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Wednesday, December 14, 2011


For many people this is a scary word; it brings up mental pictures of people sitting in a corner, rocking and having no interaction with other people at all.    In many cases this is completely the wrong idea; most people on the spectrum no matter their age are not at the extreme end of the spectrum.
Both my boys are at different parts of the spectrum, George doesn't have any of the physical behaviours that you see with many on the spectrum.   He doesn't flap, spin, follow lines etc, but he doesn't think the same way as someone who's not on the spectrum.   His social skills while there, are not at the same level as his peers; his reactions to teasing would seem to many to be over the top.   He gets frustrated easily, especially when people aren't doing things as well as he thinks they should be (we get screaming tempers at the social soccer he goes to).  We try to make allowances for this, while also trying to teach him a more appropriate way to react; one that doesn't scare the other kids at soccer as most of them are also either on the spectrum or are Downs Syndrome or some other diagnosis.
Ian on the other hand does have some physical behaviours, he doesn't flap or spin, but he does run up and down, will hug anyone which unfortunately in today's climate is not appropriate (despite this his classmates are now much more huggy than they used to be as a result of him hugging everyone) so we're trying to teach him about personal boundaries.  It's a hard one though as we want him to continue hugging family, just not everyone else.  He also has sound sensitivities which he's learning to deal with and real difficulty sitting still.   The only place we really ask him to try sitting still apart from school is at the dinner table, as the leaning back is breaking our chairs.
I've been reading a bit more recently about autism, I've found a really good blog which is written by a young lady who is autistic and her writings are giving me more insight into the boys world.    She's not where they are on the spectrum, but at the same time what she says is helping me to help my boys. Just Stimming is the blog.   One of the things I find most useful is that she says not to try to stop them from stimming, not "quiet hands" as it's taking away a lot of how our kids express themselves and is in fact a form of abuse.   I can see where she's coming from, although Ian's version is the running up and down giggling one I don't want to take that away from him; there is such joy in that process that I think stopping it would kill a part of him.

I also watched the movie Temple Grandin the other night; I found it absolutely fascinating and it's given me hope for the boys future.  She is more extreme than they are and she's found what she loves and gets paid for it; what more can anyone ask?    It gives me hope that they can live independently when they get older, that they can find something they love to do and most importantly that they can be happy.   In the end, that's all I really want for my boys; happiness and if they're really lucky, someone who loves them to share it with them.

In the meantime we will continue to try and bring them up to be good men with a good attitude to life; hopefully we'll all survive that process and come out the other end being stronger than we are now.   It sounds like George's whining phase is probably just that and all 9 year olds have it; only thing is I'm sure he's had it for about 2 years now, is the end in sight yet?


Wanderingcatstudio said... Best Blogger Tips

My Dave has several autistic students, and it's always so cool to see them progress. Dave is very glad he gets to be a part of their lives - they truly are amazing kids.
I'm sure your boys will grow up to be amazing men too!

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