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View Diary: The Atlantic Magazine is Looking for Essays About Autism Diagnosis. Here's What I Submitted (88 comments)

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  •  My son is diagnosed on the spectrum. (28+ / 0-)

    Always been a little rigid, a little overfocused, prone to hyperfocus and needing to be overtly taught social behaviors, picky about his food and the way his clothes feel. Blunt and would rather work on a computer than talk....

    And then I looked at myself....with my own rigidity and focuses and enthusiasms and my odd lack of emotional display and the way I had to learn social cues and graces, unable to tolerate labels and polyester and florescent lights, and the way that I'd rather read than talk.....

    And then I looked at my dad...whose closet is organized (by him) by color and use of the garments, who will not wear prints, who if left to himself would eat the same thing day in and day out, whose response to a trip is, "Why should I go there? I didn't leave anything there," is shockingly tactless and blunt and who prefers engines to people.....

    I think it's always been around. People just weren't getting diagnosed. I do know that when I realized my dad could probably get a diagnosis a lot of bitterness and hurt at his sheer oddness and disregard for me growing up went away. I still don't go over there for emotional support when I'm hurting, or praise when I'm doing something well. That's not what he's good at.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 09:11:13 PM PST

    •  My son is 3 (10+ / 0-)

      and sometimes I wonder.  Very good speech and counting but Hyper picky eater, extremely routine oriented (weekend birthday parties have been a nightmare), doesn't seem socially engaged with other kids, obsessed with Thomas the train.  He also doesn't seem to process hurt or anger in others.  

      He's young and maybe my wife and I push too hard because he is the only child.  

      Am I crazy?

      •  From my own experience: (14+ / 0-)

        "When you do X, that hurts (person). Do you want someone to do X to you? (get response) "No? Then don't do X." He may not process it yet, but he can learn basic rules that don't provoke others, and the sooner the better. I still have to consciously think about "Look at people's faces who are talking to you."

        Break up his routine often. It won't take much. Just do things in a slightly different order. Routine is very comforting, but he also needs the tools to be able to do things differently. There will be upset. Take a deep breath and just be firm in purpose but loving all the same, and it will get better.

        When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

        by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 09:49:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is your sig line your own original work? (13+ / 0-)

          If so,
          that fits your disorder.

          Odd to call it a disorder,
          when the regular folks
          are so truly lacking in order,
          compared to us.

          If I may be so bold
          as to lump you and I
          into the same loose category.

          Your sig line pissed me off,
          when I first read it,
          nearly a year ago,
          I think.

          I'm a poet,
          and poetry makes us flow,
          flow with the words,
          even if we're reading,
          or writing,
          these magical words,
          while sitting in a very messy room.

          However.

          I do work very hard
          at keeping house.

          I fail to actually do well,
          by the standards I imagine
          most folks have.

          But the benefit,
          to myself and my family,
          the benefit we get
          from our housekeeping efforts,
          makes me see,
          your sig line is pretty good,
          after all.

          I just wrote a poem,
          in praise of your sig line.

          Do you like it?

          By the way,
          in case you didn't catch on,
          I'm saying I'm
          on The Spectrum.

          My family says,
          they love me,
          but I speak in a way
          that dominates the conversation,
          and kills the joy of the moment,
          with the way I talk.

          So.

          I write here,
          and a few like my work.

          Thanks again,
          for your sig line.

          Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

          by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 11:45:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  very young (8+ / 0-)

        children with very mild autistic symptoms may well outgrow them with the appropriate environment and never need or get a diagnosis.  Lots of people have autistic traits but not autism.  Pieces of the puzzle but not the whole thing.  Or a "shadow syndrome" so to speak.  So I wouldn't worry about a diagnosis but do keep working to teach empathy and get him involved with other children in playgroups at the park or with homeschoolers or at preschool.  And recognize that 3 yo's are typically very egocentric and not able to easily see the perspective of others without a lot of help.

      •  You can always discuss your concerns with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero

        your son's pediatrician and/or get in touch with your local school district and request an evaluation of your son. It may be that there's nothing to worry about but it can't hurt to get a professional opinion. It could be that he has something like Sensory Processing Disorder and maybe he would benefit from some kind of early intervention even if he isn't diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

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