Friday, 22 November 2019

A Hand In Mine


It's my nephew Leo's birthday today
He's a late teen.
He is Chris's nephew and not my blood relative and our relationship is text based with a heavy biase towards adventure movies, superheroes, DVDs and tv.
I love the intermittent " conversations" we have

I'm incredibly fond of the boy who is now almost a man .

My nephew has Aspergers, and so the texts are concrete, " unemotional" and often factual in nature and as a person with no experience of the needs of someone with autism, I have made an effort over the years to learn about the challenges of the condition.
It's clear to me that most people have no clue of the nuances autism possesses. 

Three years ago now we took Leo to London on a shopping expedition after a booked trip to see the Star Wars exhibition at the O2. 
The trip went mighty fine. 
But I remember one moment when we crossed the road near Trafalgar Square  the noise of a nearby  group of protesters suddenly rose to a crescendo. 
I remember thinking that sudden loud noises may be a potential problem for Leo and I wondered , a bit helplessly, just what I could do to make things easier.
I need not have worried
Quietly Leo slipped his hand into mine as we crossed the road and held it firmly until we moved into a quieter part of central London.

I remember being terribly moved by this tiny but very human moment of the visit.
Writing about it today made me cry 

71 comments:

  1. What a lovely memory to have, John. It shows how safe he felt with you, and how fond he is of you to have those text conversations still. It's lovely that you continue to be close, despite the divorce and him not being your blood relative. You're a good man, John Grey. And happy birthday to Leo.

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  2. You were his safety, his comfort. X

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  3. I have a friend who's son has quite bad Aspergers. I don't see him very often, but when we meet we have very interesting conversations!

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    1. I don't quite agree with the word " bad" Aspergers cro...

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    2. I think Cro simply means severe rather than 'bad'. There are many different variants and many different levels of social interaction.

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    3. Oh I know what. Cro means and no offence was taken. I just wanted to make the point that words like bad and affliction and suffers etc should not be used with the words autism

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    4. Thank you for that comment, John. I wondered for more than five decades what was wrong with me, and the Asperger's diagnosis made me see that "different" is not necessarily "wrong."

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    5. I love the way that Leo said he was special

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    6. Sorry, it was probably a silly word. Of course I meant 'serious'. In his case serious enough to affect his life totally.

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  4. Awww
    People in what’s called the spectrum are super sensitive but sometimes finely attuned to things other people overlook.

    XoXo

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  5. Happy Birthday to Leo, may he always find a hand when he needs it.

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  6. A friend of mine has a son who has mild (is that acceptable?) Tourette's Syndrome, and when she went to the doctor for the diagnosis she reacted by shouting out "Fuck!". There are many moments of humour with these conditions.

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    Replies
    1. You have a few replies to catch up on on your last post. Some people may just give up on you.

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    2. I work full time tom, I'm trying my best

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    3. I just Don't know how you fit all in John!x

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    4. He has a large capacity.

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    5. We don't expect a reply every time John, there are other things in life other than sitting at a keyboard. We would never give up on you!

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  7. A special moment. Quite often you don’t need to KNOW what to do. You’ll either intuit it or you’ll be led.

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    1. Yes, you have to be open to both I guess

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  8. It's nice that you have kept in touch with Leo... in spite of his "Star Wars" obsession.

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  9. Do you think you will still remain in touch with your nephew? Although I am quite familiar with autism and aspergers, I learn more every year. This year I have four students in my class who are "on the spectrum". Noise is often an issue for a couple of them. -Jenn

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    1. We have kept in touch since I split with his uncle 18 months ago

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  10. A very special moment and a lovely memory. You reminded me of a lovely lad I had working as a special placement when I managed a Scope shop in Barrow in Furness. He dressed as a Goth, had what he himself called 'high achieving Aspergers'. He was very well spoken and very intelligent, although we only found this out in short and infrequent bursts of conversation after many months. His thing was he never looked up when out in public, always with his headphones on even if he wasn't listening to anything. His main occupation, through his own choice was steaming clothes ready for sale, while me and the assistant manager worked nearby at the sorting/pricing table. There was always chats going on which he rarely joined in with, but one day when the assistant manager was downstairs in the shop and it was just me and him working away. He stopped what he was doing, looked over at me until I felt his eyes on me, when I looked up he just said 'thank you, I feel safe and happy in this room, you accept me and that is enough' … then he went back to steaming as though he had never spoken. I was so choked up, I would have hugged him but he hated touch.

    On a funny note one of the other placements asked him why he always looked down at the pavements while he was in the street and he answered ' I don't know … but I find a lot of money'.

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    1. Sue, this is so very moving. And I am glad you understood his need not to be hugged :)

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  11. It's good that you have kept in touch. We all need to know how to interact with people on the spectrum, greater or lesser.

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  12. Your presence reassured him and that's lovely.

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  13. Another beautiful image. Thank you for that.

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  14. I am pleasedthat you have kept in touch and that you are so in tune with his needs John. My Grandson has Aspergers and so I know a little about it - he has blossomed out as he has got older and now teaches in China.

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  15. Good job you didn’t have your sore finger then otherwise the noise might have gone up a decibel or two as he squeezed your hand for reassurance.

    Have you thought it might be something other than arthritis John?

    LX

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  16. We had an 'apprentice' on the autistic spectrum, a lovely, hard working lad, we had to be quite firm with him about taking breaks as he would become engrossed and work through his lunch break etc. I don't believe he learned a damn thing from us, but most of us learned from him. He later won employee of the year.

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  17. Barbara Anne3:16 pm

    What a beautiful moment and memory, John. I, too, wish Leo a happy birthday!

    As a nurse in the operating room, I held hands with each of my patients as they were sedated for the surgical procedure and one of those patients told his doctor that it helped immensely, that he didn't feel alone. Holding hands feels safe.

    Hugs!

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  18. The only ex-boyfriend with whom I have maintained contact is the lovely man who has aspergers. He has a beautiful soul. He is annoying as fuck.

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  19. I'm thinking that it may be one of the positive aspects of Asperger's that it would never occur to Leo that he should sever or diminish his relationship with you just because you had split with his uncle. My son is very high-functioning on the spectrum and sometimes he says or does such very common-sense things that are at odds with conventional behavior--opens my eyes.

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    1. I hope so Sally. I don't hear from any other members of the family

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  20. I personally can't handle noise and have to get away as soon as possible. And holding hands, that human touch, it's what we all need, touch and love.

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  21. I had autistic kids in my classes when I was a teacher and became very fond of them. It's such a good thing for both of you, John, that you have maintained your friendship. He is your nephew, blood or not.

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    1. He's the only reminent of a family I thought I was a part of

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  22. I do wonder if being a bit different really does bother someone who has been diagnosed with Aspergers or whether it's other peoples attitude towards them.I met a student sitting an A level exam who was lovely-nicer than some of the other badly behaved students.I've been told a few times over the years that I'm "too sensitive" but I no longer agree- I like it x

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    1. One day we will just acknowledge the differences and not bother at all about them

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    2. Yes John, thankfully things have moved on somewhat. It's going to take more time but that day will come.

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  23. I'm moved by this post.

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  24. I am trying to learn all I can about autism as one of our grandchildren may be on the spectrum (undiagnosed as yet). It's interesting to read your moving post, John, and I'm also learning from the comments.

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    1. There is much more to learn me thinks

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  25. I remember you telling us that story when it happened. It is good that you stay in touch with him and I'm sure he appreciates the connection. Happy Birthday Leo!

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  26. Anonymous8:19 pm

    I wonder truly how many of us actually are 'on the spectrum'?. OCD with cleaning, following certain rules to do with superstitions, food obsessions, etc.
    I have taken quite a few of those 'tests' to find out what type of personality you are.
    It always shows the result 'boarderline
    On the Spectrum'.
    I always put my funny little ways down to being an adopted only child to older parents, but maybe not
    My generation were never aware of this condition and l think quite a few of my contempories actually do have this type of personality
    Funny old life isn't it.
    Tess xx

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    1. Hopefully today we are being more inclusive
      Gender, spectrum, sexuality, whatever the " different"
      We are no longer different

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  27. As an Aspie myself...with four offspring the same..and twin autistic/aspergers grandsons...well done you,
    Keep on doing as you do

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    1. Just a bit of thought is needed byall of us x

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  28. My grandson has Aspergers, and as my daughter says it is not an excuse but it is an explanation. I hear all the hatred directed at Greta Thunberg and get so frustrated with their ignorance. I fear for her and the pressure she is being put under by those that love her and those who do not. Well done for working to understand your nephew Gillx

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  29. You recall to me the young man I car pooled to band practice and football games, to march in the band. I wrote of him and his Aspergers at the time. Listening to him defend his opinion of American presidents was a joy. I still see him around town, and he is not too busy to stop and see how I am.

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  30. What a heart warming story Leo knew you were rock solid and he put his trust in you simply by holding your hand. I'm glad to see that unlike the rest of his family he knows you as the reliable friend that you are, I think he could teach them a thing or two a divorce should not be the end of long friendships with family members and get togethers over a friendly cup of coffee.

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  31. My nephew also has Asperger's, and I am familiar with both this situation and your nephew's reaction as you described it. We've been through similar incidents.

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  32. Solid.....everyone needs a protector sometimes.

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  33. I'm sure you've heard that Greta Thunberg called her Asperger's a "superpower". A great role model!

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