I started this one last weekend.
Adrian was expecting to go to his grandparents house this week. I just called to see if we could visit and i found out that everyone is sick so no visit this weekend. Adrian immediately said he wanted to take two cans of soup over to his grandparents so that they can feel better.
According to everything I have ever read on Autism the basic common thought among professionals is that people with autism do not understand feelings or feel themselves.
I can tell you from experience as I am sure many parents can and will if given the chance that what so many professionals believe is simply not the case.
My son is full of emotions! He just does not express them as most of us do. He knows that mommy makes him soup when he is sick so that he can feel better. He used this example to show concern for his grandparents. He laughs when he is happy and flaps his hands. He whines when he does want to do something and he cries when he’s hurt. He also yells when he’s angry. He knows when I or someone in our house are angry or sad and he will tell us he’s sorry if he was the one who did something to upset someone. He is very honest about how he feels even if he can not find the exact words to express himself.
This might be the worst of the stereotypes for us. People often think that because Adrian has Autism they can say whatever they want and he will not care. I have heard people say well your son’s Autistic right? Does that mean he’s a genius, does that mean he can’t hear us, does that mean he can’t feel, does that mean he is selfish? Good God I want to say! He is Seven!!!! I ought to just walk away. But instead I try to inform others and let them now that Autism is a neurological disorder essential a difference in my sons brain and that we don’t quite now what will happen. Does any one know their future? I feel like saying! How to deter stupid questions 101 is a class someone should form!!
For now we will focus on teaching Adrian about feelings, trying not to take stupid questions personally, and doing our best to educate ourselves and others about Autism and Adrian. Hope for change, equality and acceptance is what gets me through. That and the fact that my child is amazing and I could not imagine him being any other way!!
Tonight while Adrian and I were reading a book at bedtime I started asking him what he thought first grade was going to be like. He has a difficult time with Wh” questions as every IEP he has ever had states. He said he was looking forward to school and playing the Dora The Explorer game in his teachers classroom. I explained to him that he may not always get to play the Dora The Explorer game and that he would need to take turns and share. Then I asked him how he will introduce himself to the other children? He said Hi! My name is Adrian. Then I reminded him what he would ask if he wanted to play with other children and he said would you like to play with me? I said yes that is correct! He loves to hear me say that!!! Then we left it at that.
We talk about this every so often. Adrian like other Autistic children has difficulty connecting with other children. Adults are fine. He will talk to an adult about anything which scare me seriously!!! With children though it is different. He does want to connect and talk to other children he just does not understand how to do so. He has connection problems with his sister too. He will talk to her, but it is strained and he does not ask her to do many things with him. He goes crazy for electronics. Give him a computer, an Ipod, a television, a wii and he is happy. He often talks about technology too. Ever time we have ever had to visit an emergency room he has been fascinated by all of the monitors and overhead lights and since age four has referred to them as technology. Where he learned the word I am not sure.
Tonight at dinner Adrian chose to use some delayed echolalia and his sister quoted him and then said mom that’s out of a book and then she named that book. I responded by telling her that most of the language Adrian uses is from things he hears. I don’t think that he realizes that he does it and that that is the way his brain functions. He picks up whatever speech he needs and uses it in everyday language. Last week I wanted him to pick up his toys and he quoted the first page of The Cat and The Hat Comes Back. It fit his situation and he knew it so he used it. I find him doing this a lot. Someone who did not know him well enough would probably never notice it though.
I am hoping that his knack for memorizing helps in school later on. Right now I am most worried about him being alone on a playground at recess without an aide and not wandering. He had an aide last year in Kindergarten, but since he did not wander at all towards the end of the year he will not have an aide this year. I can not help, but think that is a mistake. Maybe I am being too overprotective and need to let him try it though. I t just bothers me. He also has a problem with overfilling his mouth when he eats and has almost choked on several occasions. That kind of thing bothers me about school because this is his first year going all day and that in itself is a huge change. I suppose I will just have to wait and see what happens….