Friday, March 23, 2007

Angels and Demons

Well, goodness, went to register my son for kindergarten yesterday, and was told that he needs another MMR inoculation. This news, of course, pleases me to no end.

The old battleaxe will be positively thrilled to see me again, as I will her. Mayhap I should attempt to engage her in a deep, intellectual conversation about the many virtues of Miller's “The Crucible,” but I have a sinking suspicion the witch will shriek “NEVER AGAIN!” or “REMEMBER SALEM!” or worse, begin babbling in Latin while her eyes roll back in her head. That would frighten both myself and my son, and we can’t have that.

I’ll just smile politely and point at my son’s immunization records with my middle finger or something.

Let’s see, what else…OH! I received a lovely letter from Dr. Tony Attwood (one of the world’s leading experts on Asperger’s syndrome) last night in reply to one I’d sent earlier this month regarding his ultra-fine and bodaciously righteous book “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome.” Totally surprised and delighted me that he would take the time. Also, he’d said something in his letter that completely validated certain frustrations I’ve had for years vis-à-vis the miserable lack of competent clinicians in my area. Dr. Attwood is someone I very much admire, not only for his wonderful work and expertise in the area of AS, both pediatric and adult, but for his unrivaled passion for the subject and obvious compassion and understanding.

I wish he were my daddy.

Oh, god, I didn’t just write that, did I?

Apparently, I did.

Pretend you didn’t see it, and we won’t speak of this again.


At 11:42 AM, Blogger Ms. Theologian said...

I think we should be allowed to choose our parents. :)

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

AND our siblings!

At 6:15 PM, Blogger k1tchenwitch said...

I read about the creepyevil battleaxe she-beast and I am SO sorry you'll have to go back there. Hope it's quick & painless (and she-beast free) :(

Attwood's book arrived here last week but I haven't opened it yet. I think I've read about 30 AS books in the past year, ever since my son was diagnosed. Well, no, I'm exaggerating, not that many I guess. But still.

I am NOT exaggerating when I say that it is enormously helpful to realize that someone like you has AS as well ~ in a hopeful sort of way. It redefines it for me; it makes room in the diagnosis for SO many positive qualities ~ abundant creativity and warmth and HUMOR and wit. So much of our diagnosis journey has been overwhelmingly negative. If one more well-intentioned counselor tells me, "Who knows? He might work for NASA one day," I will scream. I will.

At 1:05 AM, Blogger e-blackadder said...

Put simply, when you are REALLY sick, validation is the only positive thing that comes out of it. Kickass that you got it, and good luck fighting the fight. We're rooting for you!


At 3:57 AM, Blogger John Counsel said...

I was expelled from kindergarten after half a day. I was so unimpressed by the officious teacher that I attacked her.

Fifty-three years later, I was diagnosed with ASx... along with my mother and my five kids.

All the kids were diagnosed as "gifted" at elementary school.

Our youngest (whose first word at 4 months was "NO!", at 7 months was demanding "Why NOT?" and by 10 months was terrifying all adults equally) survived kindergarten by basically taking it over.

Her first three school teachers all required counselling to cope with her -- her logic was withering, and she knew no fear.

Now, approaching 18, she's a successful photographic model and has been training as an operatic soprano for 6 years.

My wife of almost 39 years has managed to survive more than 4 decades of life amidst three generations of undiagnosed Aspies. She is one incredibly resilient person and, despite some pretty deep emotional wounds from the experience, is widely viewed as a saint for her patience, love and persistence.

We discovered that living apart for up to four years at a time has had a marked effect on preserving our relationship. Almost half of our married life has been spent living in different houses... a serendipitous imposition at first, but one we came to value.

So often I encounter parents of Aspie kids who seem to realise that the condition is genetic, but can't quite grasp the reality that there are only two people from whom they could have inherited it.

Hmmm... Aspie 'dumping' here. *lol*

The reason I felt prompted to write is to offer some positive experiences and outcomes that, I hope, can give some hope to others.

On reflection, I wouldn't change the fact that I'm an Aspie. It's been a very positive aspect of my life of 61 years. I wouldn't mind changing some aspects of schooling in the 1950s, but I survived.

John Counsel
Melbourne, Australia

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Theresa, my daughter, 12, was dx'd around three years ago...If you have any questions or just want to shoot the breeze, please e-mail me.

It was only while researching her "symptoms," many of which seemed all too familiar, btw, both in myself, my late father, and my only full-blood brother (I have two other half brothers), that I hit upon a delicious A-HA! moment.

It took me three years, however, to seek diagnosis for myself. Initially, I didn't see the point in a dx, but I find that the older I get, the less I'm able to "hide" my true self or continue pretending that everything's peachy -- it isn't, and I realize now that I need guidance. Due to AS not being recognized here until 1994, I wasn't lucky enough to receive early therapies, which, I strongly believe, would've changed the outcome of my current circumstances. I still would be *me*, only better. I might be driving, for instance, or working as a detective or child psychologist (other than writer, those are my dream professions).

The older I get, the more pronounced my formerly subdued traits (I'd learned many "faking" skills, such as forcing myself to maintain a bit of eye contact with those I don't know well, walking somewhat normally, engaging in chit-chat with strangers or acquaintances, stimming only in private -- I rock when very upset, nervous or frustrated, rub my thumb and forefinger rapidly against certain materials, like flannel, focus on the prisms of gems or crystal, shout words or bits of dialog from commercials, and pull my eyelashes), but my other issues cannot be hidden or overcome so easily, which not only affects the quality of my life, they cause misunderstandings and frustrations for those in my life.

Thank you, Mr. Nuggets. ***love***
Asperger’s is in no way a sickness, though, darlin’ It’s simply that our brains are wired differently -- no drugs on earth can or will ever change the wiring of our brains, and that’s a fact.

One reason that I'm being open about my AS is to clear up misconceptions that many have regarding AS, such as it being a mental illness, or something that should be "cured."

John, thank you so much for your comments. I think it's so important for others to know that folks like us can be and ARE productive members of society who are more than capable of raising families, contributing to the arts, education, the business world, and are innovative, *necessary* assets to society. The spectrum consists of a range of intelligence levels and strengths/weaknesses, but all of us are worthy, lovable human beings, who, outside of our quirks and various issues, are no different than neurotypicals.


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