Saturday, February 23, 2013

Marty on the spectrum

I can finally say with confidence that my son Marty has autism. Tears. Yesterday, Marty and I met with 2 developmental pediatricians, a retired school psychologist, a licensed social worker, and a mom with a child on the spectrum. The lead doctor said that she felt comfortable saying that Marty was on the Autism Spectrum. She even agreed to write a letter stating this, so that he can get further testing with the county’s school board’s designated psychiatrist. The retired school psychologist provided me with helpful tips to manage Marty’s meltdowns. She recommended that I ask for more visits from Marty’s special education community teacher as two 30 minute monthly sessions is probably insufficient in serving the educational needs of a student with autism. The social worker provided me with resources and encouraged me not to beat myself up; she reminded me that Marty is still young and we are ahead of the game. She stated that many of her clients have teenage children that are newly diagnosed with autism. The doctor conferred that Marty has great potential. When I shared Marty’s dad’s background and his experiences with the local autism clinic for adults, the doctor was surprised that Marty’s dad had managed to accomplish so much. “He’s successful.” She asked if I felt comfortable with asking Marty’s dad’s mom to share some of the things she did to successfully raise a child on the autism spectrum. "Hmmm, probably not." When I commented on how I felt that Marty’s dad was not only in denial about Marty’s condition, but he also refused to acknowledge his own Aspie related challenges, the doctor replied, “That’s part of having autism.” I guess I have to remind myself that Aspie dad is not likely to relate to my views of his autistic behaviors; it’s not part of his make-up.

So with the confirmation that Marty is an Aspie or “on the spectrum,” I feel a little bit relieved.  I finally have validation of what I believed about Aspie dad and our Aspie son. Years of research and continuing education, devoting my life to finding resources to help my son has lead to this justification of my work. Yay! Now, I can tell those well meaning friends and family members who declare, “ain’t nothing wrong with that boy, he just needs a spanking,” to kick rocks and go pick up a book on autism before they give me anymore reckless advice on parenting a special needs kid. Smile. Soon I will feel free to post pictures of my beautiful little Aspie and rid myself of the painful obligation to keep Aspie dad’s image autism-free. As I share my life story being married to a man on the spectrum, I try to be sensitive to Aspie dad’s needs for privacy, so I don’t post pictures of my family. But, one day I will. I am proud of my boys. They brought meaning to my life. In spite of the hardship I have endured for the past ten years, I love being my sons’ mommy. I am not resentful toward their dad (anymore). I respect him and value his commitment to his boys. So before I ramble too much, I just want to say that this blog has been a life-saver for me. It allowed me to share my personal feelings, my experiences, and my opinions about all things autism. I appreciate everyone that reads my blog, and I am hopeful to gain more knowledge and do more things in the autism community.
I will close with an account of a recent encounter with Marty after he left me dazed and confused by his rowdy behavior at the mall.**** Exhausted from the experience of Marty “gone wild” on a sugar high, I get in the car and ask that no one speak to me…especially Marty. Of course he ignores my request and commences to ask and say inappropriate things in an attempt to make his impulsive older brother laugh. I yell that I am changing my name to NOTMARTYSMOM. Marty pauses, “so, you are only Max’s mom?” “Yes,” I scream before the guilt and regret sinks in, “why would I say that to my baby” boo hoo hoo; I am such a horrible mom. So, Marty leans forward in his booster seat, “Hey NOTMARTYSMOM can we go to ToysRus?” WTH? Max burst out laughing. I relax and realize that I did not just scar my son for life. “Thank God for the Aspie brain.” Nonetheless, Marty called me NOTMARTYSMOM, followed by tactless laughter, for the rest of the afternoon. It was quite annoying.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Thanks for sharing. I am a black momma with an aspie boy and I can relate to the car ride and asking my kid to stop talking to mommy for just a little while... And indeed he keeps right on asking about the solar system or whatever his focus is that day! Go you for being liberated from the opinions of others. I am still trying to ( intellectually) tell folks to kick rocks in reference to their assessment of our son's behavior.