Saturday, June 9, 2012

So I'm finally here....

Everyone keeps telling me how I should write my story.  I guess mostly because I have such a great story and so much great advice to give.  I also see it like it is and am not afraid to say it.  Tell me it can't be done, then watch me prove you wrong!  I tend to get very upset by the ignorance surrounding this disability and that has fueled some to prod me into writing.  So, here I am.

To me, my child is typical.  To everyone else, he has Autism.  It's a label they place.  He's just a child.  Really.  He is high functioning and mildly Autistic.  We are currently in a stage of regression where some of his adapted learned behaviors have been forgotten and we need to reteach.  Anyone with a child on the spectrum knows how common this is and what a challenge it can be.  My son for the most part throws a lot of the common misconceptions/stereotypes about Autistics out the window.  For example, he is incredibly loving and affectionate!  Just because you saw Rainman does NOT mean you know Autistics.  You saw one person on the SPECTRUM.  Trust me, every child or adult on the spectrum is in a different place.  Kind of like snowflakes really, no two are exactly the same.

Like previously stated, he is high functioning.  What does that mean? Well, he can communicate, take care of himself, and is mainstreamed most of the time at school.  (By the way, he's currently 9).  Like all Autistics he has those little things that he excels in, for him it's the computer.  He was doing things on the computer when he was 4 that I didn't know you could do!  He loves video games as much as the next kid and is very active.  In his case he shows high potential for being able to overcome his Autism symptoms and live on his own as an adult.  There is no cure, but we can help them learn to function in today's crazy society...

He was diagnosed PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified) when he was 3.  The psychologist then spent the next year trying to determine if he was Autistic or Asperger's due to his high functioning ability but his low social skills.  After that year passed they placed him into the Autism category due to low social functioning.  I was doing backflips.  I finally had a place to start!  I knew what I was up against!  (The whole grieving and denial thing is for wimps!)

I have come to appreciate many things that so many parents take for granted.  My son was semi-verbal until he was 4 1/2.  What that means is that he would make noise, read words, and recite movies, but he couldn't actually talk.  There were no conversations.  There were no calls for "mom".  There were no "I love yous".  They didn't exist.  Every milestone in life gets celebrated like a high school graduation.  You are just so happy to have finally achieved the goal!  And yes, I do remember every location, situation, feeling, air temperature, etc of every one of those milestones.  The first time I heard "mom".  Our first conversation. And the first "I love you".

Sure, he's a lot of work (aren't all kids?) but I wouldn't change him for anything.  He keeps me on my toes.  He's my little comedian and life cannot possibly be dull with him around!  I take joy in every day we spend here.  Sure it isn't easy, but God decided he needed to place another Autistic child on this planet, and I think He sure hit it on the nail when He gave him to me.

Until next time.

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