Thursday, November 15, 2012

Youtube, Max, Big Bang Theory, IEPs, and dinosaurs

The other day I had a very memorable encounter with my little Aspie, Marty. We were both sitting on the couch. He was watching “youtube” on the living room TV, and I was doing something on my laptop. Marty has been fascinated with the fact that he can watch his favorite youtube videos on DirectTV. He even waits patiently until I am done watching my favorite shows [well, he still asks every 10 minute, but at least he is able to contain the yelling – I can deal with the aggression-free nagging]. He’s growing up. He likes to know that I’m interested in the things that he likes. As we sat side-by-side watching Pinetree Junction on youtube, Marty would comment about different things and look over to see if I was paying attention. He seemed so happy. I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the forehead; at that moment I was so proud of my child. In spite of his challenges, he has genuine moments of happiness, and I am so glad that I get to witness this.

Earlier in the week, I had a conference with my oldest son, Max’s teacher, the school psychologist, and school counselor about my concerns with Max’s inattentive and sluggish behaviors at home. Well, come to find out, Max, is a socialite and quite the “chatter bug” at school. Because he is such a good student, his teacher puts up with him. He will always comply when she has to remind him to remain seated and stop talking; he is the first to finish his work, and usually tries to socialize when his work is done. Thankfully, his teacher allows him to read books while she instructs the rest of his classmates. She commented that she can tell that Max “checks out” once he has completed his work and pretty much tunes her out while she is giving the lesson. She suggested that he may be bored and probably needs to be tested for the gifted class. My response, “No thank you, I already have enough problems getting him to finish his work at home.”  I can’t imagine having to deal with him having additional homework and more responsibilities just to be able to say that he is “gifted”.

Max’s teacher confided in me that she has a daughter with ADHD Predominately Inattentive, and her daughter wasn’t diagnosed until middle school. She is currently on medication. Perhaps this is why Max’s teacher has patience for Max’s moments of impulsivity. He is a good kid that really seeks to please his teachers; most of his teachers praise him for his good manners, kindness, and willingness to help his other classmates; however, his flighty behaviors at home are driving me bananas. Subsequently, I left the meeting with a pamphlet about ADHD, a couple of useful ADHD websites, and a recommendation to see Max’s pediatrician. Because Max is above average, the school system cannot do anything in terms of seeking a formal diagnosis. Max’s ADD tendencies do not affect his school work…Yet. However, it was nice to have the validation of my feelings. I guess having a diagnosis is really not that important until he needs medication or an IEP or 504[Individual Education Plan].  I must admit I often chuckle at the idea of having one child that is a social butterfly and another child that is usually socially inappropriate.

On another note, I’ve been watching the “Big Bang Theory” and I am very surprised at how entertaining it is. At first, I thought it was all about poking fun at the “nerds,” but after watching it, I can see how it showcases the cheerful lives of some individuals in society that are socially awkward; they deserve the limelight too, right? Sheldon is a high-functioning autistic adult on overdrive, and his room-mate Leonard has the compassion of Mother Theresa and the patience of Job. The other characters all have their quirks, but I think Sheldon is the only ‘diagnosable’ one. The Indian guy appears to have Selective Mutism though; a disorder that is rarely explored on TV. And, I bet that Penny has a touch of ADHD, too. Any whoo, it gives me great pleasure to watch, “The Big Bang Theory” and to have hope that my little Aspie will have a place in this world, be proud of his diffability, and have like-minded and sympathetic friends to share his life with.

Thankfully, Marty now has an IEP to help him develop his social and adaptive skills. So he’s now in ”the system” as a special needs kid. I’m sure his dad will be proud. Not. Hopefully, dear old Aspie dad can pull his head out of the hole of denial that he dug for himself so that we can work together to do what is best for our child. I’m also hoping that he [Aspie dad] takes the fact that his children need health insurance more seriously because both children have now been referred by their schools to see a pediatrician. In the event that I secure a full time job soon, I plan to get a divorce and work on getting me and my children insured.  On a more positive note, my mom is coming to town for the holiday. I am looking forward to having her company, shopping Black Friday, and gorging on her fabulous cornbread dressing and greens, yummy. Marty loves his grandma, but is often fearful that she might spank him. And in many cases of his inappropriateness she does. LOL. She’s old-school, but quickly evolving to consider the unique needs of her special grandchild. Speaking of Marty, he is slowly adopting a new interest: Dinosaurs. Well, can’t say I didn’t see that coming, but it is nice to talk about something other than trains.

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