For years we’ve tried to figure out what’s “wrong” with our son.
He is such a bright young man, learns concepts and ideas so quickly it’s unbelievable. As long as they are not too abstract. Anything science or math related, he excels at. And he reads at the third-grade level- only half way through first grade!
However, his emotional and social well-being and skills have always concerned us. My husband was more inclined to think that Elijah just needed more structure and discipline. I’ve become such a tenderhearted person after giving birth to him, that I tend to let things slide and set less boundaries.
Once we got our own place and were able to adjust more to our personal needs and schedule, things hadn’t really changed.
His behavior was still erratic.
He continued to talk about Dinosaurs for days on end.
He still smelled his food before every bite.
He was still picky about his food. Which means absolutely NO sauces, NO cooked veggies, and meat can only have a certain texture!
He still didn’t seem to understand that there are gray areas in life.
He still didn’t seem to grasp the concept of FUN play.
Anger. Anxiety. Confusion. Frustration. All part of his daily life; regardless of what we tried.
This is when we chose to talk to a Counselor at our son’s school (well, I did most of the talking and footwork, since apparently PTSD and small areas with a bunch of kids doesn’t necessarily mix well)! After a couple of hours of intake sessions and evaluations we finally received a diagnosis!
Asperger’s (now High-Functioning Autism)
I must say that I kind of hoped and in a way fought for this diagnosis, after taking classes on Human Development, Personality Theories and Psychopathology; in which I learned about Asperger’s Syndrome. However, to finally hear that diagnosis was far more eye-opening and relieving than I ever imagined it to be.
Everything I’ve read, researched and thought I knew completely went out the window! While I was ecstatic and extremely relieved to have that diagnosis and now have the ability to advocate even more for Elijah, it opened up so many different doors for us; good and challenging ones.
Having a child with Asperger’s and being married to a man with combat-related PTSD isn’t always the easiest to deal with. Between the rigidity and routine of Asperger’s and the sometimes erratic and uncontrollable nature of PTSD, the two conditions (and therefore my two men) clash on a regular basis. So it has been very important for us to work toward better communication and understanding among our family; and I must say that I was absolutely amazed at the level of perseverance and passion my husband has shown after this diagnosis. He generally doesn’t show much emotion, but when it comes to his son, he will move mountains even if it kills him in the process!
So we have watched videos, read articles, read blogs, read handouts Elijah’s Counselor gave us and bought and read books! I mean, we literally have an entire area on our bookshelf dedicated to books about Autism Spectrum Disorders. There have been a few resources that have been far more helpful than others thus far. One of the biggest issues we are currently running into is trying to explain to Elijah what is going on with him.
He knows he’s different.
He understands that he needs to work a little harder to have fun when he plays.
He knows what he is willing to eat and what he will refuse to try or even let his other food touch.
So, while we are trying to figure out how to help him, we are also trying to figure out how to explain to him what it means to have High-Functioning Autism.
One of the best books we have bought thus far is the The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents)!
This book has REALLY helped me understand all the little quirks, questions and uncertainties that rode right along into our lives with the Autism diagnosis. I try to give Elijah at least 15 minutes a night when we have Mommy and Elijah time. During this time, we either read a book, play with Legos, talk about his day, or just watch a show together and cuddle up on the bed. I try to cherish this time, since he won’t be 7 years for long. He’ll grow to become a teenager and then an adult; but he’ll do all that with High-Functioning Autism and I won’t be there forever, nor should I be.
That is why we try to understand as much as we can right now, and set him up for success now!
What were your first steps after diagnosis?
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more details please view my disclosure policy.