My mom took the photo just as I was about to fall asleep. For me, in the ER, this is almost a miracle–two hours into the marathon of overload only an ER can create, and I was laying down, not full of anxiety or crying or arguing. I have had many, many ER visits—we’ll go […]Read more
The best stories are the stories of success and gratitude. We look forward to every single story and email, and pride ourselves to continue to serve the greater good. We are here for you, we are here for them, and anyone in between. What we are doing is what every law enforcement man or woman […]Read more
Five years ago yesterday some friends were victims of a home invasion. Two armed men invaded their house at dinner time. The couple had three children. The husband was able to attack one of the invaders and was wresting on the floor with him and he was…Read more
There are so many reasons why people run. I could spend all day just looking them up and determining that each one is valid. I also run for many reasons. I’ve been a runner my whole life and I absolutely love it. I run several t…Read more
Children on the autism spectrum might exhibit self-stimulatory behaviors as a negative reaction to sensory overload, or, they mightRead more
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a very real affliction and comes to us in many ways. People who suffer severe trauma or are in a traumatic situation constantly, are high risk for PTSD. I think just about everyone understands that this is a bad…Read more
Having children is not in my future. Sometimes people say “you never know,” but yes, I do. Some of the reasons are personal, some are medical , and others come down to autism and the fact that I overload so easily. I think the biggest reason is that I don’t stay engaged with what goes on around […]Read more
There is an overwhelming amount of great information about self-stimulatory behaviors available online. And a good deal of it canRead more
I’m good at telling you what I know. I know a fact. I know the ID number on the library card that expired in 2011. I know that there should not–no way, no how–be an apostrophe on that sign. But do you know who I am? Do you know I’m not totally self-centered? My last […]Read more
Will I feel comfortable with Isaac being aware of this blog as and when he acquires the ability to?
The question (nuanced rather than in unreconstructed form) has therefore acted as a gentle leaver on the moral compass if you like. Not that it was needed at all in his early days. Chronicling them demanded a frank, exposing honesty such was our raggedness – with raging against society’s stares going hand in hand with amplifying autism’s awareness a matter of Isaac’s human rights. Intensity informed everything and I felt compelled to communicate all we learned. I wouldn’t change a smidgen.
As he approaches nine however, the question devolves from what I singularly (as a father) say about him to something more pluralistic. Maybe not a question, more a constant consideration that whatever I say needs a degree of respect and parity with his own opinions, profile and personality. How, if at all, will he feel, be aware of, love, hate, tolerate, tame, embrace, enforce, his autism. It’s his journey, my part must, as much as possible, be curated by – at least be in conjunction with – him.
“Willy Wonka’s got autism.”
Such is our real time – forever on and forever fruitful – relationship with school, they are always alert to little aberrations like this. Isaac probably didn’t have a knowledge of autism, some boys in his class may have. There was certainly no Charlie and the Chocolate Factory revelatory autism story though. A semblance of self-awareness was seeping into him. A healthy, in hand, observable occurrence that always happened to boys at Isaac’s school.
So much so that on the occasions I pick him up, I find myself in a jubilant state – flushed with the endorphins of expanded expectations; his jolly, sociable, developing self being clear to see. In fact the narrative right now is Isaac is nowhere near his glass ceiling and deserving of lofty ambitions.
Isaac is often in possession of a one rail-track mind. To stem it is to leave him ferociously frustrated, unfairly so. Equally, as championed by school, to dwell on the obsessions, means they fester, he gets entrapped in them.
He’s taken to – “as a way to relax after school, daddy, I need to write about transport” – typing the entire tube map completely from memory; effortlessly, at break neck speed. All the stops, their intersections listed, in perfect order; of all the lines; north, south, east and westbound. It’s a preposterous skill really. Mindboggling in its depth and dimensions. His photographic memory transposing the visual into perfect verbal form.
So how to harness this passion that can be on the precipice of pointlessness?
In this case, success has been achieved by introducing some social skills. His octogenarian grandfather, Papa Paul, is an enthusiastic, kindly man, whose interests and generosity are varied. One of which, trains of all shapes and sizes and vintage, is something I, in a previous less informed, less responsible life, gently ribbed him about. Now I strongly reinforce it, aware as I am its vital purpose as a social tool.
This marshalling of an obsession into something positive and social, is one of many small but significant steps Isaac is making. Repetition is different from routine. He’ll always thrive from and need routine. So a regular collection from school incentivised with train stimulation is a wholly positive development.
Reward of friendship is wayward with Isaac – the innate skills of reading body language are invisible, regulating himself from cavorting, physical play is a fierce challenge, reciprocation is not part of his natural make-up. Perhaps all this goes hand in hand with the esoteric concept of social currency; something so yearned for in typical children, appearing of limited value to his self-confidence. Yet we do have some foundations in place that could start to paint the broad brushstrokes of potential. Music, he loves; cataloguing and remembering in the main. Any playlist on popular radio he knows in full, “this song we’ve heard already, sometimes you hear things more than once,” I hear a lot on a long journey, DJs’ propensities to play songs over and over, a lack of imagination irritating Isaac slightly. His knowledge, I know, could stand him in prime social pecking order, in time, “this is Hair by Little Mix featuring Sean Paul – I’ve seen it on music television and am listening now to Capital Radio Extra.”