Monday, March 8, 2010

Am I Violating His Privacy?

Obviously, I haven't been posting a lot lately. In part because I've been writing in my journal more. In part because I haven't been sure about going public with the dominant fact of our family life. It's been so important to me that blogging not violate the kids' right to privacy. Quoting something funny is one thing. Revealing their problems to the world without their permission is another.

I've talked with Jason about it & he thought that we'd eventually have to say something. So here it is: Graham has autism.

He was first evaluated about 7 months ago & the Complex Communications Disorders Team didn't feel like they could give him a label. Some of his behaviors match autism profiles, but his advanced vocabulary & his ability to focus on certain types of activities didn't. It's not unheard of for gifted children to be misdiagnosed as autistic & I so hoped that was the case. But, after six months of observing him in school & at home, they felt they could stick a label on him and it wasn't the one I was hoping for.

Since then, I've been looking at Graham's babyhood with new eyes. Realizing that the reason he couldn't sleep in crib was probably related to the autism. That what I used to think of as his "sympathetic crying" -- he'd tear up when Cami cried -- was probably because he was over-stimulated by the noise. Recognizing that he needs to put things in his mouth to really experience them -- and realizing that he was much calmer when he still used a pacifier, because the paci met his needs for oral stimulation (that sounds dirty -- sorry).

Last summer, just before he turned four, he threw a fit in the park because he wanted on some playground equipment & couldn't hop on. A grandmother, thinking she was being sympathetic, asked if he was two. When I told her he was almost four, she commented, "Some children just need to learn who their master is."

I didn't say, "My son is a child, not a dog. He doesn't have a master, " although I have thought that for a long time. I've always tried to accept my children for the people that they are, rather than they people I think they ought to be. And having the diagnosis, growing in my awareness of what Graham's needs are in the context of his diagnosis, is helping me see how to show others what a really cool little boy that Graham is.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oh, that's where they are.

Graham has been a bit loud the last few days. Most of his verbal communications have been happening at shouting decibels. So, yesterday I asked him, "Where are your manners? I think you've lost them."

Still shouting, "I haven't lost them. I know where they are. They are OUTSIDE!"