“People do things they haven’t done before all the time. That’s how progress happens.” (Leela Srinivasan, chief marketing officer for Lever)
In April 2015, I took my son for an Asperger’s evaluation. The therapist’s findings were heartening:
Based on performance with standardized testing, parent report and observation, [the child] exhibits a social communication disorder. The social communication disorder is characterized by inconsistent perspective taking, poor interpretation of nonverbal cues, and difficulty with problem solving for interpersonal issues. Using the Social Thinking-Social Communication Profile, factored with progress monitoring during the course of treatment, [the child] exhibits skills that most directly relate to the Weak Interactive Social Communicator. Some characteristics include: misses subtle cues demonstrated through nonverbal communication, difficulty with written expression and organizational skills, good language skills, and issues with anxiety.
It took me a few weeks to get up the courage to talk to the physical therapist about the possibility of autism in my son. I continued to read as much as humanly possible because I was afraid of making something out of nothing, and I didn’t want to seem like a hysterical parent.
After a therapy session one morning, I sent my son out to the waiting room to eat his lunch, and I asked the therapist point-blank, “Do you see any signs of autism in him?”
She said, “Not classic autism, no. But there are some things I’m seeing . . .”
A few months before my son started physical therapy for tight Achilles tendons, I took him to see a psychologist. His anxiety was getting the best of him, and I had reached the end of my knowledge on how to help. The psychologist was wonderful, but beyond having fun playing, the sessions weren’t helping the anxiety. In fact, it was growing worse.
Every day, he would get what he called “that feeling,” meaning he felt like he was going to throw up. Some days it would only happen a little; other days it would happen a lot. It got to the point that he started worrying before “that feeling” even came up, because he had come to expect it from his day. The “what-ifs” were constricting his ability to enjoy life.
(Read part one here.)
At the age of four, my son asked me to homeschool him. I agreed. Preschool just wasn’t working, and we still had time to experiment before we had to register for kindergarten.
The shift was amazing! No more sleepwalking, no more anxiety. Just learn, learn, learn! It was astounding!