Thursday, June 4, 2009
Truth be Told
One of the most difficult challenges of Asperger Syndrome is the frustrating and frankly galling sense of self-absorption that stems from an inability to recognize that other people have feelings.
Over the years there has been much gnashing of teeth regarding the issues surrounding empathy, or, at the very least, some basic sense of accountability when it involves other people.
The success or failure in teaching a child with AS the importance of empathy rests with telling the truth.
Whatever their color, lies are a constant in the life of a kid w/ Asperger's, be they in the form of strreeetching the truth to make one seem more worthy than he or she feels, or outright lies when confronted (okay, caught) in an act of rule-breaking.
The quandry, at least with our own son, is that none of us are sure if the boy simply does not know what the "whole truth" concept means, or if he has figured out over the years that lying is one way to manipulate others into getting what he wants. Both are frustrating to confront, and both cause all surrounding individuals pain. As parents, it is hard enough refereeing children engaged in the "He hit me, I did not" battles that warrant at least a basic truthfulness. We know (we hope) when our kids are lying and usually they fold when we call them on it.
Not so with our Wolf. Adamant, steadfast, and downright stubborn in his refusal to wilt under parental (and now therapist/staff) pressure to 'fess up, Wolf spirals into an abyss of trouble that for most of us would engage a recognition of that sinking feeling of impending punishment.
It's been a frustrating week, to be perfectly honest. I try to step back and remember that concepts second nature to most of us are not so for children with AS. I try to see the scenario from my son's perspective and think how confusing it must be when he is truly caught and now sits in a web of his own untruthfulness, unable to figure out how to come clean for his own sake.
We are truly at an impasse today; Wolf, his therapists, and we his parents. He will not budge from his point of view, but neither will we.