn’t have to be his best buddy but if she could manage, she shouldn’t ignore him completely. I asked her if she knew what it is to be ignored and she admitted it did hurt like heck.
I gave her a few examples of those children, (how shall I put this nicely), put my patience to task.
I told her about a boy on the Spectrum who does not give his voice a break. I often wonder what keeps him from getting laryngitis. My best coping mechanism is a sense of humor about it. I don’t mean laughing at him; just keeping my sense of humor to ease his chatter on my nerves.
The girl with the question was amused at my stories and I told her that I laugh at my own quirky behavior all the time. It beats crying about it. I think I gave her some food for thought. I hope she decided not to abandon the boy. After all, Autism can be a lonely road for some.