Like many people on the autism spectrum my little man has a fondness for his PC and more so the Internet. But its not just a hobby, Interest or even an addiction! Its his voice, the great one within… The one he can’t seem to use to express himself in the real world.
I’m not saying that Little man can’t speak, because he can! He is very verbal (ask our neighbours, the bus driver or even the postman)! Its just that little man struggles to put some of what he needs to say In the right set of words. This can lead to frustration, misunderstandings and a degree of sadness.
Of course I’d always heard about both children & adults with Aspergers having some type of connection and in many cases, great knowledge when it comes to the world of computers, many children branded as little whizz kids. I didn’t think much about this, that was in till my own child took to the keyboard.
I’ve never had to really ever teach little man something more then once when it comes to computers. I remember his interest at a young age. He was eager to know what all the fuss was about and couldn’t wait to explore cyber space. At 12 years old my son can now show me a thing or two when it comes to using a computer especially when it comes to windows (yes, its true, once you use a Mac you never go back).
Both the existence of computers and the net has opened a whole host of doors for children like Little Man. I’ve noticed that online his much more confident, fancying himself as something of a comedian at times. He loves talking to others about the world of Mind Craft, making Youtube Tutorial videos and sharing his love of wrestling and transport.
Its simple, the computer has no string of facial expressions to understand, it doesn’t constantly change its tone with every mood, it won’t ever demand you stare at it in order to prove your paying attention… Its your connection to the world and those in it. Its a place that lets you express yourself without fear in a way you know how! No ones looking at you and even if they are its through a web cam which according to the little man is an extremely cool invention (his words not mine).
As your child gets the most out of their new communication tool, they also learn and discover all there is to know about it! Little man has no issues when it comes to making spread sheets and presentations. His a massive fan of power point software and seems to understand where every file lies on his PC (even those he has no access to).
It allows him to write at speed instead of lagging behind as he struggles with his fine motor skills when doing things the traditional way. Whether his working on a new movie trailer for his youtube channel or sending that occasional funny tweet that makes everyone laugh, his expressing himself without fear… His learning, communicating and experimenting all at the same time.
All the above is fantastic, making me a very proud mother. However, though I think its great, as his mother I still feel its important he learns the communication skills required to use away from the computer, out there in the big wide world. That’s why together along with his school Little man is thought communication and social skills that we encourage him to use both on and offline.
So… Will I be at all surprised if my son grows up to get a job that involves computers, the net or both?
No… I think its looking pretty likely don’t you?