Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Quiet Guy in the Corner

On Saturday night, Daniel and I went to a baby shower for two members of his choral group. Some of the members brought their spouses. One woman brought her husband who we've all noticed in the past as quite odd. As I started to spend the evening just obeserving him. He was very quiet as everyone talked around him and it seemed like he felt a bit out of place. As I kept observing him more and more it dawned on me that this guy has some kind of autistic spectrum disorder. I think my hunch was confirmed when we started chatting and he went from talking about an approaching storm to how a friend is trying to figure out how to channel lightening to his teaching students to learn a certain process. Joseph opened up and started sharing his special subject.

As we left, I felt good that I was able to talk to him. What was interesting is that no one really talked to him before. He just came to events and sat while life happened around him and no one intereacted with him.

I'm beginnging to wonder if that is how most aspies and other autistics are treated in the wider world. Neurotypicals see this kind of odd person and tend to not connect with them. Yes, we can be an odd bunch because we start talking about our passions and not just chit chat. But maybe NTs could learn a thing or two if they were patient and listened.

Even moreso, I think about the church. I know that there have been times when people don't put up with my oddness and passions. But I think as autistic disorders become more well-known in the wider world, churches will need to make more room for us and find ways to include us. We might be in our own world some of the time, but we have so much to give to the world.

I'm glad I met Joseph and hope to chat again. Even if I don't know what in the heck he is talking about.

1 comment:

Linda Hunsaker said...

My husband is the same way -- but it is not because of autism, he is just an extremely introverted and quiet guy. He is perfectly happy listening to the entire converstation when we go out with a group of friends, and then when we go home he tells me everything he heard that night. Some that I did know and some things I didn't! Most people say they don't have a thing in common with my husband and so not to often will he talk with folks. Some people have wondered at church if he was mad at them. When he is in small groups with people he really knows well, he is much more open to having a converstation. It is amazing how sometimes this outgoing world of people who talk constantly, forget that there are those who don't feel comfortable with that gift. But we should forgot about them at all -- look what we miss! Good observations!