Sunday, May 1, 2011

No longer in denial

Since Danny was diagnosed with high functioning autism over a year ago, I have wrestled with denial.

On good days, days where Danny is superbly cooperative and pleasant and easygoing, I wonder, could Dr. M have made a mistake? Did I maybe answer some questions incorrectly? Could Danny actually just have severe SPD which looks like autism? Is there a chance he's been misdiagnosed?

Most days, our regular days, you know, the days where even the most mundane aspects of our day (eating, dressing, using the toilet) are a struggle?

Those days I have less difficulty believing that Danny does indeed have autism.

Still, the doubt has lingered and I vacillate between wondering about the accuracy of his diagnosis and being mostly convinced of its validity.

Until Tuesday.

While at our local ice cream stand, we ran into a classmate of Danny's from last year. Claire greeted Danny excitedly, but until I prompted him, Danny said nothing. He was excited to see her, however, and launched into a one-sided conversation from several yards away. He could tell she wasn't listening, but it was obvious he had no idea wh
at to do about it.

It didn't occur to Danny to come closer to Claire so she could actually hear him. He didn't say her name so she would realize he was talking to her, nor did he realize that asking her a question could ensure she was part of the conversation. And never in a million years would he recognize that the topic of LEGOs is not necessarily everyone's idea of a scintillating conversation subject.

The result? A very one-sided, unsuccessful interaction. In fact, "interaction" isn't even a valid definition of what took place, as no interacting happened at all.

It almost broke my heart, mostly because it was obvious how much he wanted to connect with Claire. He made attempt after attempt to engage her, but until I guided them both a bit, his attempts fell completely flat.

As I sat there and watched Danny try to interact, it hit me like those huge anvils in a Roadrunner cartoon. Danny does have autism. There's really no denying it.

The certainty took my breath away.

My son, my wonderful, loving, funny boy has autism.

No more denial to buffer me from reality; autism is now our reality.

And I think I'm ok with that.

More or less.

But that doesn't mean I've given up. I'm still going to do whatever it takes to help my son as he navigates this treacherous world we live in.


Vote for Effingham Lego Social Club Now
Please take a minute of your time and vote for my Lego Social Club project on Pepsi Refresh. I'm applying for a grant to fund my training and supplies to start this awesome social skills group in our town for kids on the spectrum or those who have any social developmental delays.

Danny can't wait to get started and neither can I!
And we need your help!

Click here to vote!



Heather said...

I know exactly how you feel. My post for tomorrow focuses on very much the same thing. It's a very heartbreaking moment... My hugs to you.

Alysia said...

I have those moments too. Many of them. It hits like a ton of bricks every single time. I'm sorry.

danette said...

that sounds so much like my two older boys (Bitty's not yet at the stage of really wanting to have much social interaction with peer but I'm sure we'll get there). CB and BH have made much improvement with time and lots of work (and something we still work on). they literally had to learn the "rules" of social interaction down to the most minute details. Honestly I've been amazed at their capacity to learn and remember so much that just doesn't come "naturally."

The social skills group sounds awesome, I voted :).

Ginny Marie said...

I'm so excited for you and the LEGO social group! I'm going to go vote now, and I really hope you get the grant!!

Lizbeth said...

Someone's up there swinging bricks today, sigh. I see my son wanting to interact but just doesn't know becomes brutally clear when he's around his peer set.


Lynn said...

I know how you feel...sometimes it is still a cold slap in the face, even though I can't say that I'm in denial anymore. I don't think that I put it together until just now that you are in IL! I am an Illini grad, but I'm not even going to cop to my graduating year. I voted for your LEGO club...great idea!

Barbara Manatee said...

Thank you for stopping by today. I'm glad you found my blog.

Thank you also for sharing your thoughts and realizations about your son and his diagnosis.

I'll definitely be back to read more.

K- floortime lite mama said...

Many many hugs
I am have a lot of realization moments lately too

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to this. I move in and out of denial. To me, it's difficult to fully accept autism when a child is lightly affected by it. Most of the time Charlotte (my Charlotte!) does not *seem* autistic. Most of the time she doesn't seem all that different from typical kids. That's why when I do see it, it feels like that slap in the face. Five minutes ago she was just fine and now this?! Where did it come from? Oh, it's the autism. I go through this ALL. THE. TIME!

Did you read the post on TPGA by Carol Greenberg? She talks about how she's sometimes more autistic than other times. If haven't read it and need link, let me know. It's very good. It's changed my thinking about Charlotte.

TurtleBear said...

Wishing you all the best with your LEGO project! A lovely idea that WILL help you all…
Blessings, Sharon ‘B’