There are no real words that can describe the sound Scout makes when he is super-excited or really concentrating on something. Think about holding your breath and then letting a sound out a little bit at a time–that is probably the closest I can get to describing it to you. If you are looking at Scout at the time, though, you will definitely see The Twinkle.
I would imagine many Aspies have some weird little mannerism of their own, and The Twinkle is Scout’s. He puts his hands right under his nose and wiggles his fingers around. I don’t even remember exactly when he first started doing this, but I do know he was quite young. A little neighbor girl actually gave it it’s name. When they were both around four or so, she asked us in that bold childlike way, “Why does he twinkle like that?” Coreman and I both thought it was the perfect thing to call it, so it stuck. Scout Says:
It feels like it helps my imagination and lets me imagine things more easily.
It’s one of those things that as a young child and as MY child, it is actually quite cute. Many people have commented on how adorable they think it is. He himself tells us it’s something he does when he’s ‘using his imagination’. It has become as much a part of Scout as his walk, the way he holds his pencil or the way he laughs. The only time I’m really aware of it now is when he’s having a particularly intense one (I will often tell him he looks like he will Twinkle right out of the room!) or we are out in public. Then I am painfully aware of it. I wonder who is watching him, and if they are wondering what the heck is wrong with that kid. It is adorable now, but will it be so adorable when Scout is a teenager? The teenage years are hard enough without some quirky mannerism that makes you stand out so strangely when you’re just trying to blend in. Luckily, he himself is not ashamed of it at all, at least not at this point. He’s definitely aware he’s doing it–and sometimes I’ll see him bringing it down into his lap to make it not quite as noticeable–but I’m starting to think that he will be doing this, at least in some form, for the rest of his life.
That thought does scare me a little, I have to admit. We are very lucky in the fact that Scout’s Asperger’s is very ‘mild’, for lack of a better word. Everyone we tell is truly surprised by the news when they find out, saying they never would have guessed. Many of the landmark Aspie traits are not even there, or if they are it’s very subtle. He has great eye contact, he’s pretty engaging, he can deal with changes (at least outwardly!) quite well. But if anything will give it away, The Twinkle will. Will The Twinkle keep him from making friends because so many kids will think it’s so weird? Will it keep him from getting or keeping a professional job? Having a wife? It sounds extreme, but these are the thoughts that go through my head when I see it. So far he has managed to make a few friends that aren’t scared away by it, so that’s good! But he’s still only nine…
What about you, dear friends who have joined me and happen to have an Aspie person in their lives? Have you witnessed The Twinkle? Honestly I have yet to witness another kid do this. I did have a friend tell me that she knew an adult woman who did the exact same thing! If not, what sort of quirky Aspie thing does your loved one do? Did you give it a name?