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Friday, 9 December 2016

Minor but irritating Asperger traits #1: Magic tricks

For the last few weeks we’ve taken to having ‘Sunday night family time’ watching Britain’s Next Great Magician on TV. Everyone’s a winner. The kids love it, it’s actually, for the most part, quite entertaining and it requires far less effort at the end of a busy week than reading a bedtime story.

However, I do have one complaint: Ethan.

He either has to smugly claim that he knows how each trick is done (and thus take the magic out of magic trick for us all) or, if there’s a trick he can’t explain, he’ll rewind the programme, slow it right down (the wonders of modern technology for a person with Asperger’s) and carry out a detailed study. Needless to say, this is really annoying for everyone else watching the programme. I also find it sad (and infuriating) that he needs to know how everything works – fiercely practical always. Where’s the space for dreaming, wonder, make-believe? But anything he can’t explain, pin down to science and reason, seems to bother him. It’s part of him feeling in control of his world, I guess.

I think that being able to explain a magic trick, if only to himself, makes him feel good, self-assured, right. And being right boosts his self-esteem when so often in life and social situations, he is wrong.


The rest of us, weirdly, watch a magic show for the magic. So, this week, I’m keeping tight hold of the remote control!