October 28, 2007

Still Distracted

I'm still thinking about the book I read by the person with Asperger's. He says he sees numbers and letters in color. When I read that, I thought, Doesn't everyone? A is yellow, B is orangish, C is yellow, D is a darker color, E is red, F is brown, G is green... at least, that's how they are for me.

Anyway, these aspects of who I am helps me understand my oldest son, who shares many of these same traits. One of the big things for him is routine and knowing what's going to happen in the future. I myself liked to know these things as a kid. I did NOT like surprises. In the car, I wanted a map, I wanted to know what our destination was, and what time we'd get there. It wasn't until I was older, in high school, that I could get into the car of someone I trust (like my parents!) and just "go with the flow," and see where they were taking me. It was a little scary, but eventually, I realized that it could also be fun and exciting, like taking a ride on a roller coaster.

Ethan is the same way. Even when he was very little, I'd draw a map for him, something really simple, like on Dora the Explorer. ("Lake ... mountain ... Grandpa's house!") He now wants to know exactly what day we will be moving, and is frustrated that I can't tell him that yet. And when plans change, he has a hard time handling that. If you tell Ethan that you'll play a game with him or watch a movie in a half hour, you better keep your promise to him, or he'll be devastated. The change is almost too much for him to cope with.

At times my wife and I have wondered if there is something diagnosable in Ethan (other than his type-1 diabetes, that is.) We tried testing him for ADHD, but haven't been able to get any really conclusive results. He's been on medication for anxiety, though I doubt that it does much. And yet, he's very smart, has friends, and is very caring and sensitive. Perhaps the best thing for us, then, is to just try to understand him as a person, and understand the way he views and interprets and interacts with the world around him. It's not exactly the same way as everyone else. And that's OK. I should know.

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