Autism and Politics

Okay, here I go…

So, our son is a teenager, and he’s very interested in this election.

A few months ago he began to ask questions. I answered his questions to the best of my ability. When he asked me how I felt about things, I told him. I told him how I felt about one candidate verses the other.

He also had to watch the first debate (his history teacher made it an assignment). He wanted to watch all three of them anyway, so it was no problem that one of them became a school assignment.

How does my son do with all of this?

As most people know, the current political climate revolving around this presidential election is very heated, sensitive, and divisive.

And, before I go any further, yes, my son does seem to agree with my political viewpoint at this time. (He is still thirteen and just now forming these types of opinions. Someday, his opinions may change).

A few days after the first debate, my son had a dream about one of the candidates. He ended up describing it as a nightmare because it featured the candidate that I am opposed to. He even brought up the dream at a social meeting with other kids on the autism spectrum.

What else does my son do?

He does talk to me and his father about the upcoming presidential election.

However, we have asked him to keep these conversation private. We have explained how sensitive some people are over this election. As a thirteen-year-old, we were happy that he has an interest and is learning about the issues and beginning to form his own opinions.

But, we stressed that, to be on the safe side, only discuss politics with us.

Did it work?

No, because he’s thirteen.

I walked into the classroom yesterday afternoon to pick him up and he was in mid-discussion with a peer. He was talking about one candidate, and the peer was talking about the other.

It was a bit cute because they were both doing it as they were playing a game on the Wii. But, they were definitely taking opposing sides.

When we got to the car, I reminded him of our warning.

He said he had forgotten, and would try to remember in the future.

What am I trying to do here?

What I often try to do, lesson opportunities in which my son could get hurt. I try to help my son to avoid getting in the middle of something.

Of course, it usually has to do with bullying. And, I’m not convinced that any peer would really act out over politics.

But, you don’t know, do you? We like to err on the side of caution.

What else are we doing?

Taking him with me when I vote. I have never done this before, but I feel now is the time. We will go early and I’ll show him where I sign in, get my ballot, and go into the machine.

I don’t know if they’ll let him in the booth with me, but I hope they do.

I’d like to show him an actual ballot and the style that we have in this area.

It’s a process, this political thing. It’s knowing facts, seeing people for what you think they are, it’s forming an opinion, listening to those around you who you trust, and voting your conscious.

HOWEVER, IT IS ABOUT VOTING.

SO VOTE!

 

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