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Joe Dirt

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Hi all,

Just checking in to say hi, discuss what's up...

I've been off the forum for a while, as well as all but one other forum while trying to reorganize my priorities. I've always put the important things first, but also always lapsed into the familiar when I felt somewhat like I've done "enough" of the important things if that makes sense. I have spent the last month or so working around the house, and spending time with my wife and son. He started a bowling league on his request which made me happy- I bowled through college at MSU, and have always missed it. Now we can do that together on Saturday mornings. He built a new toolbox at Cub Scouts last week.

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He helped me put Deuce back together this past weekend when I replaced the water pump. He learned how disc brakes work. How engines run. How the cooling system works. Why FORD does NOT stand for 'Found On Road Dead..." :D He learned about SAE and Metric bolts, and that the same car can have both types. That was "stupid" he said.

"Why don't they use the same ones on the whole car? In fact, why not just use the same size bolt on everything, then you only have to own one wrench? This is ridiculous."

Then the flathead screwdriver slipped out of the hose clamp when tightening the air intake hose to the throttle body. 4 times.

Then he says "Why don't they use the phipps screw on this? These are dumb too."
I said "do you mean 'phillips' screw?"
He answers with "Yeah- that's what I said- the phipps screw."
Whatever... Great- he has gained my hatred of flat-head screws also. :)

After the screwdriver slips out of the clamp for the 6th time, he says "Why didn't we use a socket on this screw- look- it's shaped like a bolt anyways. It would probably be easier with the right tool, right Dad?" because I just said that about 5 minutes earlier when changing hose clamps on the lower radiator hose by using the correct pliers, and how much easier it would be because of it. Great- hey- just zip your face and tighten the stupid thing, ok?... :D

He did some important stuff- he even used the torque wrench to torque down all of the water pump bolts. (I didn't break any taking them off! :)) He learned how to use it, and knew to wait for the clicks. He learned why we were putting in stainless steel bolts in some of them. I let him tighten the water pump pulley to the new pump, but because he has tiny arms, and I had gone through the rest of the entire repair without cutting myself open yet. Not taking a chance on that. I told him that I was not going to check his work, if he said that they were tight, they were tight- so make sure it was done correctly. I wasn't even going to set the torque wrench for him, he had to do it himself- I trusted him, or at least that's what I said, while praying... :D I was going to trust him, and we'd put it back together and test it out. He was beaming, he felt so important, which he was. We put the hoses in, filled it up with anti-freeze, and after a few minutes...

...nothing leaked! Way to go, Drew... :thumbsup:




BUT, not everything is perfect. This weekend was very hard for me. Well, all of us at home. I don't soapbox much, but this one is close to me, and really affected both me, my wife, and my son, so I thought I'd climb up on the box and share some history, a situation, and some thoughts.

The only forum I've been on at all in the last month is a forum called "Wrong Planet" which is sort of a support forum for people with Aspergers. My son has mild Aspergers, and I'm learning form those that deal with it all the time how to help him, how to communicate with him, and it's working.

Friday was hard because we realized that anything can happen- I picked up my son from school on Friday and realized that for 20 parents in Connecticut, they will never do that for their kids again following the incredibly tragic actions of Adam Lanza. After school, we spent the rest of the evening together, in the garage, wrenching on Deuce. He said he wanted to grow up like me, while he had grease all over his face. There is nothing like hearing that. Nothing.

Anyway, the events of Connecticut took a toll, because news leaked that Adam Lanza, also had Aspergers.

For those not in the know, Aspergers is high-functioning autism- that as a hyper-simplistic summary can create anti-social behavior, quirky sensory behavior issues- like the inability to deal with having to wear socks with seams, or certain clothing. Things that are minor for us "neurotypicals" without Aspergers, are huge issues for Aspies. Loud noises can create issues. Bright lights can create issues. Inability to feel physical pain in some cases, and the inability to read a mood on someone's face. They usually prefer to be alone so as not to deal with the world that they don't understand or like to be a part of. Lack of empathy in some Aspies is also an issue. They can be "too honest" and say things that are not really socially acceptable. Like "wow, I don't want to eat that, it tastes horrible" when the person that made it is next to them. They have a hard time knowing how and when to react to someone's non-verbal cues. Not learning from experience as fast as we do. Lots of stuff that we take for granted. But, they are generally very smart. They can focus on a skill or subject, and investigate it until expert status is achieved. Lots of famous people are speculated to have had Aspergers based on behavior, because diagnosis is recent. People like Henry Ford, Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Benjamin Franklin. Oh- and Crispin Glover. lol!

In our experience, my son only has a mild case- he doesn't deal too much at all with the obvious social issues that Adam Lanza did, but he has issues with socks, sometimes it takes us 20 minutes to find a comfortable pair. Sometimes he goes to school with no socks. If he can't deal with it, he might melt down and cry and be upset for about 15 minutes. Sometimes longer. But, sometimes he's funny about it, because he knows it drives us nuts. The other week he lays down, and I get the socks on his feet, he looks at the socks, me, socks, me, and starts screaming that he "...can't stand them, and it feels like the flesh is being burned off my skeleton feeeeet!!" and balls up on the floor silent. about 10 seconds later while I'm still sitting there holding a shirt and staring with my mouth open, he stands up smiling, says "I'm just kidding, they're perfect this morning" and runs out of the room laughing. Funny. Thanks Drew. :D

Shoes are a pain- last time we went, we shopped shoes for 3 days after school. "Too tight" or "Too loose" or "These squeeze my foot" or "I feel a thread on this one" or "What is this bump, I HATE THIS BUMP!" followed by trying to tear his foot off while still wearing the offending shoe. I patiently tried on 68 pairs of shoes from 11 stores with him before we found one he could deal with. Yes, I counted the shoes we tried on. The ones that worked for him only worked after he took out the footbed pads. He likes them. <whew>

He doesn't get sarcasm at ALL. That's an Aspie trait- it's lost, his brain cannot process it at all. It's odd, but interesting. When we sarcastically say that the dog is going to move outside if he doesn't stop chewing stuff, we find him upstairs crying while "looking for warm dog sweaters for Oreo". He misses all of it, which cannot make living with me easy. :D

He's in 3rd grade, but he's currently doing 5th grade math. 5th grade spelling. 5th grade science. 6th grade reading. He has a near photographic memory. He re-drew the serpentine belt route with pullies all labeled from the sticker on Deuce's header panel that we reviewed when re-assembling the truck the day before- while sitting in church Sunday. I double checked it when I got out to the car, since I couldn't even remember all of it, and yes, it was correct.

Thankfully, he doesn't suffer from the awkward social issues- he has friends, goes to Cub Scouts, and loves to go to movies.

He's an 8 year old boy. Sure he has his issues, but whatever- all of us do...

A lot of Aspies withdraw from their peers, because they don't have interest in dealing with people. They can't handle the crowds, noise, or even desire the social or physical contact of people.

The problem is, apparently Adam Lanza had Aspergers, and now that's spreading around. My son has Aspergers. For some, that's enough of a correlation. Generalizations are made, and people get hurt.

We heard that Lanza's Mother was a survivalist/end of the world is coming/stockpiling stuff fan. Sunday morning my son said "He had Aspergers?" He looked a little upset, but then about 20 minutes later said "I don't think that made him shoot those people. I think he was really sad or upset that the world was going to end and he couldn't deal with it. He was probably just a bad person that needed help but didn't want help or something." Then he says "I have Aspergers too, but I would never hurt someone like that. That was really wrong and I feel bad for those people. It's even almost Christmas, that's really sad." Then he padded off, back upstairs to draw.

We went to church on Sunday, and out to eat at Red Robin afterwards. I ate a salad, because I'm getting less huge. :) Family behind us is talking about the shooting, and their grand plans of what they would do. Checkpoints, guards, the usual. After lunch, we're sitting there, and I'm signing the credit card slip, so I'm not really listening to them, when I notice my son crying. I asked him what was wrong, and he just points behind himself, to where the other people are and says "why do they want me to die?"

I listen, and from where I'm listening now, I overhear father of the year blurt out "take them out- enough already- autism or Aspies or whatever they said on the news. It doesn't matter- it has to stop, we can't keep pumping money into trying to fix problems that can't be fixed. These kids are all messed up and can't function as normal people. Want to fix the problem? I'll shoot your Aspie and fix it in about 3 seconds." Then he sort of laughs.

He indirectly wanted to shoot my son. I about went over the back of the booth and tore his head off of his shoulders. 10 years ago I would have. Now I have those little eyes staring at me, and watching whatever would have transpired.

So I didn't. I just told my son- who was now crying out loud- in a loud enough voice to hear "Andrew, not everyone is the same, not everyone has the same ability to accept people that might be different but are probably still a good person, just different than they are, whether it is inside or outside. <now looking over the back of the booth while my son is crying on my shoulder> Not everyone knows that you have Aspergers, and sometimes people say things that they don't mean. Sometimes people say things that make them sound no better than the person they're complaining about. That's part of dealing with life, and I think you do an amazing job of dealing with life everyday."

The guy was as white as a sheet, and his wife didn't look much better. Of course, they had 2 kids there also. So when we get up, I said to the table in general but more to his kids "sometimes people say things that might not come out the way they planned. It doesn't mean that they are a bad person, it just means that they might have said something that they didn't really mean. Have a Merry Christmas." The boys said "Merry Christmas" back. The ghostly white parents didn't say anything, but smiled at us.

We get up to leave, and my son still sniffling slowly and crookedly pulls on his mohawk knit hat, gets up and bravely steps over to the table next to us and says "I have Aspergers and it doesn't mean that I hate anyone. I wouldn't hurt anyone. Merry Christmas to you." And grabs my hand and pulls me towards the front door. Then he stops to get his green balloon (always a green balloon) by the front door, and the Mother from the table comes running up and asks me if she can give him a hug. I said "It's up to him, part of Aspergers is that he might have a problem with unwanted physical contact." Hearing that my son grabs her and hugs her first before she can even ask him. She says to him "I'm so sorry honey, that was so incredibly brave what you just did, and I apologize for what you heard." He said "I don't hate anyone."

That all breaks off, and as we're walking out to the car while I hold his balloon (because he usually unintentionally lets go) he looks at me with red eyes and smiles.

All I could do was say that I think he just made a difference in the world. Maybe theirs, but for sure in mine. Moral of the story- Please, please, please don't generalize, and know that you may affect someone you don't know by what you say. Maybe they won't have the skills to deal with it like you would. Maybe someone said something to Adam Lanza- who knows?

What to do? I don't know. There is a time to figure that out, just not right this second. All I can do is think about those kids, the teachers, and especially the people and children that will deal with the ramifications brought on by what they know, heard, or God forbid- what they might have seen- for the rest of their lives. Prayers...

<off soapbox>





Tim- I've stockpiled Twinkies- not to worry... :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone- from the Dirt clan...!

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Albino 94LTD

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Thank you Joe!

Give Drew a thumbs up or a high five for me:thumbsup: He's gonna be a good man.
 






FIND

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Good luck to your son with it. I've got Aspergers as well, and as you can see, I haven't gone on a shooting spree yet, so tell your son not to take people too seriously. There are a lot of us out there, and no matter what your station is in life, there are always idiots out there who don't understand you or want to unfairly generalize a group of people they don't understand. I've probably got a little more on the social awkwardness side, so he is lucky there. It takes me a lot more effort than it should to avoid cutting off my real life social contact. It is even more dangerous in the age of the internet, where you can feel like you have satisfied your social contract by communicating online, even if it isn't the same. An extraordinary memory can be a useful trait as well. Granted, I can remember almost every conversation I've had for the past several years, but I still lose every argument I get into with women, especially if it is about something she said.

Good on you for being the adult in that situation. I probably would have punched the guy. I've got a neighbor who has an autistic son, and with all the crap she has to hear from ignorant people, I KNOW she would have.

Anyway, the problem isn't some guy with Aspergers or even his survivalist mother. The problem is some disturbed individual thought that hurting and kiling other people would solve a problem in his life, just as that father was "joking" about doing.

But anyway, Merry Christmas to you and yours. I was beginning to think your absence was Twinkie related, and we wouldn't see you again until someone got them back on the shelves.
 












sport97

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Joe, sounds like you have done a great job raising your son, you should be proud. Hope you guys have a great Christmas season!
 






Varsity

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Joe, sounds like you have done a great job raising your son, you should be proud. Hope you guys have a great Christmas season!

x1000. He sounds like a great kid Joe.

I don't want this thread to turn into one about the shooting, but I also don't like to hear excuses about what happened that day. Because of that, everyone is talking about gun control, mental disorders, or in this case, factors that may have influenced him and tons of other stuff. Something has to be done, no doubt, and people like the guy at Red Robin only make things harder. I'm sure it was his cruel way of "joking," but he proves what is wrong with our country, it's always somebody else's fault. A tragic thing just happened to our country and we need to look at ways to recognize this type of stuff, not BS and laugh while pointing out how something else caused it.

Either way, this story was good to hear and made me feel great. You've got a great kid there.
 












College Student

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Joe I cried for your son. He is strong. When I was a kid if something like that would have happened to me I would have just stormed off. I'm glad that the other parents felt bad, and hope it taught them to be mindful of what they say.

And I get that small hands thing. When we replaced the engine in the cj7 I got the luxury of taking out every bell housing bolt, only because I had the only hands that could fit back there.

As for the hose clamp. First those can be dangerous, slip then screw driver into hands. That's why when I'm at home I try to use the nut drivers.

Speaking on screw drivers slipping almost had one of these
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go through my hand today, when the cat 5 connector broke in half.

And lastly you and the rest of the forum have wonderful holidays.
 






BigRondo

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Joe, it is good to hear from you. :thumbsup:

I'm glad all is well. Sounds to me like you guys are doing a great job raising Drew. I always believe that kids are a product of their environment. As far as I can tell, he is in a great environment.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to the Dirt Clan!!
 






Rick

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Glad to see you back Joe. Paying attention to the family is definitely more important than paying attention to the forum.

I picked up on your remark about your son not understanding sarcasm. As you probably know my wife teaches special ed, she has taught many kids with Aspergers. Char has used sarcasm in her classroom to help teach the children what it is, and how to deal with it, since as you said, they tend to take everything quite literally.

Some of her ex-students are now 30 years old with kids of their own. It's fantastic hearing them thank Char for all she did for them throughout their careers in grade school.

Only one of Char's ex-students has ended up in REAL trouble, and he wasn't even in a special ed class, he was a "normal" student. This student was never in special ed, yet he killed his mother, father and brother at their home. Thing about that is Char observed what she felt were dangerous behaviors when the kid was in regular ed, she informed both the school and the parents, but her observations were discounted, and nothing was done for the student before it was much too late, and the kid was already using heavy drugs to "self medicate".

Keep working with your son, I'm sure he'll benefit from your efforts.:chug:
 






TheGTkid

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I need to meet this kid... That is amazing
It makes me think about things I have said in public that may have indirectly bothered someone and lately my lady has been telling me to be a little more polite, now I see why
That was a great read and even had me thinking, I know better, but sometimes my diarrhea of the mouth can get the best of me
 






leebo

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th_smiley-clapping.gif


Best thread I've seen in awhile!
 






Turdle

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Joe, I think we all have a little of this in our lives. Thanks for letting it out. And thanks for pointing out I might have work to do on myself. I think we all do.
 






hlg99

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Thanks for sharing Joe. Holidays are about family, This year more than ever.
 






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Twinkies....man Twinkies

Personally im a Funny Bone fan, Drakes went under with the rest Hostess. Kinda sad I had a relative in New York go and buy me as many boxes of Funny Bones as they could. I keep em' in my freezer!

Also; if its worth anything.
One of my good friends/employees has Aspergers. He is married, has an active social life, and a bachelors degree in Computer Science. He is a good guy, and he gets sarcasm (maybe its a learned social behavior). Hes actually a great person to work with, hes always really honest, and never sugar coats a problem! (some people don't like that however, and I do have to defend him at times, these people would apparently rather you lie to them to make them feel better, and avoid scary talk about problems)
 






2TimingTom

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Great to hear from you Joe.

I probably would have gone to jail because I would have ensured that the father just chewed his last solid meal.

About the sock thing- try turning them inside out if it's a seam thing. Of course then the oddity of having them on wrong may bug him...... My oldest (7) sometimes gets bugged by the seams and turning them inside out solves the problem.

And I also hate flatheads. About the only thing flathead screw drivers are good for is opening paint cans.

EDIT- anyone watch the show "Parenthood"? The one family has a son (about 13-15 years old) and he has Aspergers. I know it's just a show, but it's interesting to watch how they handle it.
 






willindsay

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blueoval9erlifer

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Awesome Post Joe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My wife works with individuals with mental and physical handicaps and until i was around them did not realize that they are a lot of times more "normal" than the people most consider Normal.

Sounds like your son has been raised the right way. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Dirt Family.

The only way to get rid of these prejudices is one person "getting educated" at a time.
 






Joe Dirt

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Thanks for all of the thoughts everyone- it really means a lot... We're trying to do the right thing, and not always sure if we are or not. But, I guess as long as we keep the ship somewhat pointed into the waves, we'll get there. Kind of like changing the rear shocks on a gen II... :D

Merry Christmas!

Oh- My son is enthralled with patterns, math, numbers, and equations. I think it's fascinating- he's doing algebra already.

...and if anyone tries to dispute the thought about Aspie's being dazzled with numbers and math, I give you exhibit A:

...I've got Aspergers as well...
:)
 



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Among the finest, if not the finest, posts in my time here, Joe. Drew's a heck of a young man, and you and the missus parents. Merry Christmas, and best wishes to the family. Don't be a stranger. :)
 






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