“Are you mad at me because I have Asperger’s?” That question from Max to Adam on Parenthood’s season finale hit me like a punch in the gut. It hit me because I recognized then that Kaitlyn’s view of our exchanges differs from mine.
For some context, Adam was looking for Max’s lost retainer, and Max was involved in a book about bugs. After a few attempts to get his attention, Adam took the book away and raised his voice some. Max perceived this raising of the voice as his dad being mad at him because he has Asperger’s. It was such a wonderful depiction of how an Aspergian might view the world.
And the exchange got me to thinking about Kaitlyn. She has such a great memory and is very bright, but she frustrates us beyond belief sometimes because we think “she knows better” on trivial things due to her intelligence in more complex areas. It is perplexing to us.
There are many parallels we draw between the character of Max and Kaitlyn. There are also some differences. We laugh when he does or says something that we can see Kaitlyn saying or doing, and we become emotional when there are difficulties for Max that we anticipate for Kaitlyn.
What we don’t want is for Kaitlyn to ever think we are mad at her because she has Asperger’s. If she asks that, we have failed her miserably, at least for that moment in time. The time since her diagnosis has been a rollercoaster as we continually adapt our approach to daily living. We learn something new everyday about Kaitlyn, about Asperger’s, and about autism. There are times I want to pull what is left of my hair out, and times I struggle to breath from laughing at something she said or did; there are plenty of times we sit amazed at her recall and her intellect.
I cannot wait to see what today brings, and what tomorrow has in store for us as far as Kaitlyn goes. There will be rough patches for sure, but also plenty of amazing times.