Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fun: True Story, I Don't Even NEED to Exaggerate

Movie recommendation: Mozart and the Whale

“Based on a true story, this romantic drama follows the love affair of two people with Asperger's Syndrome -- a subtle form of autism with a side of savant. Donald (Josh Harnett), an emotionally dysfunctional mathematical genius, leads a support group for those with the syndrome. When an attractive music and art genius (Radha Mitchell) joins the group, Donald's falls for her, but their unique natures make for a challenging relationship.” From Netflix

True story:

So I rented this movie while my sister was here. I was especially interested as I have had several students with either Asperger’s or autism in my classes over the years. This year I have two – one is a student, the other is my TA.

So I watch the movie with my sister and my 19 year old daughter. We really enjoyed it, and afterwards we’re talking along the lines of topics loosely connected with the movie. I’m sharing about the two students I have this year, and how although they don’t socialize a lot with the other students, they totally connect with each other. After class, they have lunch in my room. They talk like crazy and actually look each other in the eye, something they do not do when they talk to me. They like to hang out in my room because kids can be assholes and my student was getting teased and his mom asked if he could get a pass from me to eat inside my classroom.

My daughter (who works at a coffee house by the University) has been politely listening and chimes in.

Daughter: We have a lot of half-way houses for mental health by my work.

Me: Oh. ?

Daughter: Yeah. There’s this one guy who comes in three times a day for diet coke. I think he has autism.

Sister: Oh…. Really….

Daughter: Yeah. Like after he orders his diet coke. While I’m getting it. He stands there at the register the whole time and goes, “Can I have a diet COKE please. Can I have a diet COKE please.” He says it the entire time I make his soda.

Sister: That does sound like Rainman. Remember that movie with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise?

Daughter (not done with story): Yeah. That customer. Yesterday he was saying his “Can I have a diet COKE please. Can I have a diet COKE please.” And then when I gave him his soda, he was. like, looking down, he kinda always looks down, and says, “I like your shoes.”

Me: Well, that’s nice.

Daughter: Yeah. Then he looks up at me and says, “I have a woman’s SHOE fetish.”

A nicer than-usual-for-a-weekday-cab sprays out of mine and my sister's noses and we choke on what is left in our throats.


Daughter: Yeah. I know it’s probably not his fault, but it made me really uncomfortable, so I turned bright red and walked into the kitchen and asked the baker to take his money. The whole time, he was like, “I’m SORry, I’m SORry, I’m SORry. He stays about an hour, drinking his soda. About every fifteen minutes, he’d yell, “I’m SORry.”

Me (trying to stem my un-PC laughter): The poor guy.

Daughter raises eyebrow.


Anonymous said...

That's a hilarious story! Well written too!

cheatymoon said...

Oh, you're funny. Many students that come my way have diagnoses that fall along the spectrum somewhere. Very interesting - I like how their brains work!

Kristan said...

HAHAHA oh man...

Actually I just met someone with Asperger's for the first time (not knowing he had it when I met him, and not knowing what it was till I read the newspaper article about him) and he was fairly "normal," just a little quiet/awkward. But so many "normal" people are too, haha.

Anyway, nice kid, going to my alma mater (which is how I met him -- alumni picnic) and he was featured in an article because he was valedictorian of his high school (and the piece was on all the val's in the area), NOT because of his syndrome.

Hmm, okay, so that's totally not funny, but your story made me want to expound on it. :P

Anonymous said...

Well...there's the thing about Asperger's, you know where they stand cos they just 'put it out there.' Which i actually prefer to the creepy 'normal guys' who just sidle around, hoping for a glimpse of toe cleavage or whatever else it is that turns their crank...which really is just...creepy.

Pseudo said...

24 - Thank-you and thank-you fo rstopping by. I'm going to come checkout your blog next.

Movie - I'd love to be a fly on the wll of your class one day. I enjoy thee kids a lot too. Both of these boys are brillant with technology. I'd ask them to help me with my blog, but I'm pseudo.

Kristan - thanks for sharing. yours is a great story. I hope both of my students go off to college and come back with great success stories.

Thistle - Yeah. I agree. But I think what creped my daughter out was that for months this guy had always been looking down at her feet.......

WomenBloom said...

Hmmm, I think my 45 year old brother may have Asperger's although he's never been diagnosed. He struggles in life because he's just odd socially and it makes my heart bleed for him. I have a friend with a son who's been diagnosed and the behaviors are so similar to my bro's.

J's very literal and when he was 5 and we were visiting my grandparents, he was breaking some pencils in half one by one. Granddad said 'son, I wouldn't do that if I were you.' Well, J kept it up and after the swat he got from Dad for it, he wailed,'but, Grandad said HE wouldn't do it, I'm not him!' There you go, hard to argue with that!

K Dubs said...

Oh my gosh, I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything while I was reading that! I have a couple of friends with Aspy kids, they make mine with ADHD look easy. Not fun.

Pseudo said...

Allison and Kathy - Thanks for stopping by. And Allison, even though your brother is 45 I wonder if it wouldn't help him to get diagnosed. He would then get help with his social skills. My TA gets A LOT of help with his social skills. He's a senior and his SPED resource teacher, who's a friend, asked me to take him on as a TA so he could het some work expereince. When he comes to my class he has a ST (Skills Trainer) and someone from the mental health center. Once a week they talk with me about his social interactions, especially if I ask him to do something he's not thrilled with. They couach the both of us.

Anonymous said...

well..better her feet than down her blouse :}