Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Knowledge is Power April 8, 2015

Mostly I talk about my kids in the same way most other parents talk about their kids.  I talk about them being cute and funny and smart and messy and tiring.  I don’t make their diagnoses be the focal point in most conversations.  I don’t name-drop their disorders as either an excuse or a reason for most of what they do.  They’re just my kids.

But, I am open about Jay having Autism and Ace having ADHD.  My co-workers who I have any kind of relationship with know about both our struggles and triumphs and from time to time I mention something about it on Facebook.  I’m always willing to discuss how Autism or ADHD affect our family and what it means FOR US.


I realize though that it’s not often that I get the chance to bring up Autism or ADHD when I’m around the kids so they are not familiar with the words or their diagnoses at all.  We don’t get a lot of guests at home or spend much time with other families who are affected by either one.  They go to school and I go to work, and in the evenings it’s just us so we go about our regular lives doing what’s normal for us.  On the weekends we mostly spend the time with the same set of people so there’s not much need to bring up Autism or ADHD.  How they/we are … just is.


I kind of don’t like that though.  I want them – to the extent that’s manageable for them – to know what’s going on in their own heads and bodies.  I want them to know that they can talk to me freely if something feels “off” or if they feel “different”.  I think there is power in knowledge.


The other day Ace and I were talking about the state tests he had recently taken.  I saw an opportunity.  I asked him if he liked taking the test in a separate room from the other kids.  He said he did because there were less distractions.  Then he told me that there are 5 of them who take tests together in the quiet room.  I asked him if they had ever talked about why they got to use the quiet room but the other kids didn’t.  He said they had not.  I asked him if he ever wondered why he got pulled out of class on Wednesdays to go to OT.  He said because he used to go to {A private social skills group} and now that he doesn’t go there anymore he does it at school instead.

Fair enough.

I asked him if he knew why he used to go to {The private social skills group} and he said no.  I asked if he’d like to know and he said yes.


I told him that he had something called ADHD and we talked about what that meant.  How it made certain things more difficult for him than it was for other people such as focusing in class or sitting still but that it also came with some positives such as his adventurous spirit and how easy it is for him to make friends and how he always has energy and how creative he is.  He asked what ADHD stands for and if his friends had the same thing.  I answered the 1st question, which was a mouthful for him, and I told him I didn’t know about his friends.


It was a fairly short conversation but I think it was a good step towards keeping the communication open and free-flowing.  I made sure he knew that even though his teachers and I knew things were hard for him and we put things in place to try to help him as much as we can, it’s not an excuse for him to get away with things and he still has to follow all the same rules as everyone else.


I’ll have to keep at it so that when he’s older and someone asks him when he found out he had it, he can casually say “I don’t know.  I’ve just always known.  It was talked about freely in my home.”  I need him to be proud of and comfortable with himself.

I also need to find ways of bringing up Autism when I’m around the kids (without using it as a way to explain to Ace why Jay “gets away” with things that he cannot get away with).  I want Jay to be proud of and comfortable with himself too and I want Ace to understand his brother without viewing it only as something that made his life unfair/harder.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s