So, my grad party was yesterday. All week I had been dreading it, basically because my parents kept telling me that I had
to stay and socialize, and I couldn’t hide out in my room for more than ten minutes at a time. To my surprise though, the party went really well and I had a really good time. My friends showed up sooner and stayed longer than I expected, and my older cousin brought his one-year-old son, Liam, so I had a fair amount of entertainment throughout the party.
A couple hours into the party, my aunt showed up with my two younger cousins, Lily and Nick. As soon as he saw me, little five-year-old Nick ran up to me and lifted up his shirt, saying “I got a new belt!” He then ran up to just about every other person he recognized, and even some he just met, proudly telling them all about his belt. Lily, on the other hand, clung to her mom for the first half hour of the party. Usually when I see her, she’s very bubbly and eager to talk to or play with me, but I don’t think she was expecting to see so many people she didn’t know. She eventually perked up and started running around with her brother, but the whole time she was acting shy I couldn't stop thinking “She’s just like me when I was her age”.
Lily’s almost eight now, but I’ve seen signs of Aspergers in her since she was very young. I remember hearing my grandma talk about how her preschool teacher said that she has trouble paying attention during lessons, and my first thought was “I was the same way”. Also, she has a very strong love for Tinkerbelle and just about anything fairy related, kind of like how I am with Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. I am in no way an expert, and I’m not sure if her parents have had her tested or anything, but I am fairly certain that my cousin has Aspergers Syndrome.
Since Autism in general tends to run in families, I guess it wouldn’t be a surprise if Lily did turn out to have Aspergers. In fact, I’m pretty sure mine came from that side of the family. My dad, her dad’s brother, shows some signs of it himself. Though he’s very social, he’s not always sensitive to other people’s feelings or boundaries. For example, I’m very picky about personal space. I don’t like being touched that often, at least without being asked first. I remind him of this several times a day, and yet he still comes up behind me and forces me into awkward hugs. He means well, but I really wish he’d understand my space issues. He was also the first to notice my
attention problems, and admitted to having similar problems when he was a kid.
Another person in my family I think is a candidate for having Aspergers is my grandmother, my dad’s mom. One of the biggest reasons I think she has it is how she acts when she has to do something she wouldn’t normally do. She hasn’t driven on the freeway literally since the 70’s, when she got a flat tire while driving alone on I-96. When she has no choice but to take the freeway, someone else has to drive her. She’s had a cellphone for years and could easily call someone if she ever gets another flat, but she still refuses to do it. She just has a very fixed way of doing things, and gets nervous whenever she has to stray from them. She also used to tell me about how when she was in school, she had a very hard time with her work and paying attention in class, and often got bad grades. I’d imagine that’s what school would’ve been like for me had I not been given special accommodations and other kinds of extra help they didn’t offer back when she was in school.
These aren’t the only reasons why I think these specific members of my family have Aspergers, but I don’t want to make this journal entry to be too terribly long. Like I said earlier, I’m not at all an expert, and I’m also the only one in the family who’s been officially diagnosed, so I could be completely wrong about any of them having Aspergers. Still, I suppose it’s a possibility.
Do you have any similar stories? Are there people in your family, or that you know real well, that you think have Aspergers, but haven’t been diagnosed? Let me know in the comments. I’m genuinely curious.