I watch my children a lot. When we’re at home, yes, but more so when we are out where other children are. At the park, at friends houses, at school functions. Like other parents, I want to make sure they are safe and I watch when they are doing something amusing, but I am also always watching and comparing. I look for a sign or symptom or to see if I need to jump in because they are doing something inappropriate.
I watch both of my sons but this post will be about my Ace. When I observe him with his peers I am looking to see if he is obviously different from other kids.
I have often wondered about Ace. I wonder what exactly – if anything note worthy – is going on with him. In many ways, he is atypical. I’ve wondered openly if he’s on the spectrum. I’ve also wondered if he’s just immature. He has an ADHD diagnosis and I understand why. He has a VAST majority of the signs. I understand that he can be a handful and it’s true that a lot of things that come naturally to other children, have to be taught to him. Still, I’m not sure that I agree with the label. It does help him to get services that he clearly needs but there are moments when I think that while he may have some quirks and he may be a little more energetic and a little more of a chatter box and a little less attentive than is ideal, he still falls in the realm of what should be considered ok for a 6 year old boy.
At the 1st Autism Speaks walk that we ever did, over 2 years ago, he was all over the place. He was loud and he rolled around on the floor and we had to keep a much closer eye on him that Jay. At the time Ace was not diagnosed with anything but I think that’s when I first began to wonder about him. I remember saying to CC that people at the walk would look at us and think Ace was the autistic one.
His troubles at school have been well documented and once he’s on an energy high, it takes him a while to come down, but … I still have my doubts. He seems to be recognizing his behaviours now and understanding better about what’s appropriate and what’s not. He still has a ways to go but I’m seeing the shift in him. His teachers are also reporting that they can see him trying to focus and he tells us that after he’s been “acting up” for a while he will catch himself and then try to calm himself down.
I think his ability to stop and think and be aware of himself will be one of the biggest things that help him.
I didn’t think about it when we were there (which is telling in itself), but a few days after we got back from our weekend trip to Connecticut, CC and I were talking and I asked him if he had noticed that Ace didn’t really stick out. To a certain extent, he may act more childish than other 6 years olds but that could be as a result of his environment. CC and I have tried to keep our kids as innocent and away from adult things as much as possible. We treat and dress them like they are children. At a couple different points last weekend, there were 6 little boys playing and only once or twice did someone need to tell Ace to “share”. As a general rule, he didn’t seem vastly different from the other boys. Of course some were quieter and less bubbly than others but still … They were all engaging in the same general style of typical 5 – 8 year old boy behavior.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to make “normal” kids. I’m not trying to turn Ace into a clone of any other kid. I don’t want him to be a robot child.
I do want him to have friendships. It’s been hard for him because he can be a little too loud and a little too “in your space” and a little too selfish in the way he plays.
I do want him to be able to function in a classroom. He’s going to be in one for at least the next 12 years.
I do want him to be able to walk down the street or a super market aisle without bumping into other people or hurting himself because he’s absent mindedly doing something silly.
We’ll see how this develops. Basically, I’ll keep watching and hoping that as he gets older, his brain matures and he’s able to better control himself and will need less direction from us. I hope he’ll get into less trouble at school and we won’t feel that desperate need to try him on medication again.