Posts Tagged ‘Tetris’


Two years ago, we drove to Montreal, my wife and two kids and I, My oldest son, Alex, had turned 18, and thus required a re-assessment for his autism. The government needs to be reassured when someone who was born with autism that at 18 they still have it…as if it had magically disappeared through some strange twist of fate. It’s kind of a slap in the face, really. But it’s necessary. And so we set off to see one of the most esteemed psychologists in the field, a person we hold in high regard, as my wife has met her and had come to know her very well through various conferences and such. To be able to have an assessment done by her is an honour indeed.

There was however a second reason we were seeing her. My wife and I had been married for 19 years by this time, and had been together for 23 years. We had been through a lot together. We had raised not only a fine young man with autism, but another son who is equally awesome. We have a business together, and have survived many different things. Anne is a great teacher, having achieved accolades doing whatever she put her energy into….which happened to be many different jobs. She had a private music school, ran two different music programs at two different high schools, ran a class for children with behavior difficulties, even was the resource person for autism for the entire school board, to name a few. Intertwined throughout all this, however, was a question on our minds, the answer to which might put to rest many other questions, and likely raise many more.

You see, at this point in our lives, my wife Anne had come to realize that she likely had Aspergers. After raising a kid with autism, and working with so many others, she saw their similarities I their traits, and saw in them many of the same behaviours she had had as a child. Could it be that she had it as well? After all this time, could this be the answer to why she was so ‘quirky’?

Well, it didn’t take long to establish that, indeed, Anne had Aspergers. Our psychologist confirmed this, going through the same battery of tests that any other person she treated went through. But what did this mean, exactly? At 41 years old, wasn’t this a little late? To know earlier might have been better….perhaps. The times have changed, so we’ll never really know.

I’m not here to tell you all about Asperger’s, or autism. I want you to know a little bit about what it’s like to live with an Aspie. As a supposed ‘neurotypical’ (still in dispute), this for me has been a little like living in a live game of Tetris, trying my best to fit the pieces into the puzzle of my life as quickly and efficiently as possible, hoping that they all will fit. Like they say, it ain’t easy. Of course, it sure isn’t easy for Anne either. Having so many different angles to look at and navigate through a world that is designed for neurotypical people, and to keep it so together, is amazing.

After all these years of confusion, this particular moment was a game changer….finally, we had an answer. It was lie the world had been out of focus, and the lens was suddenly brought into focus. Why were we so different? This provided a salve to the wounds of our souls. It allowed us to heal far more than any therapy could ever provide. We both felt a sense of relief, to be honest. Having been around one person with autism for 20 years, I instinctively knew many of the tricks to deal with my Aspie…complex, intelligent and rational in her own ways, but so different from mine. Relief comes in understanding. Giving each other the space required to come to grips with things on a daily basis was also key. And so, we now have ‘Marriage 2.0’ on the go.

People often wonder why she changes jobs so often. Many think she is not satisfied. Not so. It is a very typical pattern amongst women with Asperger’s. Most are highly intelligent, and many are professionals driven to exceed what is expected of them. Anne is very much a perfectionist, and also craves championing the underdog. Combining her knowledge of autism as a parent, a teacher, and as one who has it herself is just a natural progression in her evolution. And as jobs present themselves to her along her life path, they not only provide her with relief from stagnation, but allow her to challenge her knowledge and add to it. And now, I understand this. Without her official diagnosis, and consequent analysis of what makes her ‘tick’, God only knows what would have happened.

I have been saying for years that the best thing that happened to us as a couple was to have our child with autism. Because of him, we are better people, more patient and understanding of anybody with special needs or requirements, and much more tolerant in general. But finding out that the love of my life also has Asperger’s has been even more life-changing. It has been humbling for sure…but also the absolute most awesome thing in my life. My youngest son and I  get to share my life with not one but TWO individuals on the ASD spectrum. How’s that for amazing?!?!