Often, people with Asperger’s Syndrome are fond of lists. Lists of things to do, lists of future plans, lists to help one through the day. If there’s an event, there’s a list.
And there’s a reason why lists are popular with the AS mind. Beyond the obvious. Beyond the fact that lists are helpful to everyone, everywhere.
They focus on steps.
Breaking down complex actions into steps is a challenge. It was – and still is – difficult for our son, as well as for many others. First this step, then the next. Imagine being told to build a machine, and being given parts. Lots of parts, some familiar, and some strange.
We’d need that guide, that how-to manual, that list of what to do, step by step.
A lot of life – particularly social situations – is like that for the AS child. It’s big and confusing and filled with odd moving parts. Our often brilliant kids are great at details, but sometimes the big picture can be overwhelming and hard to grasp.
The list is a natural self-help aid. It’s a way to cope. It’s an excellent way to deal with being a square peg in a round world.
Over and over again, in school, we saw the list magic at work. What came easily to others didn’t to our son – a familiar story. But give him a checklist, and he could suddenly handle a confusing project with a lot of steps.
Lists are orderly, clear, in sequence, and as black-and-white as it gets. There’s nothing social, touchy-feely or opinion-based about a list. Not if done properly.
That said, I’ve made a July resolution. It is – you guessed it – about Lists. As we’re about halfway through the summer, and facing middle school – a scary prospect – we need to work on steps and lists as ways to help break down the complex into the simple. And in middle school, he’ll need that.
Plus, he’ll need to be able to do that on his own. In a busy environment, without Mom, without Dad, and without grandparents.
So my July resolution is to help my son learn how to make a list. At least one list a day. As we’ve largely taken them for granted, and not worked on how to make them, we have our work cut out for us.
Wish us luck. 🙂