I'm over at Jill's place today doing a guest blog on puberty. Check me out!
There's so many different things you can write about when it comes to puberty. I've come to a dead end I think. My daughter (NT, 14) and I talked a lot about this over the past week. Tommy loves to play on the PS3. He likes to mimic his dad (though Dad plays xbox 360) He likes to use the headset and yell and interact with people online while playing. He had been using a blue-tooth device similar to the one his dad uses on the xbox, but I would only allow 5 minutes of headset time because, you can HEAR that Tommy is special needs and I didn't want him to hear people making fun of him. While he was on the headset, I couldn't hear anything but I did figure out, with the help of my daughter, that he WAS being made fun of. We suspect people were calling him Timmy (from South Park.. Tommy would say "no!! I Tommy!! from OHIO!")
At Christmas time he wanted these Sony ps3 wireles headset. $100 bucks. Fuck that. Little did I know, these would be the greatest thing i've ever purchased in a long time.
This is where his Autism comes into play.
He doesn't know how to hold conversations. If you're having a one on one conversation with him, he'll answer any of your questions, and ask if he has any. But it's never back and forth with any sort of inside information. So add to this that, while he's on this headset, lots of other people are talking and he doesn't know how to insert himself so he'll do a lot of LAUGHING while irritating people online (shooting THEM instead of the target, or crashing his cars into theirs when they're supposed to be racing) Or, he'll do this mumble jumble talking. Tonight it was "yabbada gabbada magabaga hahahaha" with tons of laughing.
So why is this headset so wonderful?! I can mute the mic and he has no idea. Here you can see that all he likes to do is play for the social component. This is Mod Nation Racers. You play it like Mario Kart. But there is this lobby. ALL he wants to do is stay on the center of the spinning circle of course. It people crash into him or try to share the top with him, he gets all worked up and pushes them off. Thankfully they can't hear him screaming and yelling (mostly of excitement because he thinks its funny to crash).
But, he's SEEKING this social component. WE HAVE ALL tried to work with him on guiding him through convo's online. First you have to have a willing participant. We set that up and he just lacks the interest. He lacks the cognitive ability to go back and forth. He just wants to laugh and have fun crashing with people.
We've thought about having the Autism talk with him. To, try and help him understand that people get upset with him online, or will make fun of him online, if he doesn't behave appropriately. But, he's really not behaving INAPPROPRIATELY.. he's not causing harm per-say to anyone's vehicles.. he just bangs into them lol The point is. Do I want to break that naivety in him? Do I want to MAKE him aware that he's different and the world sucks? I don't really think he'll be able to UNDERSTAND the concept of that even.
My daughter and I had a talk over the weekend while he was playing his game. "i wonder if he knows HE'S different, or does he think WE'RE all different?" "Or, does he think we're just all the same.. he's who he is, and we're who we are??"
I'm not really sure what to do about this. He's 17. I try to "socialize him" (in terms of different types of social groups we've attended) as a typical 17 year old. But, he's unable to do so.
This is the hardest part of this stage of OUR puberty. He's approaching being 18. He's expected to act as an adult. He plays adult video games (per the rating system which he follows to a T!- that's another story) But the one part he really wants to do... he lacks the ability completely.
Part of me wishes he was still into the cartoons and characters and such. That's where all of the NICE fun naive kids are that just want to be happy.
We're stuck with the asshole teens and adults that think its funny to make fun of people online.
For now.. we'll just mute the mic. Until he figures out that nobody can hear him. Then, I'm screwed.