I really need to get stuff out more often…. but I have something big I need to get out, so if anyone stumbles upon this, so be it.
My four year old son Jonah has Asperger’s Syndrome:
Yes, that’s right, my oldest son is Autistic. We’ve known for about four months now. There were suspicions earlier, but nothing solid until recently. There were so many motions to go through…. denial, acceptance, grief, sharing with others. And who do you share with? What if the “professionals” are wrong? What if in five years he is a different person? All of those thoughts are slowly fading. He is who he is. He is remarkable. His intelligence is close to gifted. His social skills are severely hindered. He says weird crap.
From birth, he was different. He sort of just laid there and stared a lot. He had a fascination with fans. He could watch them for hours. He said his first word at three months old, “mama,” and he meant it. He was fully conversational by 18 months. From two years old we treated him like he was five because that’s how he acted. He lashed out at others. At daycare they called him, “Anger Management,” as an infant. He obsessed over some weirdo childrens’ musician, Mr. David. And Spiderman. And guitars. And music. And the schedule of shows on Noggin. If you altered his schedule by 5 minutes all hell would break loose. He bit kids at school. For a LONG time.
All of these things seemed like problems here and there, but at four, we put them all together. He was starting to initiate play in odd ways: grabbing children by the neck, saying dark things about death, kissing boys on the mouth. He didn’t know how to engage people. Not that a typical four year old is perfect at this, but Jonah’s ways were odd. Definitely odd.
We took him to a doctor. And a team of experts. They all saw him to be on the Spectrum. Right now, the current consensus is Asperger’s Syndrome, and he fits the definition to a T. He is extremely high functioning, with all of that said. Sometimes I feel bashful to even tell people, who have children on the Spectrum. They look at me like I’m crazy. My child is telling them about the solar system, and their child struggles to communicate to them that he wants a glass of milk. But Asperger’s is like that. One day he is just like everyone else, the next he is withdrawn and needs to be helped with the simplest of daily tasks.
He is happy. This is what we thank God for. He doesn’t see the snickers that others extend towards him. He is oblivious to how annoyed they get. He thinks they are his best friends. But I see it. And it burns. The only thing that is getting me through is the kindness I have received from other parents, teachers, religious leaders and perfect strangers. There is a lot of good people in this world, and I am so lucky to have found so many.
Anyway, I needed to get that out. I’d be happy to talk about it, but honestly, I just want to move on. Our dust has settled and I am just trying to enjoy my children for who they are. Some days I struggle so greatly, but my family and friends are here for me. And who doesn’t struggle while raising children? I am just the luckiest person alive to live in a time where his disorder is acknowledged, accepted and helped.
Now I have peace.