Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Signs that We Missed

I just had a conversation with another friend who has a child on the Spectrum. We were talking about the signs that we missed with our boys. (Bless her heart, she has been such a incredible outlet for me, I am blessed to have her as a friend)

I guess the first one was that as a infant, my boy did not like to be cuddled. Forget trying to swaddle him, that always resulted in screaming and crying. He was more content to lay on a blanket in the middle of the room and just look around. I assumed he was just a curious baby.

Avoiding eye contact, this has been going on for as long as I can remember. I figured my child was just shy.

His fixation on subjects, for the past three years it has been sharks. This is not just a interest but a obsession. In fact he could probably tell you every fact about any kind of shark.

His ability to memorize things in incredible time. He can look at his spelling test words once and he has them memorized. We make him practice them still and I can see the boredom in him.

He is incredibly intelligent but struggles to voice it, he can write it but struggles deeply with conveying information verbally.

Emotionally he is not aware when he has been what society considers "rude" or inconsiderate. It does not occur to him that he is acting out of the socially accepted norm. He says things that we are all thinking but hold back from saying as to not offend anyone. Basically my boy has no filter.

Plans, I started thinking about this last night. During the week it seems that he does pretty well, he knows the plan. But on weekends when we take a unplanned trip to Colorado his behavior is horrible. I now understand that children with Aspergers and the majority of children on the Spectrum have a hard time doing things that are not planned or in their normal routine. This is something that we will be working on. I get that we cannot just get in the car on a whim anymore. Everything in our life must be planned and he needs to be aware so that we do not increase his anxiety.

I have heard so many times that he seems "normal" (hate that word) when he is around other kids. I hear this from his school as well. What I have learned is that this is one of the biggest irritation for parents of a child with Aspergers. It is extremely common for a child to not show any of the signs of Aspergers at school. I think this goes back to the whole planning and routine.

Loud noises, bright lights, textures. This one is also very common with children with Aspergers, many children who have Aspergers also have Sensory Processing Disorder which our boy was diagnosed with a little over a year ago. He does not like loud noises, bright lights, and many textures of food. The psychiatrist said most parents shoot for all the food groups in a day, we should be happy if we meet the four food groups in a week. Cue, multi-vitamin.

Routines, like plans are crucial for our son. First thing in the morning he has to change out of his PJ's. He doesn't even come upstairs until he is dressed. I have asked him to try and stay in his jammies until after breakfast but he cannot do it. We will work on it.

Boys will be boys, well not mine. My son does not like rough play at all. He does not like other children touching him at all. He is more content to find a friend and sit next to them and read. He does not know how to respond to a child that is trying to have any kind of physical contact.

These are just a few of the signs that we have notice in our boy. As you can see he just a different child, but I love him with all my heart.

I wanted to add something that has given me so much hope and strength. 

              "I am going to put out in the universe--- One day Jer will be the poster child for this condition. He will speak to other children, parents and families about his experiences. He will move people with his words and his empathy for those with "unseen" conditions will carry him farther than any doctor, psychiatrist, or specialist ever imagined. He will do great things and this will never be a crutch, this is what makes him even more special to us and to our world." Angie-my sister

I truly believe this in my heart, in fact every time I read it my eyes tear up. The above statement is true. It means so much to have the support that we do. My children are incredibly blessed to have such wonderful people in their lives.  

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