The three year old boy was running across the wide street, eyes forward, seeing nor sensing any danger. He had escaped, gotten away and it didn’t matter how or what happened afterward. He was free.
My friend was shaken to her core, sobbing, and trembling like a baby bird because it had been her three year old boy running across the busy street just in front of her house. It had been her, clad in who knows what, running like a woman possessed for the child of her bosom.
The last time she had checked on George, he was safely playing with his brother IN the locked house, and minutes later was almost the casualty of an awful accident.
The question is, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Is my friend a “bad mom?” Had he been taught no boundaries? Or is George a “bad kid?”
None. He drew the genetic lottery and lost…sort of.
George would have made a great longitudinal study for some awesome scientist because it is very likely that he SHOULD have had full blown Asperger’s. Let me explain, but first, a super quick run down of the spectrum, Asperger’s and autism:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a group of developmental disorders. ASD includes a wide range, “a spectrum,” of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability.
People with ASD often have these characteristics:
Ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others
Repetitive behaviors as well as limited interests or activities
Symptoms that typically are recognized in the first two years of life
Symptoms that hurt the individual’s ability to function socially, at school or work, or other areas of life
People whose symptoms were previously diagnosed as Asperger’s syndrome or Autistic Disorder are now included as part of the category called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).-https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml
After several occasions in which George displayed awful, disobedient behavior (he appeared to be a very bad boy), I made the horrific and very arrogant suggestion that maybe George had Asperger’s as evidenced by the behaviors which were actually symptoms. George had very poor impulse control, got overwhelmed easily, got lost in his own head playing, had instant NEEDS, and sometimes acted like he didn’t hear you.
Now if this had been me, I would have been like, “Wait are you saying there’s something WRONG with MY BABY? Back off sister or I’ll have you for breakfast.” I’d also probably be breathing fire.
Luckily my friend is much more sensible, and perhaps sensed herself that something wasn’t quite right. Either way, they took George to my favorite doctor ever, a Functional Neurologist.
I was not present at any of the appointments and don’t know all the specifics, but I was very close to right in my diagnosis (who needs an actual degree in medicine? Totally tongue-in-cheek here!). She said he had sensory processing disorder which is like a degree better than Asperger’s which is a degree better than autism (better in reference to symptoms and ability to function socially, not personal value).
What the functional neurologist also said is what I find most astounding…Because we caught it so soon and if we treat him now, he won’t have Asperger’s.
WAIT! WHAT? You can stop the development? You can help? Talk about life-altering. At the time, I had no idea that early detection could reduce the progression and even restore some function (brain). I’m not a doctor and don’t know if this is possible in every case…but seriously, WOW!!
He wasn’t running from danger. There was no abuse or horrific story behind him, chasing him, making a dangerous situation look safer. George was running from his feelings. George was overwhelmed and scared. George had absolutely no understanding of danger. In fact, to George, danger didn’t even exist.
As a parent, I have no idea how you live with that on a day-to-day basis. Do you invest in a lot of padlocks? Put alarms everywhere?
What functional neurology, early detection, and several other supplemental therapies gave George and his parents is the ability to go out to eat, cross a street safely, stop buying diapers because he could finally be potty-trained, and enjoy relationships with other people.
They were able to retire the padlocks!
So when you are out enjoying life and a little terror of child comes out of nowhere followed by an exhausted looking mom, don’t be too harsh. Yeah, she might be a crap mom with an out of control child…we all know there’s quite a few of those out there; BUT she also might be the most loving, devoted mom ever with a child on the autistic spectrum and if that’s the case…you better start clapping (especially if the child is actually dressed, not wearing diapers, and in no apparent danger)!!!!
Momming is the hardest job ever. Momming a child you love dearly who has some sort of disability is a job only for FREAKING SUPER MOMS….Hats off to you, ladies! (There is no mention of the dad’s here because it just didn’t come up. They’re pretty damn awesome too)
Here’s a quick rundown of what Sensory Processing Disorder looks like:
Hypersensitivities to sensory input may include:
Extreme response to or fear of sudden, high-pitched, loud, or metallic noises like flushing toilets, clanking silverware, or other noises that seem unoffensive to others
May notice and/or be distracted by background noises that others don’t seem to hear
Fearful of surprise touch, avoids hugs and cuddling even with familiar adults
Seems fearful of crowds or avoids standing in close proximity to others
Doesn’t enjoy a game of tag and/or is overly fearful of swings and playground equipment
Extremely fearful of climbing or falling, even when there is no real danger i.e. doesn’t like his or her feet to be off the ground
Has poor balance, may fall often
Hyposensitivities to sensory input may include:
A constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s inappropriate to do so
Doesn’t understand personal space even when same-age peers are old enough to understand it
Clumsy and uncoordinated movements
An extremely high tolerance for or indifference to pain
Often harms other children and/or pets when playing, i.e. doesn’t understand his or her own strength
May be very fidgety and unable to sit still, enjoys movement-based play like spinning, jumping, etc.
Seems to be a “thrill seeker” and can be dangerous at times