Monday, April 19, 2010

Adapting to something new

Hello from Oakland International Airport! I am a bit battered and bruised from the race weekend and I am thankful it's only that after vaulting a kart yesterday. That story and more tomorrow, but I don't want to write that because I don't know how long that will take me and my flight leaves in two hours.

Today's article is about my lack of being able to adapt to other people. What does that mean?Going back to when I was a child, and even now probably, I would want to do whatever I liked over and over and over again without that activity going stale.

What does going stale mean? I remember playing many a game of Monopoly with anyone who would said yes to a game. When the game was over and the question came up, "What do we want to do next?" I would respond, "Well, Monopoly sounds good."

I've noticed other people gegt bored with an activity after a while and I don't understand this. If something is enjoyed then why should it get boring?

I can play whatever I am interested in at that point in time for hours on end. The first time I played Final Fantasy 3 I played it for 10 hous and 58 minutes straight! I didn't get bored or moody; when I get into an activity it becomes the only thing that matters. Why would I want to play outside when we could just play another game of Monopoly?

This adapting, or rather resistance to change is not just chained to games. It takes a long time for me to become bored with foods. I don't try new foods often (except when I travel. In fact, just two nights ago I tried broccoli here in the San Fran bay area) and can eat the same foods in the same order over and over again.

How bad am I on repetitve food? In the late 90's when I discovered Papa John's pizza I ate it so much that the regional manager came to our house with balloons and coupons. I guess that's the least he could do for me single handily putting his kids through college.

This lack of being able to adjust to new activites has always been just as hard on me as it has been for those that I have known. The same way you can't understand how I like to do the same thing over and over I don't understand how you wouldn't want to play 4 games of Monopoly in a row. Misunderstanding, in this case, is a two-way street.

I hope to expand this concept a little bit more in the future, but from the Chili's I'm in I am hearing that it is time to board so I will be in the office tomorrow to give you the details of my interesting weekend.


  1. How long does it take you to write these blog entries on average? I ask because you said you had 2 hours, but didn't want to write about the karting event but you didn't know how long it would take.

    Now I know myself, even just writing a simple 1 paragraph long email to somebody can take me an hour, so I'm not surprised it takes you a long time to write these articles, just curious as to just how long it takes.

  2. I thought it was normal to be able to eat the same foods over and over again and not get bored. My husband and daughter tell me it isn't. Well, I don't have a problem with the same things happening over and over again.

  3. Rob,

    It didn't take me two hours to write it, but it did take two hours to actually get a connection and write it. I wrote the article three different times. The connection was so bad it didn't even save my drafts. I should have wrote it here in Salt Lake!

  4. I am laughing at myself (I'm actually pretty embarrassed) and would like to offer you an apology, Aaron. I am several days behind in reading your blogs and just read this blog several moments ago.

    To update your readers, I work at TouchPoint Autism Svcs, the same place that Aaron works. My office is in the same building and not too far from Aarons. I also have two sons, ages 30 and 12, who have Asperger's. I had read 1/2 of Aarons book and already decided that he was my hero before he came to work for TouchPoint. Aaron introduced my to my son's and helped me to stand on the 'same side of the wall' with them. He helped me to understand what my boys had been trying to tell me forever. I have to confess that I still have not completed your book, Aaron. I have to take reading it in small doses because the emotions that learning and realizing some things for the first time are so overwhelming. (Yes I used your favorite word there.)

    If you follow Aaron's blog then you know that I often write in and comment. I can't help myself because each time I read I find something there that he has in common with my boys and I get excited to learn something new. However I have not had the courage to actually speak more than a word or two to Aaron until yesterday. I can almost hear Aarons confusion right now saying, "What! You were afraid to speak to me?" Yep, I have been terrified. Afraid that I would say the wrong thing or make him as uncomfortable as I was. So you see Aaron, sometimes we are ALL a little uncomfortable in conversation.

    So...getting to my point. Yes, I do actually have a point; Yesterday Aaron was sitting in the lunchroom eating Taco Bell and I walked in to wash my hands and thought "Great! Here is my chance to have a real conversation with my hero! Wow, what should I say?" So I decided to keep it casual and I asked him if he liked Taco Bell? (Yes, I decided later that that was a really dumb thing to say. Of course he likes Taco Bell or he wouldn't be sitting there eating it would he?) Well it gets worse, I then commented that because Taco Bell was right next door that he would soon get very tired of eating Taco Bell. LOL

    Aaron you were very kind and polite in explaining that you rarely got bored or tired of anything that you like and could continue eating Taco Bell forever. You never gave me a strange look or anything. You did good, buddy and I now know that you must have been thinking "Does she even read what I write?".

    So imagine my surprise and embarrassment when first thing this morning I open Aaron's blog and the first thing I read today is this blog!
    Yep, I feel very embarrassed today that I blew my first real conversation. Luckily I have learned through life that sometimes all we can do is laugh at ourselves.

  5. Adapting to something new for individuals with autism is hard. One simple rule my parents gave me for situations like this is- "As long as it is something that you are scared of or hate too much, I should at least give a good o' college try."

    For example, I personally don't drink too much in terms of alcohol. However, I sometimes will try new drinks if my friends think something is good and the flavor sounds like something that I may like. Another example, autism is my practice interest in OT, which is no surprise given that it is my "crusade". This is great... but I got to spend some time in trying to get to know some of the areas that my peers are interested in, too.

  6. My sister and I would come to blows over monopoly. I LOVED the game and didn't want it to end. Ever. Then someone gets greedy and they own EVERYTHING...and that was never Me of course. So now I actually hate Monopoly and have not played it for 40 years at least.