Saturday, January 2, 2010

A small vent, and an LONG update for myself....

Since this blog is basically my own little journal, I'm going to put some info in here most people wouldn't want or care to see. I figure that pretty much no one reads this anyway, so it's for me. This is incredibly long because I don't want to stretch it out into numerous posts. Feel free to skip it.

This is about my oldest son Adin. He now 8 years old. He'll be 9 in April. He is an interesting kid. I adore his personality, but he's nothing like me, so I find him hard to understand. He has such incredible focus on certain chosen subjects, it borders on obsessive. Right now he is into airplanes and has been since the last 1/2 of 2009. Since then he's went through current aircraft, into WWI and WWII, back to current and is now according to himself "a big fan of World War II right now". He knows the names and kill numbers of the best Aces. He knows pretty much any aircraft that was involved in any sort of war. He knows the weapons systems, the details of the way they were built, who built them and how they are better or worse than the plane they replaced. He can draw the insignia's from the side of any of the world nations fighter planes and knows where they are located on the globe. He makes my head spin with the knowledge he takes in.

I'm painting a small picture of him because some would maybe say there is something wrong with that kind of focus. That obsession is not okay. He needs to be "normal". When he was younger I had a few different people ask me if there was something "wrong" with him. To name a few: A Dentist that had just given him a filling that Adin sat though calmly because he didn't feel that he was "connecting"; a Karate teacher that didn't feel he was connecting because he had trouble getting Adin to focus (uh, that's why we were there!); a pre-school teacher who we'd known for a few weeks that felt Adin didn't act enough like the other kids; even a close relative....just to name a few. Every time this would happen, I would panic. I would ask myself if there was really something wrong with him. Was my Mama's heart missing the scary signs of a kid that wasn't "normal"?

Below is a post that I wrote when Adin was 4yrs old:
I have a some questions for those of you who know anything about Autism. My older ds's cooperative preschool teacher (we've been going there 2x a week for 6 weeks) came to me today to let me know that she feels Adin has "high functioning autism" and that I should get him evaluated. This has been mentioned to me 1 other time from our dentist who didn't feel like he was "getting through" to Adin. That same day though, he sat quietly through a filling. Btw, after that I took him to a children's dentist who saw nothing to be concerned about. Adin is very loving and touches a lot. He does things for himself and is very helpful. My concerns would be lots of sound effects and pretending, even in social situations. He doesn't have any friends his age, and doesn't want them. He's content to play with his little sister and cousins. He becomes obsessive with themes like Dogs, or Buzz Lightyear, or Dinosaurs...always pretending to be whatever he is focused on...then getting bored and moving on to another obsession. At preschool he plays independently for the most part, though sometimes with the other kids. His eye contact at home is fine (unless he's trying to ignore me), just not out and about and with strangers. He does shake his hands about a lot when he's excited about something....which is often, because he's happy most of the time. When we're out, he's relatively quiet. At home, he talks A LOT!!! Always making up stories and telling me what he's doing. He and Elsa make believe all day long. He has no anger issues and rarely gets overly upset about anything. I don't even think he's ever had an out and out tantrum. He communicates what he wants and reasons well with me to try and get the outcome he desires (like playing outside ALL day long, even in the rain-lol) As a baby he struggled with overstimulation and loud noise, but LOVED to be held. He met all his milestones with no problem and has always talked just fine. His Ped. (when I asked her about the autism after the dentist thing) thinks he's probably just immature and very quirky. The speech pathologist we visited to make sure some drooling wasn't a problem (it wasn't, he just wasn't sucking it back enough, now that I make him aware to close his mouth, it's not an issue) felt that he was just fine with a HUGE imagination. I took some online quizzes to see where he stood on the spectrum, and all 3 had him practically perfect (like 16 out of 97 or 8 out of 69) and said based on what I'd put that he didn't need evaluation. The whole thing makes my dh mad because he himself is a quirky, shy guy who hates social situations, but yet he's a pilot in the Air Force. Is there something else I need to look at??? I don't want to ignore something that is there, but I don't want a perfectly "normal" (since we're all of us a bit strange) child to be categorized as something he's not! Any thoughts, or does anyone have questions for me that would help you answer better?? It's been a long day for me, so sorry if this isn't making sense.

After a certain incident at a Christmas gathering, we decided to take Adin in for an evaluation. He was 6 yrs old at the time. It was the best thing we've ever done for our family. I can't tell you the relief and peace it gave me to get the kind of feedback we did. Read below:
We took him in last night for an evaluation at http://www.nweci.org/ Our primary care ND gave us the information. I’ve been concerned about his social development for some time. A lot of the reason is that I’ve had random people occasionally suggest that he has a form of autism or aspergers. These suggestions would send me into a panic, wondering if I was missing something in his behavior and if I was just in denial about his personality. Every time, I would spend hours online reading or would read books only to have it confirm what I already felt…he was not on the spectrum of those developmental disorders. Dave was so much less worried than I was, because he sees himself in Adin. The last straw for me was at Christmastime when he was trying to play with his second cousins, and just didn’t “click” with them. They were annoyed by him (and he was being annoying, and we corrected him), and he ended up coming home with scratches and marks on his face, chest and back which I believe were due to them being harsh or rough with him. He refused to talk about it. Anyway, to make a long story short, the Dr. felt that he is a couple of years behind socially. He also explained in detail why Adin does what he does...to help us understand him better. But, he was so very encouraging about Homeschooling. He spoke of the myth of needing to have your child be in a same age peer group. How that has developed in the last 100 years. He loved that we had a large family. He felt this was best for Adin’s personality. It would let his social skills develop at a slower pace, but would teach him “real world” application. Basically he said that everything that we are doing for him to help him succeed is exactly what Adin needs right now! He suggested we check in with them every couple of months to see if/when some social therapy would be warranted. They were impressed with how the kids all interacted together and with us. They noted how the kids practiced "circling" which I guess is where they took turns checking in with me during their play. That they were all secure and solved their conficts well, except they would come to me when needed for help before it got physical. I heard the Dr's talking amongst themselves (during one of the "conflict resolutions" that I was working on) about how they loved to see "Beautiful Parenting". How in tune Dave and I both were with the kids and how they were with us and each other. I don't feel like a beautiful parent most of the time. I feel like I'm often too strict or harsh with them. But it was awesome to get affirmation that we're doing a good job. I have to believe that the early attachment parenting, especially Babywearing, helps me to connect and really "know" my kids. Anyway, I had to share my awesome experience yesterday. Sorry this is so long. I'm just so excited. Happy that my kiddo is okay. He is just Adin. He needs some help from us, and we've been providing that.

There's my long story. I want these notes here for me to have in the future. I want to look back and know where we've been. If anyone does read this and it can be encouraging, I am happy to be of help. I really believe that in most cases labeling a child is not in their best interest. Letting them be themselves while helping them with the areas they struggle is what is truly important. Adin is a beautiful, loving, wonderfully made child of God. God made him what he is, and he has entrusted us to be the ones to nurture and raise him. I will do my best to be the parent Adin needs to have to live his life the way God desires for him to. I am an honored Mom.

The one thing I do need to say to those that would stick their nose in someone else's life, please be gentle how you phrase things. Please be darn sure before you say something, and also, let go of your idea of "normal" as normal is not always what it appears to be. I will take my loving, sensitive, semi-obsessive, sometimes annoying, and incredibly intelligent son any day over a child that doesn't care about others and is unkind to their siblings and parents. I adore my quirky kid and wouldn't change him for anything.

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