Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Talk[tm]

J is 7 now, and developing a level of maturity where it's time he knows that he has Asperger's syndrome, and how that makes various things easier (math, reading) and harder (everything else) for him. He's known for a long time now that he's different, so hopefully it comes as a relief. Anna found this really great book that I recommend for pretty much everyone. It was amazing to read it and keep nodding and picturing J's version of that behavior or difficulty. Like, all his flapping and dancing and twirling? That's full-on bona fide stimming, which is immediately clear if you watch videos of other kids doing it.

It should be a good conversation, though I don't know if I'll be there for it: being Mama, she handles most of these things, and for whatever reason, J is usually more comfortable discussing challenging things with her, when I'm not around. (Otherwise we risk having him clap his hands over his ears and repeatedly say, "Please stop talking about that, it's making me sad," sometimes escalating to dramatic moaning and collapsing in a puddle on the floor.)

It's a tricky thing to talk about. One the one hand: "Here's this condition that describes your gifts and challenges really well, and explains why some things are hard for you."

On the other hand: "Lots of things are harder for you than for other kids, but you know, you have to do them anyway."

And J is unusual for Aspies, too, with his awareness of other people's emotions, so you have discuss what's specially different just about him. He doesn't have an obsessive special interest, either, nor does he monologue drastically more than other 7-year olds.

Speaking of things that are harder, he swam today! Actual self-buoyant, laying-flat-on-the-water, not-dog-paddling swimming! A classic thing for kids on the autism spectrum is lack of coordination between their left and right sides, so this is is a pretty huge thing and the result of a few years of work.

I promised to take him sailing when he could swim; guess I should find some weekends for the sailing certification, so I can rent us a boat.

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