Monday, March 4, 2013

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

When I share on my blog or on my FaceBook pages, 9 times out of 10 it's going to be about the silly &/or naughty thing that my children do.  As you know, the Girl is mouthy with her Momma & the rest of her family, Little Boy is ornery & wants everything that the older children have, & the Boy is equally as sassy as his sister.  As of late, you might think that when I write about the Boy it's all about Aspergers; of course there is so much more to this child.  The reason it may seem this way is because this diagnosis is still new to us, & we are learning so much about it (& him too).  I find that by sharing with you, I have a release.  I have also found several other Spectrum Parents via FaceBook who are going through many of the same things we are going through in our house.  It's always refreshing to know that others are dealing with some of the same issues.  It's always a nice feeling when you know that there is a wonderful support system, & that you are not alone.

My husband & I have been discussing whether or not we should share the Boy's diagnosis with him.  We know that he deserves to know why things are different for him: why he has a hard time with schoolwork, why he has meltdowns, why he gets overloaded with information, & why certain fabrics bug the crap out of him, to name a few.  We also know that this wonderful boy of ours is a manipulator; if we tell him the word "Aspergers", he will use it as an excuse to not do things when they get difficult.  We've decided to let him know that his brain processes information differently, & this is why he visits Dr. L (his psychologist) every 2 weeks, this is why he has things set a little differently in his classroom, that we want him to be comfortable in his environment so that he can succeed in every way possible.

Sometimes sitting down with him, I'm not sure if he's listening, so we will sometimes discuss things at mealtime, then the kids can absorb the information & we can revisit the topic later.  I chose to do that this morning, thinking that the Girl & Little Boy need to be a part of the conversation as well.

Rather than explain that his brain is different, I thought I'd approach the subject by talking about a "what if" scenario with them.  What if I had a pet zebra, but the former owner gave me a book about taking care of a whale?  Here's the conversation that followed:

**The Boy:  Mom, that wouldn't happen & you know it.  Zebras are not domesticated animals.  (yes, that's his 'concrete & real' coming through).
**Me:  Let's just pretend, okay?  What if someone gave us a pet zebra, but gave us an owners manual for a whale?  How would we know what to feed it, how to give it proper shelter, what would we do do comfort it if it was in pain, how would we give it a bath, & what kind of medical treatment might it need if it got hurt or sick?
**The Boy:  We could call the people who use to own it.
**Me:  We couldn't reach them by phone.

**The Boy: Send them a text or an email & tell them to get you the right owner's manual.
**Me:  They don't have email or texting on their phone.  What are we going to do?
**The Boy: We could go to the library & check out a book on taking care of zebras.
**Me: What if it was a holiday & the library was closed?
**The Boy:  I know, we could look it up on the Internet!
**Me:  What if our Internet was down?
**The Boy:  How about if we call Dr. Linda? (Dr. Linda is our dog's vet)

**Me:  What if we couldn't reach her?
**The Boy:  I guess we would have to love it & care for it the best we can until we got the right owner's manual or some other kind of information that would work for our zebra.  Can I go wash up & brush my teeth now?"

This my friends, is a discussion that we will revisit later.  For now I will take my son's advice: I will love all three of my little zebras (my Aspie & my 'neurotypicals'), and I will care for them as best I can....

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if I'd tell my kids if they had Aspergers?

    It's a hard call. I don't know if I would, or not.

    My parents were open with my oldest sister at birth about being adopted. I was mean and said, "You're not part of this family!" when we were kids - twice. That was awful! She would use the, "Poor me I was adopted" act sometimes to. It would have crushed her to find out later on. She totally got me back for what I said. She was a brat of a teen. She used to trade my clothes with her friends' clothes. She did many more things.

    Life is so complicated.