A few weeks ago there was a tragic news story of a young man who killed 7 people – including himself. It appeared that everything has been well thought out and planned to the extent he had written a 140 page ‘manifesto’ as well as posting a video on you tube. As you may recall the event hit newspaper headlines across the globe.
One of his frustrations was that he was 22 years old and had never kissed a girl because they had shown no interest in him. In case you didn’t see the images, I can assure you that he wasn’t ugly – so that wasn’t the reason for his plight and ultimate demise.
I suspect his lack of a girlfriend was due to his Aspergers Syndrome – if not in total at least in part.
Most, if not all, wellbeing workers will have encountered a student with Aspergers (which, apparently is now not the correct term but rather we should say ‘on the autism spectrum’ or similar). I can clearly remember the first time I was even aware of the issue.
Mark (as always not his real name) is the son of someone I knew when I was in my youth group many (I mean many) years ago. We were chatting on MSN (so that shows you how long ago it was) and he was explaining that at 16 years old he was having the urges to connect with a young woman but wasn’t getting any positive responses. Ever willing to coach, Mark sent me copies of his online chat conversations with his intended young lady.
It was also during this discussion that he informed me he had been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and he willingly inducted me into a crash course to help me understand. It immediately explained why his online chat read as the ‘how not to win the woman of your dreams’.
Since Mark I have met many ‘Aspies’ and I love getting to know them and walking along side them as they navigate adolescence. As you will know it can be a treacherous enough journey without the added component of a socially challenging syndrome.
In future posts we will revisit this topic and I will introduce you to other young people I know but feel free to jump in straight away with your views, comments and experiences by mentioning them in the comment below. Have you read any good books on the subject? I will tell you of 3 that helped me a great deal in a few weeks.