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Growing up with Autism

- 9 May 2009, 09:05

Excerpt from “Are We There Yet? Coming Full Circle with Autism”

“My children are my world, and it is my hope that by sharing with the world my sons stories and their differences that it will help those who do not understand Autism get a better feel for their differences and like me celebrate them. By sharing their stories it is my hope to open the doors for communication and awareness. There is nothing I would honestly change about my sons! They are my reason for being here on earth. All of my  sons God sent here to teach me and others a lesson in love and understanding”-Rebbekah White

Now I hit fast forward and Alex is 15 years old. He still has the same difficulties with social cues; he gets very upset if someone says something to him that is mean. He has over the years lost his temper and become aggressive to himself , however he is still a sweet boy and loves his animals, his brothers and family….the hardest thing for me as a mother to see is to see Alex reach a boiling point and lose control. The changes to him they happen are so fast, I have been told that the hormonal issues with Alex will be harder for him than a “normal” teenager (please forgive me I hate using that word but not sure how else to say it). When I watch his anger overflow or watch him explode I want to run to him, hug him and love him and tell him it is going to be ok. But I can only hug him on his terms still today. If I hug him when he doesn’t want to be hugged he goes limp in my arms.

The hardest part is seeing him so sad when he doesn’t fit in with his peers. He has told me that he doesn’t want to go out into the real world, because every time he does people hurt him. He is tired of people picking on him; he is tired of trying to fit in a world that doesn’t understand him. It is my hope that he will become a voice for others who have Asperger’s syndrome and that he will one day be able to share with people these feelings. For right now we are working on him journaling and trying to get those feelings out of his mind so he can learn to deal with these feelings of anger he has when others don’t understand him.

Below I am going to share a few of Alex  traits in an effort to explain more about what he faces each day and share with you as well his wonderful differences.

Differences from the rest of the “world”-the way people see Alex

  • Rude or inappropriate comments-doesn’t realize what is rude or inappropiate. It is a skill he is actively working on, and I am so very proud of him for starting to realize the differences.
  • Misunderstands facial expressions, confuses anger and happiness, easily frustrated
  • When younger would beat his head on the wall when he got frustrated or angry
  • Was a very crabby baby-only calm when he was wrapped in a certain type of blanket-holding him did not calm him down
  • Very picky eater
  • Can become aggressive when he is over stimulated-mostly aggressive to himself
  • Has a hard time understanding more than one task at a time
  • Doesn’t show out right affection-even for me it is hard to understand his moods and feelings
  • Draws away from physical touch
  • Did not like socks that went above the ankle or that have the stitching at the end of the toes-this is no longer an issue
  • Had a hard time processing numbers, letters and writing when younger but is steadily overcoming this
  • Handwriting that is more like a 3rd graders than a 9-needs to use a computer in order to turn in homework so his work can be read by the teachers
  • Has little or no patience-shows extreme frustration when he cannot get a project or a skill learned. This is steadily changing as we work on the skills and patience and he realizes that not everyone gets a task the first time. A work in progress.

The Wonderful Differences from the “World”

  • Loves to build things and take them apart, Alex has always been interested in how things work, to the point of taking apart home appliances to see the inside :) while this was very frustrating and upsetting to myself and my husband it was also a good thing because it showed curiousity and a wonderment of  learning how things worked
  • Loves animals-we have 14 cats LOL-we have found that having the cats helps Alex with a lot of his frustrations and helps to calm him when he has had a bad day
  • Is obsessed with Tornados-when he was 1 years old my brother gave him the movie Twister. Over the years we have gone through at least 5 copies of the VCR tape and 4 copies of the DVD till he finally turned to books and researching on the computer. You could ask Alex anything about Tornados and he could recite every fact and figure that he knows!
  • Wonderful gardener! Has more patience than I do when it comes to gardening. He has beaten my Father in Law with the best garden the past two years because of his hard work and concentration on finding what works. He researches new ways to grow better vegetables, takes great care with the garden and nurtures his vegetables like they were children or pets. I do believe that this will help him in life.
  • Loves to help everyone! When you tell him to do one thing at a time you know he can be counted on to complete the project or chore.
  • Nurturer-like I stated above Alex loves his cats. Recently one of our cats became a mamma and he watches over them like a mother hen.

There is so much more I could write about Alex, the one thing I really want to stress in all of this is that while the world may see Alex as a loner, or different or puts him down or shy away from him because of his differences. Alex has a lot to share with the world if only people would give him the chance! He is a wonderful boy who has a lot of love to share for those who truly understand him!

 


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