For the ASD parent so many of the interactions within the family circle that require empathy to see, are literally out of mind – out of sight. He or she doesn’t fully understand the partner or the children. This leaves the Neuro-Typical (NT) partner feeling desperately alone, because the ASD spouse, the one person you should be able to confide in, can’t read your mind or fathom your feelings. Even worse is the disappointment that comes when you reach out to friends and professionals who do not comprehend the ongoing traumatic relationship disorder that is the center of your life.
When you’re dealing with the challenge of being an ASD/NT couple, it’s important to think about how you interact in marriage because it greatly influences your child’s well-being. Although it can be difficult, it’s essential to find ways to communicate as best you can. Intuition can go a long way toward helping NTs comprehend the AS environment in which you live and love. Couple that with increasing your knowledge of Asperger Sydrome and you’ll be empowered to thrive within your ASD/NT family.
Oren Shtayermman, Ph.D., M.S.W. Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences and NYIT School of Health Professions says it so well in the introduction to my book: “Dr. Marshack makes a huge contribution in her new book: She urges the NTs among us to meet our Aspies in the context of their lives instead of trying to change them. Many of us do not always Stop, Think and Reflect on what it may feel like to be on the “other side.” Yet the way we interpret the context of a situation impacts the way we respond to events in our environment, our live.”
To illustrate this point about intuition, one of the vignettes I share in my book is about a teenage boy. His mother wants him to clean his bathroom. She knows he loves his laptop so she withholds it until he finishes his chore. She hopes he will connect that she cares about the bathroom’s cleanliness as much as he cares about his laptop. What parent hasn’t used that approach? But it doesn’t work with someone with ASD. Yes, this boy sees the need to clean the bathroom and the need to get his laptop back, but he doesn’t see how they are connected or why he should act. Because he lacks empathy, he isn’t motivated by his mom’s displeasure. The solution came when I approached the situation with intuition and I gave him a clear call to action. You can read the whole account when you download the free chapter of Out of Mind – Out of Sight here.