Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tell Me More About How My Kid With Autism 'Does Not Employ Theory of Mind'

Today on Babble I have a book review of Jennifer Cook O'Toole's book, The Asperkid's Secret Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens & Teens with Aseprger Syndrome.

Most of the book review is really an interview with my incredibly awesome, almost 12-year-old daughter, The Pork Lo Maniac. The PLM already had a diagnosis of ADHD-Primarily Inattentive Type when we kind of all realized, at the same time, that she was probably also on the autism spectrum.

The PLM and I had a conversation in which we talked about how some scientists think that ADHD is the beginning of the autism spectrum, and she said, "Mom, I think I'm a couple of notches over from there."

And so began a magical time of discovery for our daughter and for us as her parents. Of course, our "magical time of discovery" involved approximately 13 months of evaluations, meetings, e-mails, phone calls, ten-page letters, heated discussions with school administrators, and one threat of legal action, but whatever. It was magical, people.

In this book review/interview, the Pork Lo Maniac talks about being in middle school, how this book is helpful, and what a real friend is. If you'll permit me to brag for a few moments, she demonstrates not only more self-awareness than most "neurotypical" adults, but also more confidence and compassion.

Also? Theory of mind: she haz it. For example:

“It’s kind of hard for me to know, deep down, how good people are,” she said. “I know I can’t always tell when people are being honest, or sarcastic. And middle school is this whole time where you don’t know what your thing is. You don’t know exactly where you fit in.”
“And sometimes, I wonder if maybe some of the kids who seem mean, maybe they’re really nice but just don’t know how to fit in,” she mused. “And then also, sometimes they’re just jerks.”

You can read the entirety of my interview with the Pork Lo Maniac, and why she thinks tweens and teens with Asperger Syndrome need a book like The Asperkid's Secret Guide to Social Rules, on Babble. Enter to win your very own copy of the book by leaving a comment (not a Facebook comment!) on the Babble post.

Also, please don't forget to check out my post on the difference between autism awareness and autism acceptance, and the 10 things I wish everyone's kids knew about autism.

On the other hand, if you just need a break from being so aware of autism that you're ready to puke blue glitter, you should check out my favorite post for Babble Pets that I've ever done: I Can't Stop Looking at This Dancing Cat .gif That Looks Just Like Christopher Walken.


  1. I wish we could have an autism NON-awareness month...because like you, I'm up to my ears in autism every moment of every day. I'd love to spend a month NOT being aware of autism. Puking glitter is a new one though....not sure I'm up for that! :)

    Great article on "Things to Teach Your Kids!"

  2. I did not know about this book but I think it would be great for my pre-teen!!

  3. Starting to wonder if I'm on the spectrum. I've never been able to read typical women. I get along FINE with men, tomboys, lesbians, aspies, transgendered, and all permutations therein... But typical women I never know their intent and never have and the rare times I do, I assune they're gathering gossip. :/

  4. We're just at the beginning of the journey, with 3 kids with adhd, one with dyslexia, and one suspected with aspergers. The tips are great for everyone, adults included.

  5. I sure wish I could have had that book in middle school, or at any time between the ages of 9 and 17! I grew up thinking I was just a lazy, messy, awkward kid who didn't try hard enough to make friends... because that's what all the adults in my world told me. I am so glad that this generation of adults is working hard to make things easier for kids with autism spectrum disorders and ADHD!

  6. Ah, she is wise. So, so wise. As a mom who is only beginning on this journey of highs, lows and everything in between, I'm finding these special insights of theirs to be better than gold.

    Thanks for sharing her. And for making me spring a small occular leak.

  7. Just curious, anyone chime son has been having social problems and is in 2nd grade. No teacher has ever said they feel he has "anything" but I often wonder what, if anything, could be going on. He is very social but he struggles with getting along with others. Sometimes I feel like the other kids are being mean and he can't handle that and often he takes things very literally. He might not always understands jokes and be able to read people's body language. In kindergarten he had issues with keeping his hands to himself (not being mean but just touching others). He has good eye contact. I just want to help him if there is something going on that I am not aware of. He focuses alot on his feelings and himself and struggles to think of others as well.

  8. Also, he gets frustrated quite easily and cries when overwhelmed. He talked a little late (between 2 and 3 years old) and had some potty training issues. He has always been an "oral" child from the time he was born. He still puts things in his mouth sometimes. He is 8 years old now and he seems to have come a long way with no special help. His grades are good. Should I be concerned if the social issues continue? I do not want to medicate but I want the best help for him if he needs extra help.

  9. I've never heard of this book but from your description I think my son would benefit from it. He's almost 13 and although not an aspie he is on the spectrum and struggles with thosr same things with friends... or should I say "friends". :-/

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