By Kodey Toney
Isn’t It Ironic
I’ve determined that my son is a computer. Ok, before anyone thinks I’m being too insensitive, let me explain. I had a bit of an epiphany today. What I should say is that Konner acts like a computer at times.
You see, autism, as we know, is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to process information. More specifically, it affects the way they process language and social skills.
This is much the same way a processing chip of a computer processes the commands given by the user between the keyboard and mouse to the central processing unit or CPU. Now, I’m not a computer expert, but I know that different processors can deliver information more quickly and make the computer run faster.
What caused me to have this idea is that Konner was in the computer room this morning yelling at the computer. This is not unusual. In fact in the past couple years we have been through almost 10 computer mice, an iPad, an iPad screen and a computer screen because Konner has been pretty rough on electronics.
This is not from a lack of trying on our part to curb the situation. We have talked to him until we are blue in the face about remaining calm and taking breaks. We have grounded him, given him timeouts, and even made him wait several months before replacing the screens.
I have gone through social stories, stories written to help people better understand social skills, and tried to make him understand that it is unacceptable.
The problem is that he, like many in this technological world, want immediate gratification. He wants things to happen and happen now. He doesn’t want to have to wait for a slow processor or lagging internet. When he pushes the button he wants results quickly.
The irony is that I, as a father, want the same thing from my son. When I ask him a question I want an answer as quickly as possible. When I ask him to do something I want him to start moving immediately. I don’t want to have to wait, or for there to be a lag in results.
The way he feels when the computer is not responding the way he wants is the same way I feel when he doesn’t do things right away, but I have to understand that’s the way his brain works. I have to relax, stay calm, and wait for him to process the information. This is easier said than done, and I usually fail.
When the two issues intertwine then we really have problems. As I’m writing this, Konner is having an emotional issue involving the computer. He is upset and said that he is very angry. He is in near tears and is hard to reason with. This however is what I’m trying to do, but he doesn’t want to listen. So he is taking a break from the computer for a while, but it causes him to be more upset.
His yelling and failure to cooperate is causing me to get frustrated, and that is a bad formula for communication between the two of us. So I’m stepping back for a few minutes and we will “reset” if you will and start again in a few minutes; which is what he probably should have done with the computer and then we wouldn’t be in this situation.