There are many books that discuss the nuances of Asperger’s and Autistic children, however, Asperger’s Love details the difficulties faced when the children grow up and begin to seek someone to share their lives with. It tells the story of Jack and Kirsten, a couple with Asperger’s, trying to understand and master romance and intimacy in their relationship. Written by Amy Harmon, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Times Correspondent, the book seeks to portray the difficulties young adults with Autism and Asperger’s face when forging their way in the world.
How do you get close to someone who has aversions or sensitivities to touch? How do you show that you don’t lack compassion when you have difficulties with expression or understanding social and facial cues? Often times in arguments we all say, “I’m not a mind reader!” How hard would it be if you didn’t even have the ability to read the subtle clues in your partner or read in-between the lines during conversation? Asperger’s and Autistic teens and adults face difficulties that are in many ways incomprehensible to us, but one thing is always universal no matter how different we all may seem…. we all seek love.
I have a lot of respect for the difficulties Jack and Kirsten face in Asperger’s Love as well as all the young people out there with developmental delays trying to understand where they fit in and if they will ever find someone to fit with them. My son is 4 and we’re currently working on expressions and feelings. He has delays in understanding many things that are quite natural for us. Just try to explain what happy is to someone without using any other adjectives. Since his current understanding of feelings comes from photos, if you aren’t smiling you are not happy. If your face doesn’t appear as though you are exclaiming tremendous joy, you are not excited and if you look bored (your hand on your chin and looking down) you should go to sleep. I once asked him if he was happy and he felt his face, smiled and said, “Yes!” He was making sure he had the ‘happy face’.
Reading Asperger’s Love is very heartwarming, especially for parents with children on the autistic spectrum. It warms your heart to read Jack’s words to Kristen, how they figure out how to comfort each other despite their difficulties, understand each other despite their “mindblindness” and how they show you love is possible for everyone.
I think one of the best things I walked away from with this book is the fact that in many ways Asperger’s individuals aren’t any different than anyone else when it comes to relationships. In many ways it would be a relief to not have to feel as though one should be a mind reader in a relationship or always having to read everyone’s social cues while out in the world (or even in the home). How would it be if we were all genuinely honest with each other, our feelings and straightforward with our thoughts and how our partners can be there for us without expecting them to always know everything inertly? It just makes you realize that we all have our nuances, we all have our difficulties in relationships and trying to build our lives with another person is not easy for anyone.
Asperger’s Love is a differently wired loved story and a very beautiful glimpse into the lives of two incredible people. It is not a book you want to miss.
You can pick it up the eBook on Amazon for $2.99.