I can not tell you when it happened. Not a specific date, or time. I can only tell you that something has happened. Part of me is scared to death to even say it out loud. For YEARS… and I mean YEARS I have been working, intervening, helping, pushing, guiding, loving my son who was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, and who also has ADHD.
Sometimes, believe it or not, it is very hard to tell the two things apart. I feel the two within my son work hand in hand (or in some cases, in polar opposition to one another). Some days have been tougher than others. However, most days have been tough.
They say he is “high functioning.” I hate that term. I find that some people just need more support than others for different reasons and different things. This is no different than in the neurotypical world. Some of us need alone time than others. Some of us need cuddle time more than others. Some of us need to be touching our significant other when in their presence, and some of us don’t have to touch at all. Does that make any of US “less” functioning than the others. We are just all very neurodiverse.
So, I don’t know when this shift happened. I am not sure I even know WHY this shift happened. All I know is, it seems as though a shift has happened (can you tell I’m still processing that this shift has happened).
My son has decided on his own, to take control of his body, mind, spirit, learning and needs. Yes. I said that. He has articulated his needs in ways I didn’t know he was able to (especially since the beginning he couldn’t speak). He has decided that it is time to step up and “Do this thing!”.
Here is just ONE example of what I mean by this shift:
In the past, in order to get ANY homework done, he needed someone to be sitting next to him, constantly redirecting him to sit down and do his work. Steve, sit down. Steve, do your work. Steve, read this question. Steve, common you need to read this question, then answer this question. Steve no, you can not bring your toys to the table, Steve…. and so it went. This happened all the way up until the the teachers gave up giving homework out for the last couple weeks of school last year, Third grade.
After declaring his preparedness to learn this year, Steve was handed his first homework assignment of the year. Without the help of an aide, Steve went straight to daycare and when told it was homework time, sat right down and did his work. He didn’t complete it but made a solid effort and articulated to the daycare person, he was going to complete the rest at home.
We got home, he sat down at the table while I was preparing dinner, he started to finish his assignment. We then ate dinner and left for his sister’s gymnastics lessons. Knowing he still had to do 20 minutes of grade level reading, pulled out his book and asked, “How long does it take to get to gymnastics?” I replied, “about 10 minutes.” He responded, “Ok, I’ll start reading now then can we sit in the car until my reading time is up? Then my homework will be done and I can start my screen time I earned.” My response…… was a wide opened mouth with no words.
When we got home from the gymnastics lesson, after the reading was complete and the earned screen time had been used, I asked a question that I thought for SURE was going to push Steve over the edge……… but I asked it anyway.
“Hey Steve, how about we start filling in those dates on the timeline project due Thursday now, so you have left to do tomorrow since you have soccer practice?” – I held my breath…. expecting the meltdown ANY second.
Instead, I got a resounding, “Sure Mom, that sounds good.” We did half of the project. Now he only has to write a paragraph about what he wants to be when he grows up. Secretly, I’m thinking he’s gonna be one hell of a lawyer, but I’m sure he’s going to say video game designer or something.
Again, I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know WHY it happened, and I am sure never going to ask how long its going to last. “Carpe Diem” to quote one of my favorite movies of all time. I am just going to seize the day with a giant smile on my face.