Moving on up

On the whole, we’ve been unimpressed with the workers from the wraparound agency we’ve had for Captain Oblivious and Little Miss this summer. Their main function is, apparently, to babysit them while they’re spending time with “normal” kids so that they don’t miss an opportunity to correct a social misstep. They do that. But we haven’t heard much else.

However, the Captain’s mobile therapist made a comment the other that that really put my mind to thinking. He pointed out that when the Captain is with peers, he doesn’t have much in common to discuss with them. Even television, his fixation, is inadequate, because what he watches are the Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network cartoons, for the most part, and Disney movies.

I pointed out we’re not a big TV household in general. I’d bet the adults watch maybe 10 hours a week, and half of that is morning and evening news/weather. We don’t watch American Idol or any of its clones, no Big Brother, not much of anything unless it’s really something we want to see. We don’t watch Hannah Montana or what’s the new thing over at Disney Channel? Something about a camp.

We’re aware we may be narrowing their focus by this, and so we’ve all watched the Super Bowl games, especially when the local favorite Steelers were playing, so the boys would have something to talk about the next day. Ditto the Nickelodeon Kid’s Awards. They also see movies in the theater that are PG-rated. We hate to let them see kung-fu type violence because then that’s what we see for the next week at home, particularly around the last few glass objects we have. But other things. And they read. And read.

The mobile therapist says maybe we should let him watch more tv, since it is something he could at least discuss with his classmates.

So I ask the Captain at dinner the other night, what shows the kids in sixth and seventh grade at his camp watch.

South Park,” he says. “Family Guy…and American Dad.

The Cabana Boy and I just gave each other a look. We’ve seen at least two of these programs, and frankly, I agree with the South Park creators when they put on their disclaimer “This show… should not be watched by anyone.” (Although the Christmas eppy was awfully funny.)

But, wow. Is that really the way to bring him into the junior high world? Let him watch these foul-mouthed little cartoon characters? It’s been ten years since I had a seventh grader in the house, and the world has changed a lot. What media is available to show an awkward, emotionally-immature Aspie boy the way to become a fine young man? Surely not Eric Cartman. Anyone have other suggestions?


9 thoughts on “Moving on up

  1. Not an easy decision by any manner of means. Mine don’t watch much television , but it’s more difficult as they get older. We have given in with Spongebob.

    On the whole they’re much more into Gameboys and such and they do act as a great social introduction to other typically developing kids. Just a thought.
    Best wishes

    SpongeBob. Ugh.
    We’ve stayed away from all the video games because all the boys are so ADD/focused on that kind of thing, I’m afraid they’d never stop. Of course the Captain has come home with the comment from peers that we must be poor because I haven’t bought him a Gameboy. *sigh* He is very fascinated with others’ gadgets, however. Perhaps one of his own isn’t a horrendously bad idea.

  2. South Park and Family Guy are funny, but adult shows. Junior High age? I watched The Simpson’s with mine – fabulous writing, and there was more decency and morality buried in there than anyone would suspect… it became a family thing for all four of us. Still is…

    What about “Myth Busters”? Great show! Pop culture meets critical thinking – and fun experiments proving “fact or fiction”? I know it’s popular among “nerd kids” (ahem, like me!).

    We do see the How Things Work series from time to time…

  3. You should make home videos- let them watch themselves. Maybe that’ll change a few behaviors, or not. It’ll keep them occupied for hours because it is, after all, all about them.


  4. I really dislike shows such as Family Guy and Southpark where the humour seems to be about hurting others (I had the same complaint about Seinfeld).

    I like the idea of MythBusters, that is a great show.

    My girls used to watch the WWE with us (before our boycott due to their association with Jenny McCarthy), but we were really lucky that neither of the girls had any interest in copying the wrestling moves. It was a good way to show Heidi good Vs Bad behaviour as the bad guys were clearly bad and the good guys very good.

    Not sure what my girls will watch once they get past the Dora The Explorer / Barbie age group. I’m just glad they prefer the Barbie movies to Disney Princess – at least Barbie is independent and doesn’t need a man to come and save her all the time.

  5. Have you thought about getting a WII? Sayer loves to play with his brother’s, especially WII Sports bowling and golf. Since you have to be somewhat active to use it kids can’t totally stim out.

    I don’t know how much conversation in would generate, but I know kids are into the WII. Also Mario cart games; whatever that is.

  6. Hello Babs,

    I strongly believe that Aspies and autistic children, rightly or wrongly, need to do much of the heavy lifting in fitting in with society, including their peers. I’m an Aspie myself.

    That said, I draw the line wrt TV. Your family is, IMHO, making the right choice wrt good TV programs. While it might be a good idea for your kids to branch out and find other things to do that enable them to talk with their peers, they shouldn’t watch trash TV to do that.

    (I watch very little TV myself, and I read voraciously.)

    Autistic and Aspie children should certainly cultivate their social skills, including conforming to some extent with various things they might find illogical or silly. They should also cultivate their own unique talents and interests, including reading, in order to find true friends. True friends are people who accept them for what they are and what they like.

    Keep up the good work. I’m sure your children are thankful, deep down where it counts, to have you as their mother.

    Jeff Deutsch

  7. I really hope that you don’t let what some therapist says change the way your family operates. I understand your children are “different” than other kids (more well-behaved at times, for sure), but from my perspective, television is NOT the answer.

    MY children do not have that much to talk about with their peers because their peers do little other than watch television. Mine don’t. The movies we watch are things like The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, etc. (I have girls.) They LOVE these movies and pick them any day over the things their friends watch. They try to talk to their friends about those things, and their friends don’t get it. (The friends usually watch more juvenile things. My girls are 4 and 6.)

    I have never really been a fan of television, and when in college was connected to a family with a 5-year-old. I saw how he acted after watching certain cartoons, and my not-so-into-TV self decided that kids don’t need television.

    Research is EVERYWHERE to support that children’s television should be very much limited.

    Reading? Let them read! It’s so much better for them. Your kids probably don’t have anything to discuss with their peers because their peers aren’t on as high a level as they are.

    Your children are so far ahead of so many “normal” kids that it’s astounding. Do what is right in your minds, not someone else’s.

  8. Thanks, all for your support. I like to think I’m doing well by keeping them out of the mainstream fare of junk food, sitting on their butts in front of the tube. We’ll keep you posted when school starts!

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