Our grandson Ben was diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome, a high performing function of Autism, when he was nine years old. My wife and I noticed that when Ben was only three, four and five years old he became easily frustrated because he did not know how to use words. For example he would stand by a door he could not open and whine and cry until someone noticed what he wanted. We began to say the sentence he needed to say and ask him to repeat it. After he would repeat it correctly, then we would open the door or do whatever he wanted.

We, his family members, spent a great deal of time teaching him to verbalize rather than whine and cry. We even put up a sign which read “No whining zone.”

Around this same time frame, we began to notice how sensitive he was to loud noises. His mom and dad lived near an Air Force Base and when a plane would fly over he would cover his ears.

It was also during this time that his eating became somewhat of a problem. He would eat cold cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and little else. Once my wife Sue insisted he try a bite of scrambled egg and he vomited. She did not try that again. Ben would not eat spaghetti or any form of pasta. We finally realized that his sense of taste and texture were affected the same as his sense of hearing. I believe the Autism literature covers the fact that many Asperger children (and perhaps adults) have issues with the senses of hearing, feeling, touching and tasting.

Ben was still undiagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome when we observed these peculiarities .. They were just some of the behaviors he exhibited that we did not understand at the time.

When Ben started to preschool he had no idea the correct way to hold a crayon or a pencil. He would hold the very top of the pencil by the eraser end and try to write. Most children seem to know how to hold a cray or pencil by observing a parent or sibling holding it the correct way. We now know why he did not know how to do such a seemingly simple thing. Autistic or Asperger children are totally focused on self. They do not seem to notice things going on around them as normal children do.

Ben was obsessed with tiny things. When he started kindergarten, the teacher did not want the children to bring toys from home. Ben always had a tiny car in his pocket wherever he went. His mother began to '' frisk 'him every morning before school. One particular day after she had removed the toy from his pocket, she noticed that during the day he had broken his pencil into two pieces. Then he had something little to hold on to. We did not understand this behavior at all at the time, but since have learned the tiny toys cave has a sense of security much like Linus and his blanket in the cartoon strip.