Taking Things Literally and Believing the Little Jokes
People with Asperger’s Syndrome seem to take things very literally. Children, in all of their innocence, may be the most susceptible to these mistakes.
If you tell a child with Asperger’s Syndrome that it is “Raining cats and dogs,” he/she will usually expect to see cats and dogs dropping out of the sky. They simply don’t yet understand that it’s a figure of speech.
When we were in the hospital recently, my son was about to be sedated for the procedure to put a PICC line into his arm. The procedure would allow me to administer antibiotics to him through this line in our own home.
One of our nurses, although very nice, had a quirky sense of humor. I’m not sure she realized that if she joked about how something was going to happen, he would believe her.
He had many questions. We tried to answer them as honestly as possible, but held back on some things that might upset him.
For instance: One lady said, “You’re gonna take a little nap.” He freaked out. “I don’t wanna take a nap!”
Since he would be under conscious sedation, essentially somewhat awake, but with no memory of the procedure afterward, I could honestly tell him, “You won’t be taking a nap.”
I smiled at her and said, “You said the “N” word. You never say the “N” word.
The nurse with the quirky sense of humor was amused with all of his questions. She told him that we were going to do something that would turn him into a girl. He believed her!
He started freaking out worse than before. I had to step in and explain that she was just kidding.
This world of people not saying what they really mean can be very confusing for Aspies, whether young or a bit older. They simply want us to say things plainly. Since the world does not really conform to their needs, they are the ones who are forced to adjust
It helps for them to have an understanding guide or two on this journey. This must be a person who will not make fun of them or make them feel bad. This may be the parents, or a friend.
We must understand that social situations of any kind can be like being in a room in which everyone is speaking a language that is unknown to that person. Someone who cares for the Aspie can be a sort of translator. When it is done with love, everyone comes out feeling better about themselves.