“My Story…” Monday: A – Anti-Social?

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism DiagnosisHe Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, Second Grade Math, Is it too easy?, A Well-Rounded Child, Being a Team Player, The Acceptance of Children)


“So, is he kind of anti-social, then?” 


People ask me that a fair bit.  I think it has to do with the fact that, since A. is functioning academically at a higher level than his peers, they think he wouldn’t have common ground with them and, thus, might shun socializing.


But that’s not true.

A. is still, very much, a first grade boy.  He likes Transformers.  He thinks that Super Mario baseball game for the Wii rocks.  He has been known to giggle at the word “toot”.  He’s six.  The fact that his brain is able to process and solve problems that fall under the category of “higher level thinking” just doesn’t change the fact that he’s a little boy.


The thing is, while my little guy loves typical little guy things, he also loves solving ridiculously hard problems.  He derives great joy from exploring difficult math problems.  So, when hanging out with a first grade buddy, he might suddenly sketch something and say, “So I’m trying to see if there’s an easy way to figure out the area of this dodecahedron…”


And that’s where he loses them.  It’s not that A. is anti-social but he’s just unable to distinguish between what interests he shares with his peers and those that are not on their radar.


Anti-social?  No.  Not at all.  Socially awkward?  Yep.  He is that.  Particularly with his classmates.  But there’s an interesting flip-side to this…


A. is rather fearless (and adept) at initiating conversations with adults.  Take, for example, this past week when he had a grading for karate.  (He was promoted to apprentice purple, by the way– very exciting!)  We arrived early, as requested, and, as usual, we were the only family who got there on time.


A. seemed a little restless, so I suggested that perhaps he could go warm up a bit on his own.  He headed out, all by himself, to the middle of the floor.  The master and grandmaster looked up at him and he bowed, then introduced himself,


“I’m A, a blue belt, and I’m going to start out with ten jumping jacks.”  As he did them, he counted, loudly and clearly– in Korean.  When he was done with his warm-up, he ambled up to the table where the masters sat and struck up a conversation.  Most of the children are very intimidated when the karate masters are there.  They’re not used to them and they hang back.  Even the outgoing ones with plenty of buddies seem leery of the fifth- (and beyond!) degree black belts.  But my son?  Honestly, I think I was a lot more nervous about the whole thing than he was!


Totally at ease, he chatted about the different forms with them.   As A. walked away from the table, I watched the grandmaster lean toward the master and murmur, “Well-spoken little man, isn’t he?”


And so, like so many parts of our adventure with our son, the “social piece” has many facets.  I find myself wondering if the day will come when his interests might better align with his peers and thus simplify conversations.


Maybe when girls enter the equation. ;)


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3 comments to “My Story…” Monday: A – Anti-Social?

  • You know what? I don’t think those other little boys are any better at distinguishing shared interests. A just has interests beyond them while they all like essentially the same thing. My son loves superheroes and light sabers. His friend could not care less, but likes knights and swords. Turns out attack is attack regardless of what label you give it so they work it out just fine.

    • I admit I laughed out loud at your line “turns out attack is attack” because it just SCREAMS “boy mom”. :) I guess the issue A. faces is that his peers don’t even have a CLUE what he’s talking about. And he really doesn’t get why they’re not interested. So the whole exchange ends up being awkward.

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