What Susan Said

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Easter 2013. I don’t have a Halloween pic handy. Some boys got guns and toys, but others were quite content with brushes and a big salad fork.

I met a woman at the gas station today. I think her name was Susan, but I’m absolutely awful with names. Every time someone introduces herself to me, all I hear is “Hello! My name is BLAH.”

I struck up a conversation with this mad scientist (HAPPY HALLOWEEN!) about autism, as she had the “puzzle ribbon” autism awareness ribbon on the back of her SUV.

She said a few things that really stuck with me. Continue reading

Maybe I’m autistic!

With autism surging into national prominence with various facebook campaigns, the barrage of radio ads from Autism Speaks, and the popularity surge of autism awareness month (April if you’re wondering), many concerned parents have chased down MCHAT tests at the first sign of flappiness or language delay or sleep disorders. Jeez, there’s even an OkCupid “broad autism phenotype questionnaire” to see if you might carry the autism gene or something. Don’t bother filling it out unless you want to register for the site to see your results. No surprise as new genetic evidence comes out linking autism genetics, and autism heritability. (There is no single, Mendelian autism gene. The genetic link is an incredibly complicated one, and far from fully understood.) Now more than ever, everyone’s got a little autism on the brain.

Dmitry is sick. Mommy+brush is the prescription.

Dmitry is sick. Mommy+brush is the prescription.

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Stuff Dmitry Likes

Autistic children tend to develop deep, narrow, often-unusual interests. Dmitry breaks several autism stereotypes and tendencies, but this one he grasps firmly and holds high in his strong little hands for all to see.

  • Musical toys. If it has buttons to push with lots of flashes, so much the better.
  • Spinnies of any kind. If he’s bored enough he’ll even spin a pencil on the floor. Windmills, toy car wheels, his sit-and-spin activity toy, toy fans, real fans, actual vehicle wheels (even if he can’t make them spin) and so on. If there is a spinnie in your house, he WILL find it and he WILL spin it. Continue reading

What I Would Change About My Son

A few years ago Autism Daddy shook things up a little with article calling “BULLSH**” on parents who say of their autistic child “I wouldn’t change him for the world!” Please read through some of the comments for full impact. He makes a great point: of course you’d change him. It’s why you tried the diets, why you tried vitamin supplements, why you get him into as much therapy as he can reasonably handle, and why you have tried every method of discipline possible to try to make him more normal. Because normal’s definitely easier, and it’s what you want.  You’d give almost any amount of money to reduce his difficult autistic traits or make them go away entirely.

I land very hard on both sides of this issue. Let me explain. Continue reading

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I recently described Dmitry as non-verbal, but that’s imprecise. He certainly verbalizes a lot. He loves the sound of his own voice.

He definitely favors vowels, especially the OOOOO sound and AAAAA sounds. He can produce a deafening AH AH AH AH AH sound that rivals the screech of a lorikeet being sucked into a jet engine at cruising speed.

I don’t really call this “his own language”, because it isn’t. Language is a series of sounds meant to convey an unambiguous message, whereas Dmitry’s sounds are seemingly random, loud, unprovoked, and usually solitary (meaning he does it alone, away from his therapists or parents.) But it’s gotten more… variegated in pitch, tone, and complexity. They’re “stims”, but he’s learning from them.

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