Noel is 8. He has language problems (difficulty in expressing what he wants to say) in addition to the communication and socialization problems associated with the Aspergers condition. Another aspect of Aspergers is the need to tell the truth no matter what the circumstances. He is unaware of how he might inadvertently hurt other people’s feelings.
When Noel completes work successfully he is rewarded, sometimes with a sticker and sometimes with a picture to colour. On one occasion Noel was given a fancy, coloured sticker but he refused it saying, “I don’t want that sticker.” He then walked over to another box of stickers, looked through a book and chose a very simple one which simply said, “Good work.”
On another occasion after finishing his work, Noel was given a blank piece of paper to draw a picture. He refused to draw. The classroom assistant sensed what the problem was and produced an outline picture of a mouse with some cheese. Immediately Noel began to colour. The assistant had remembered a time three weeks previously when Noel had coloured the same picture.
He had chosen the colours but later became agitated when he saw a cartoon of Tom and Jerry which had different colours to Noel’s picture. This time Noel’s picture was coloured exactly as the T.V. cartoon.
Luke Jackson, who appeared on television in July writes an article about his experiences at http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/columnists/luke/240903_index.shtml