Thursday, December 4, 2008

Update From the Wolf Den

Well. Yukon, Bear, and myself are still here in Alaska. A few developments with respect to Wolf and his overall learning scope has led us to postpone our trip South for a month or so. Everyone is adjusting to this new change in plans, most of all, Wolf, who now has no choice but to assume responsibility for these changes and adapt himself acccordingly. We hope.

The first reaction of many close to us has been related to the impending Christmas season and how Wolf and his peers will handle a major holiday away from their families. The short answer, of course, is that they just will. The longer answer involves deeper understanding of AS and its lack of empathy and abstractness.

Daniel Tammet, author of "Born on a Blue Day" and himself living with Asperger Syndrome, says that his focus on religion and holidays are primarily based on intellectual interests rather than the social or emotional. God, Jesus, and other religious figures are not something concrete that he can see or hear, and thus difficult to internalize as part of a larger being involving himself.

Wolf, too, fails to recognize and separate the deeper Christmas "meaning" from the "stuff". Christmas to Wolf is a day of stuff; stuff sent, stuff collected, and stuff accumulated. That it is a day to remember and recognize a human's birth as part of the larger being of God is difficult and confusing to him.

I read Tammet's description of his spiritual journey over and over. Aha. I can connect the dots for Wolf around the facts and biblical stories, and try to assign logic to love.

But rest assured, Wolf will have a good Christmas. A few boxes are on their way loaded with things he enjoys. The whole bunch of them will no doubt sit around Christmas morning, comparing and swapping and counting, and this will make it a good day for him. And that's all that matters. A good day.

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