"A Little Bit of Autism"
"A Little Bit of Autism"
A newsletter about NurturingYourAsperger'sChild, an ebook by Phyllis Wheeler
My daughter Shannon (not her real name) was born in 1987, just six years after Dr. Lorna Wing had written an academic paper dusting off the 1940s work of Hans Asperger and presenting it again to the academic world. Those six years weren't long enough for the doctors in Shannon's world to have learned about it. In fact,she appeared normal in every way until she was about four yearsold. Then she started avoiding eye contact, and withdrew into her own world much of the time.
I have a brother who has classic autism--he did not speak until he was five years old. So Shannon's behavior at age four looked sort of autistic to me. I went to her doctor and said, "I think she has a little bit of autism." The doctor laughed.
"She's not sitting in the corner rocking.She's not autistic," said the doctor. I agreed. We forgot about it for a while.
But then in kindergarten, the speech pathologist earmarked her for learning disability evaluation, based on her poor coordination. This was when my little bubble burst, the bubble that contains that mental image of my child, the perfect child. I had to grieve for the loss of that perfect child. Perhaps you have had to do that too. Then we had to deal with the child that we had,not the one that we thought we had.
She could handle people one at a time, but not in groups. She could speak about what was going on in her world, but she didn't have the patience or the desire to listen about someone else's world. The give-and-take of a group conversation was more than she could take in. She would simply withdraw during school recess, when the other girls in her class would sit in a circle and talk or play jacks. She would sit down far away from them on the ground and watch ants. In first grade, she wasn't learning to read. When she started Ritalin in second grade, she learned to read in three months. But math was a problem for her. She just could not remember those facts.
Over the next five years, we and others puzzled over her diagnosis: ADD, difficulty socializing,learning disabilities particularly in math and handwriting. Finally we realized she really was "a little bit autistic." She has Asperger's Syndrome. She was 12 years old. It was 1999, before Asperger's had become a familiar term to many families in America. A year later, I began to homeschool her. She asked to, because of bullying.
Now, Shannon is on the threshhold of adulthood. She works two days a week as a theater usher, and goes to the local junior college full-time. She wants to study biology, following up with her life-long fascination with odd facts about animals. She has learned tol ook people in the eye; she struggles with math, which is still hard for her; she is making the transition from homeschool to regular school. She doesn't hang around with friends, like other girls her age. In a conversation, she does more talking than listening.But she is happy.
We had triplet boys five years younger than Shannon. One of them, Mike, also has Asperger's. Mike is at puberty now, and has been harder to handleall along. I'll talk about him more in later newsletters.
Find out lots more in my book, Nurturing Your Asperger's Child! Just go to www.NurturingYourAspergersChild.com !
P.S. Acesta e un e-mail pe care eu il primesc gratuit pentru ca m-am abonat la revista distintei doamne... o sa incerc sa imi iau si cartea.