Monday, June 27, 2011

Autism, the gift of dyslexia in my world.

My son was given labels of  Semantic-Pragmatic disorder, which some feel is sometimes inter-related to autism/language difficulties.  That came from a neurologist.  A pediatrician said he was PDD, which is Pervasive Developmental Disorder, also considered autism, more of a mild form.  He was given a label of autism in the public schools, and received Special Ed Resource services...that is, he went to the regular classroom all but one "mod" per day which was typically spent in the resource room, received special testing accommodations, speech and OT services for 6 years if one includes 2 years of preschool. He was ostracized at school because his language was so delayed, it was difficult for the other kids to form a bond of conversation with him, he was echolalic until the 4th grade. By that time he had a reputation...and in 6th grade was considered "behaviorally disordered", although he attended regular classrooms except the period he spent in the Aspergers/Resource/BD room throughout middle school.

I was not a soccer mom.  He took ritalin every morning and noon, and we spent hours, typically 3 to 4 per night completing homework up until the 5th grade when he had a teacher who CHOSE him, rather than the feeling that the teacher he got lost the lottery...and she was aware of the pain in the ass homework was for him, and let him complete it at school. At recess.  It gave him something to do besides playing alone. We went from 3 or 4 hours a night to maybe 10 days the whole school year that homework was brought home.

We have a shrine in our minds to that teacher.  There is NOTHING, NOTHING like having been in someones shoes for understanding. We were blessed to be in that slipstream again with a psychiatrist who was ADHD himself, and had 2 children who were medicated to attend school.  Instead of telling Ben he was lazy or Mom was insane, he used to always tell Ben he was the HARDEST WORKER HE KNEW.  We also have a shrine to him in our memories.  Years later, when Ben was having teen problems he didn't care to discuss with Mom and Dad...we looked up Dr. Luke.  Problem solved.  Told Ben he would worry if he wasn't having those feelings, if you get me drift.

There are those with learning differences who survive school, and those who do not.

Please read the following 3 part story of a woman who did survive, and what she sees as her strengths

                                                                     Claire Kinton

Don't be fooled.  Your child may have a label of Autism, but it is his learning differences that will impact his schooling.  I could have been labeled autistic, but school was a breeze for me.  The social part was a little hard...but I guess I had compensatory strategies.  I just hung out with the other strange birds, and hung on tightly to who I was.  If people didn't like me, they could look 7 other ways, as Sarah used to say:

"North, South, East, West, up, down, and all around."

To hell with social stories.  They just teach you to be somebody you are not.

Just because your child has a label of autism, if he is mild, don't overlook the possibility that he  may not be autistic, but have a learning difference.  It seems the end product is the same. 

BUT, lookie here..

AUTISM is seen as a mental illness.  DYSLEXIA is seen as a mental difference.  Give your child the least damaging label.

I'm almost certain that the rise of "autism" labels will finally be attributed to the decline of  ADHD, BD, SID, NVLD, LD, Dylexia, Dyspraxia, and a million other labels.  Just like the decline of of children who previously were diagnosed as Intellectually Disabled were given the moniker of autism in the 90's.

Crazy, or different.  Hmm..I'll take different.

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