The Boy and I have met so many fascinating people over the last couple of months. Friends at our co-op; a serendipitous friendship arising out of purchasing karate gear; unexpectedly interesting people at various field trips. We even have landed a sitter, the older sister of one of the Boy’s new friends.
Twice in the past month, while talking to moms (It is rare I see other Home Schooling fathers…which is a topic for another day…maybe) I have made a comment about The Boy possibly being on the Autism spectrum. In both cases – one from a former teacher who specialized in Special Education and Learning Disabilities, and one from a mom with three kids on the Spectrum – the response was “of course”. Neither were judgmental or condescending. Both had waited until I said something, and both had noticed something straight off. The conversation could have been “I think The Boy has a great deal of athletic ability”.
Without an official diagnosis (and hundreds of dollars which seem to be lacking the bank accounts at the moment) it is hard to say for sure, as he lacks so many of the key indicators of Autism. but a general consensus has been reached by his parents and his two therapists that he would fall under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). A category which seems to indicate that he is not Neuro-Typical, but certainly capable of fitting into society.
I have two issues that I am still trying to resolve. Well, LW would insist I have more than two issues, but two that pertain to my son. The first is, the label. For a long time, based on his quirks, obvious intelligence coupled with his lack of social savvy, we were trying to figure out what was “wrong” with him. Having a diagnosis, even an unofficial one seems to answer the question. There is nothing wrong. But so what? We haven’t made drastic changes in our lives. We still love to coddle him a bit while simultaneously pushing him to bigger and better things. We still rejoice in his successes, blame ourselves when he fails, and get frustrated when he leaves his socks and light sabers all over the place.
Second, are we sure? What is the dividing line between quirky, eccentric and wonderfully weird to actually having a diagnosable disorder? My family is wack-a-doodle by nature. Where do the Neuro-typical and Neuro-atypical diverge?
I guess in the end, we help, we push, we praise, we comfort, occasionally, we even punish. The Boy will thrive. While he takes life literally a bit too much, he is eager to smile and make jokes. And he is competent and courageous beyond even our expectations.