The Intangibles

August 28, 2008 at 6:26 am 6 comments

      I sometimes have a difficult time figuring out exactly what it is that makes C stand out for  his peers simply because sometimes he is nearly indistinguishable from  them. “Quirky” doesn’t quite cover his different-ness, and “weird,” a word I’ve never really thought of as a negative, doesn’t really fit either. I admit to having moments where I’ve wondered if my inability to put my finger on why kids generally don’t seem to get C meant I had my own diagnosis with which to struggle.

     Yet I’ve come to conclude there are certain things we just can’t teach. There is only so much social skills work one can do before realizing that some qualities just are and always will be. Whether this is simply my own blossoming acceptance of how things are or becoming better at recognizing what C’s autismness means for him, I’m not sure. When he cried this morning in front of most of his class because another little boy wouldn’t let the bug crawling on his arm crawl over to C’s arm, it was one more lesson for me in the journey that is Understanding C. I’ve seen other kids cry and not get the response C had, but I watched as five other kids standing around him just stared at C like he was from another planet. It was just one more moment of many in which the collective consciousness of his peers continued to fill up.

     Too many of these moments can end up working against C in the future, simply because they add up in the present. I don’t want to be pessimistic about my child’s popularity (for lack of a better word) down the road, but there are times when I truly wonder if I’ll look back on these early events and know these were the ones that started it all. Just how many experiences like these does it take before he becomes labeled by the other kids as someone undesirable?

     I can’t do much about what happened this morning in terms of C’s behavior – I refuse to tell him not to cry at school, for fear of stifling his emotions altogether. I will encourage him to perhaps enjoy another child’s experience without trying to make it his own, although I’m not sure the message will translate. Most importantly, I will continue to try to help him build his own self-confidence so the potential pain of the future won’t be quite so sharp.

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A handsome sparkler My sweet boy

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. robinaltman  |  August 28, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I find myself checking in every day to see how C is doing. When he has a good day I rejoice. When something yucky happens my heart sinks. I can only imagine how you feel. I’m hoping these kids will forget about it, and not hold it against C. Like the kids who have miraculously forgotten that Alex picked his nose throughout elementary school.

    Yup, yesterday was a pretty rough day. 😦 I went to have lunch with him and saw, once again, how different he is sometimes. He was so focused on eating lunch (lunch is a tough time for him), he could hardly listen to the lovely little girl sitting next to him asking him questions the whole time. Then on the way home he told me that the little boy he wanted to invite over (we’d been talking about it and how to ask him) said he didn’t want to come. It just broke my heart. It’s a good thing C was in the back seat so he couldn’t see what I mumbled under my breath about said little boy. Grrr.

    And then there were tears again before we left this morning, which indicated to me a bit of a “hangover” from yesterday. He loves class and school, but he also dreads it, I think. Late separation anxiety, somewhat, but I think a coming awareness of himself and how he relates to other kids.

    Oy.

    Reply
  • 2. robinaltman  |  August 28, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Oy is right. I can’t take it. Why did that rotten little boy say no? Does C have a Wii? Let’s get C a Wii and entice the little brats over. (And then can I borrow it? I want to try Wii fit.) I can’t take the friggin’ rejection.
    Quick funny Alex story. When he was in second grade, he told me he hated the girl who sat next to him because she was so bossy. I volunteered for a Valentine’s Day party, and saw the little girl trying to help Alex the Space Cadet stay on task. She’d say, “The teacher said to get out your homework, Alex.” or “You’re supposed to open to page 30, Alex.” I thanked the little girl for being so nice, and told Alex after the party that he should kiss her ass! Sheesh. They’ll probably get married one day.

    I know, husband and I talked long and hard last night about inviting a friend here and there to do something “special” with us, like putt-putt or a water park. We don’t generally do that kind of thing, but we may start! And I’m with you about the Wii – I want to try FIT too! We’ve been thinking about getting one for C’s gross motor skills (it’s always nice to have an excuse to get these things!!!).

    Love the Alex story. If they do get married someday, you’ll have to be sure to tell everyone that story. Many times. It’s perfect. 🙂

    Reply
  • 3. robinaltman  |  August 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Maybe the Wii is a dumb idea, but I couldn’t think of anything else enticing.

    Reply
  • 4. embracingspirit  |  August 28, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    He WILL find his way, his own way of fitting in and finding success in his day. I beleive that! Keep up the great work, love and attitude…..believe! 🙂

    Thanks, friend. I keep telling myself that, but it’s nice to have someone else reinforce it!

    Reply
  • 5. goodmum  |  August 28, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    It’s heartbreaking to know that your child will struggle, but you’re doing everything you can do. Like you said, stifling his emotions is the last thing you want to encourage. I’m sure he will find one or two really special people to befriend so that he gets the opportunity to know what true friendship is and gets to share all the wonderfulness that is C with some really worthy people. Hug him for me. 🙂

    Yes, we’re definitely on the lookout for that one special friend. I know it will come – I just didn’t expect it to be so hard!

    Reply
  • 6. mama mara  |  August 28, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    So I’m not the only one who’s shot the evil eye at a child who’s done my baby wrong? Glad to know it. Sometimes at school, it’s so nasty. I feel like I’m watching a scene from Lord of the Flies Other times, I am awed by the kindness of the other kids, who see how my sons stand out and help them fit in.

    I’m SUCH a Momma-bear! I sometimes have to remind myself that those other kids aren’t inherently evil….lol!

    Reply

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