Today my 8 year old gets his yellow belt in karate! Anyone that knows him knows this is a big deal. To find something he likes, away from the computer and to watch him excel makes me want to jump up and down and cry at the same time.

I won’t use his real name, for the sake of blogosphere I will call him “Steve” after Minecraft “Steve”, (I’m sure he would appreciate this). “Steve” was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD and Dyspraxia this past September. We always new he was great and different, but we just figured he was unique. But when the meltdowns became larger than life, or so he thought, and he started having trouble fitting in a school and his anxieties plagued him more that any parent ever wishes they would, especially for an 8 year old boy, we knew it was time to have him evaluated, for something. When we learned we were not surprised but at the same time, who wants to label their son. Who wants to take them to have them probed and questioned and made feel like something was wrong. I tried to keep it from him. “Oh every kid goes to a developmental pediatrician at one time or another” or “Oh most kids see a therapist” but when we started to have honest discussions on how he felt different. I knew it was better to tell him than to make him feel like something was wrong. After all, having a two way discussion about anything with “Steve” was hard enough, if it weren’t about this obsessions, if he was opening up to me it was time I was honest with him.

So one day during our discussion I sat him down and explained about Asperger’s and what it meant and how that applies to him.
And he sat and he thought and then he said, “What did you call it again?”
“Asperger’s”, I said.
“What?” he shouted with a smile. “You said Ass!”
“What?” I said.
“You said Ass! Mommy said Ass!” and then he got up and walked away and that was that.

And that was that.

The end.

No revelations. No questions. No ah-huh moments. Well at least not for him.

Autism doesn’t define our son. Autism does not define our sons… (another post:))

“Steve” is funny and talkative. He takes things very literally. For instance my parents live in North Wales, a town in Pa and he always wonders why it is called North Wales, when there are no Whales?! He came out of a test one day, part of his evaluation testing and I said, “You must have worked hard! I’m sure your brain is fried”. He shouted, “What? I can’t fry my brain! How would I get it outside of my body!”

True. This is very true.

“Steve” may not always look people in the face when they are talking or even not recognize them, but he remembers and notices everything. He has these amazing “passions” about certain topics to the point he becomes a total expert. Once it was the Titanic. He know everything about the Titanic there was to know, he even created models of the titanic resembling the ship before and after it crashed. And now it’s Transformers. “Steve” has meltdowns and believes everything I say and takes all my jokes to heart. He has trouble following social rules, talks loud when anxious and hates transitions. He also remembers everything about everything, especially the small details. He can recall everything I have said, even those promises you want to forget.

Every morning when I get up, I remember, “Steve” only eats pancakes for breakfast. I remember to prepare him for the day, in order to eliminate surprises.
I also remember to kiss him, tickle him and give him big hugs, even though he may squirm underneath. And I tell him my bad jokes and try to get inside his head, which is like an armored truck.
“Steve” is my wonderful, smart,beautiful son, who happens to have Autism.

Just like our other son. We’ve been blessed not once, but twice…..


Smiling through the Chaos

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way.  The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain.  The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”
―     Debra Ginsberg

And like me, my children’s emotions are so deep and sharp they leave them raw and exposed and in pain. Their heart beats on the outside. Something little to someone else is at the time, the worse thing that ever happened to them. Something happy is at the time the happiest moment and a memory is like reliving a moment. My husband and I didn’t plan for this piece to our puzzle. At times we welcome it, at times we don’t understand it and at times we absolutely despise it and the challenges our children face. The challenges some people may never understand and some people don’t want to understand. But we know it’s brought us the most amazing, funny, smart interesting, loving children we could ask for. On a daily basis our life is a roller coaster they show us more laughter, love, craziness, sorrow, pain and confusion then we could experience in a lifetime. But through it all we are smiling through the chaos, this chaos called Autism.puzzle