Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beg Your Pardon??

               Someone has been letting my son get away with some B.S. lately. Wylie’s language is, many experts tell me, “coming along just fine,” and I’m inclined to agree with the general consensus. The complex structure of sentences is eluding him, but he’s closing in, so to speak. He will string a few words together here and there, but I am most likely to hear a sentence in the form of a request, which is a program he is working on in school. He has been working on being polite, I guess, and “please” was added at the end of a standard “I want (blank)” recently. He was getting it perfect. “I want juice, please.” “I want Toy Story, please.” “I want upstairs, please.” Buahahaha. Gotta love the dog train method. Pretty darn polite 2 year old.
                Except, at some point, he started saying “I want juice, bee bee.” Or maybe “baby.” I want juice, baby”? Bee bee or baby. Hard to tell. But it’s WRONG! And I tell him. I model. He stops listening at some point and repeats his own mistake. Okay, okay. Totally unfair. He had an ear infection. As did his mommy. Did you know something? They aint kidding when they say that stuff can significantly impair your hearing. People gave up on me. “WHA?” every few minutes. Felt like my head was sandwiched between two conch shells. I could hear the ocean!! Ugh. So I suppose his hearing could be bothering him, he could just be off his game from being sick, I don’t know. My suspicion, tho, is some therapist is mishearing him and allowing him to get away with that.
                I don’t really know. My “super woman” routine is totally catching up to me. Yeah, I know, a little arrogant to even suggest my behavior could even remotely pass for a super woman routine, even if such routine was a farce. But I gotta say, I was riding a high for a while. Am I on solid ground? …Nah, but I’m young, and I’m getting there. Rocking the 2nd year back in college, a new promotion complete with little minions to do my bidding, all while doing the whole “motherhood” thing. Not even your average motherhood thing, I was like thrown into Advanced Placement Motherhood and told to sink or swim, and I actually learned to swim. Then, I dunno, all it took was a couple bad weeks and a bout of strep to turn me from an Honor-Roll-Student to Ah-Shit-I’m-Barely-Passing and from Ms.-Up-and-Comer to Ms.-Hardly-Reliable. And as far as Mother-of-the-Year? Umm… Can you guess what the chances are of me claiming THAT title any time soon?
                I don’t have his damn notebook. It’s at school. I don’t know what little college student is letting him get away with “I want Cheetos, bee bee!” cuz I can’t see who keeps giving him 100% the day before someone else gives him a 0. And tonight sorta descended into some weird, twisted example of what would be a baaaad way to implement “No-no-show” as Wylie and I argued over every little thing he wanted tonight.
                “I want toy, bee bee.”
                “No. ‘I want toy, please.’”
                “I want toy, bee b—”
                “NO, ‘I want toy, please.’”
                “Well, Wylie—”
                (Louder sobs)
                “Shhh, hey. What do you want?”
                “I want toy, bee bee?”
                So, tomorrow I have off. I’ll drop him off at school and probably come back home and wrap up some of my coursework; the semester ends, in, well. Uh. Soon. A few days? A few weeks? I’ll pick him up in the afternoon and hopefully I’ll see his lead therapist; either way I’ll get his notebook. I’m not too worried about it in the grand scheme of things, but I think it’s probably good to be a little proactive.

                I don’t know. In many ways, I worry less and less about him as time goes on. Yeah, I’m a mom, and I’m going to worry, but I have a lot of confidence in my son as I get to know him better and better as he grows up. And he’s just a little one, still. In other ways it is becoming clear I had some pretty high, possibly unrealistic expectations of where we would be a year from the beginning of  our journey. I’ve had to face the fact that any “sink or swim” tactics in regards to my child will probably not work out as well as I would wish. He still has a lot of growing to do in his pre-preschool—the idea of just throwing him into a regular old preschool and not disclosing his diagnosis kinda seems silly at this point. Not absurd—but a little silly. I was having lunch with my dad the other day, with Wylie, and we talked about potty training. It’s kind of funny to think of the judgmental me from 2 years ago, snorting at the idea of a 3 year old in diapers. I expressed to my dad that I still thought I’d try again with Wylie after the holiday season, right around his 3rd birthday coming up. My dad—who is a “high expectations” kinda guy, but always rather reasonable about it—said, “I don’t know if he’s really ready. You could try.”
                “You don’t think so?? He catches on pretty quick, don’t you think? He’s a smart cookie.”
                “Yeah… but we’re still having communication issues, you know what I mean? He still has issues with his clothes. I don’t know if he’s ready. But yeah, I think you could try.”
                I knew what he meant. Wylie is still a little behind. Still think we can conquer potty training, tho! One day. Eventually. Shooting for next year. Sometime.
                All in all, things are okay over here. Life isn’t a rose garden, but then again, no one promised us one. (shrug)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Autism Community Collectivism Finally Made Me Snap

                I’m a libertarian. I don’t buy into the majority-minority us versus them paradigm. Like, at all. I don’t think words have as much power as actions and I’m not going to be joining any cause to ban the “R” word any time soon. I don’t think free speech should be curbed in any way, shape, or form. I think we should rely on charity over the government for financial help in an emergency.  These traits and beliefs I possess are essential to who I am. They also make for awkward conversations within the autism community.
                Like when Sam Harris made some kinda odd statements about how Objectionism is like Autism. And all the autists were offended by being compared to Objectionists. Well. Gee. Ayn Rand was definitely a flawed woman, but she changed my freaking life with her philosophies on free trade, self esteem, personal responsibility and personal achievement. So I was a little offended at everyone being offended by Sam’s comparison, although people were mostly right to assume he was using the word “autism” when he MEANT “narcissism” (I’m not really sure what a neuroscientist does or studies, since he seems a little clueless about neurological issues such as “autism” and “narcissism” but whatever…) I bit my tongue on that one, because my political philosophies were hardly the point when what we were talking about was respect (although maybe the narcissists, who are just as biologically preconditioned to be narcissistic as autists are preconditioned to be autistic, would also object to us having a hissy fit over the comparison. But that’s a little philosophical for here, I guess.)
                There was the time I got into an unintentional argument with an autist who publicly denounced a pretty benign post by a parent of autistic children when I asked  just what was so offensive about what she wrote. Instead of an explanation, I was told that “If I couldn’t see what was wrong with it, then I am probably part of the privileged group that is so confident of its utter superiority that it’s invisible to you when someone writes about adults with autism with contempt.” Someone quickly chimed in to explain that I was lacking common courtesy and decency by not treating those with autism as if they are in a protected class, and not treading lightly enough so as to avoid any hurt feelings. Hmm. Just… asking… a question… that’s all… treating everybody as an individual with equal footing is obviously not the goal of acceptance??
                Most recently, however, I got a lil riled up about some anti-treatment bullshit on the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Listen. Come to me with some facts about why you hate ABA. Come to me with a reasonable anecdote. Tell me it’s your choice for your child, and you choose to stay away from the strongly structured, therapist-directed approach of ABA in favor for something else. For sure, I’ve read studies that pretty much suggest ANY intensive (several hours a day/several days a week) behaviorally based (conventional learning, Floortime, Early Start Denver Model) approach to teaching children with autism seems to have wonderful effects. Temple Grandin is right that it basically boils down to “The worst thing you can do is let your toddler veg out in front of the TV all day.” But when I hear criticism of empirically tested methods of ABA with absolutely no backing, expect me to speak out. And when the anti-treatment argument finally boils down to a clear misunderstanding of the role of a parent (and the role of a child) in the parent-child relationship, I think my rebuttal, inarticulate as it may be, is pretty relevant to the conversation. Parents ARE the boss of children. If adult children cannot function alone in society, sometimes parents will continue to be the boss of adult children. It’s not a human rights issue. It’s a biological issue.
                So, I guess I am a little unsure how to proceed from here. I’m getting bored with the walking-on-eggshells routine. I suppose I’m not popular enough to worry too much about losing my audience, heh.  I don’t mean to come off argumentative just because I’m outspoken, but (shrug) so be it. Much love to everyone—I have no hate in my heart. Always up for a debate and I am pretty open to new ideas, but I grow weary of those who want to scold me for having a different opinion.