Aspergers And Social Awkwardness
Aspergers and social awkwardness go hand in hand, for someone with Aspergers feeling socially awkward is the norm.
Feeling comfortable in company does not come easily to people with Aspergers syndrome. Being in the company of others is a constant struggle, as picking up on body language and reading social cues does not come naturally to them.
The Zakynthos Walking Group
Is a group of people that get together on a Sunday and walk/hike/explore the island whilst under the charge of a chap called Derek (who I believe to be part man, part mountain goat).
This is our first winter doing these walks and how our Sundays have changed for the better!
Not only that, but as some of you may know Greg’s (our son) has Aspergers syndrome (with added extras) and the walks have done him the world of good in so many ways. He really looks forward to the walks and is happy walking along side people, most he barely knows.
Being part of the group has challenged him in more ways than most. People with Aspergers syndrome find socializing a big challenge, so every walk we go on Greg’s is being socially challenged, as well as being physically challenged.
A Step In The Right Direction
It’s becoming obvious to me that he is becoming more relaxed on the walks, as I’ve seen him walking alongside others and talking. Now the conversation may not be ground breaking in itself, but for me to hear him talking to other people (and them to him) is like music to my ears.
As odd as it may seem, I purposely keep my distance from him, it’s important that he learns how to be around other people with out having me or his Dad too close by. On the walks we are there if he needs us or can’t cope, but we want him learn how to be comfortable around people without us being his crutch (we live in hope).
Greg’s Stepped Up To A Challenge
Last week we did a walk to Skopos, which is one of the highest points on the island. The climb to the top is a proper climb, and there are ropes to help pull yourself up. We did a shorter walk to Skopos on New Years Day and Greg’s didn’t make it to the very top that time, he felt uncomfortable and pressured (we were with a different walking group, so the change would have been a bit unsettling for him too).
Alongside his Aspergers, Greg’s also has dyspraxia and a myopathy which made the climb to the top of Skopos even more challenging for him, but this time he felt comfortable enough to step up to the challenge and did himself (and us) proud.
He Made It To The Top!
And Back Down Again…
Something I’m sure he wouldn’t have managed had he not felt comfortable in the company of all there.
We All Benefit From The Walks
Getting out for regular walks with the Zakynthos Walking Group is totally stimulating, the walking can be challenging (which is part of the fun), the scenery and views are stunning and even the company is good (I am no social butterfly, but do enjoy the chatting and banter that goes on).
The group consists of a pretty diverse group of people, with people of all ages, nationalities and abilities meeting up. On harder walks there is often a significant distance between the people up front and the ones behind, but that never bothers anyone, everyone is too busy enjoying the moment to let that bother them (and quite rightly so).
Yesterday An Amazing Thing Happened
Greg’s took it upon himself to contact Derek and ask him something. Now many people reading this might not think of that as a big deal, after all he is almost nineteen, but it is a big deal. For him to think to make contact with someone is a big thing, as so many things just don’t occur to him and he has to be constantly nudged and coaxed. For us it is a baby step in the right direction.
Life for anyone who is different can be difficult, by accepting people for who and what they are, we can really make life easier for them. It really is that simple.
Are you someone who fits in easily? Or are you socially awkward?
© 2016, Debbie. All rights reserved.