Heavy on my mind

I am reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult. It is a story about a young adult/child with AS accused of murder. The character really incorporates all the stereotypes of an Aspie which in my limited experience is quite unusual. However the possibilities are realistic and I might add just a bit terrifying. The boy cannot tolerate being touched and so as you can imagine the process of being processed is melt down inducing.

AK is certainly not as effected as this character but the story has me thinking. Things I have never considered are now in my mind. It never occurred to me that the hallmarks of AS (no eye contact, flat voice, literal thinking, obsessive interests, lack of social understanding…) might also be considered indicators of guilt in a criminal investigation.

Putting my child in the books scenario makes me feel helpless. I like to think that there would be more understanding if the powers that be knew the defendant was autistic but experience tells me that is not always true. That is one of the hardest parts of AS, AK looks like any other child, in fact he seems very mature for his age. At least that is the case until something triggers his sensory issues or he feels he is being treated unfairly. When this happens look out because my 20 yr old acting 11 yr old suddenly becomes a 3 yr old acting 11 yr old…(does that even make sense?). The contrast is mind-blowing and people cannot really process what has happened. It is quite easy to lump him in as an undisciplined bratty child.  Add to this the fact that the only way to help him out of this situation is a cool down period. The more you try to reason with him the more escalated the situation becomes. His own father has trouble understanding this concept how can I ever expect those who don’t know him to understand?

I am only partway through this novel but it really has my mind working overtime.

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1 Comment

  1. seventhvoice said,

    May 27, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I have a 15 year old son with Autism and I read House Rules 18 months ago now. I remember being blown away by all the characteristics of AS that JP got right in her book. I also remember being blown away at times by how well she portrayed the mother’s feelings too. It is such a scary thought that our sons might be misconstrued as being guilty when in essence they can be the most innocent of all. Great post. Thank you.


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