Well, it's been one helluva week, eh? Much like the rest of the country we watched in horror here at chez triv as the events of last Friday unfolded and our hearts ached as we thought of our own boys aged eight and nine at their own elementary schools nearby. Then somebody on one of the 24/7 news-o-rama stations said it--the shooter was on the spectrum and Cleetus hollered, "Oh, hell no!" and turned off the teevee. We don't know exactly what's coming, but we suspect and we don't want to hear it, no. It goes right up at the top of our joint "fuck that" list.
For those of you who don't know our younger son is on the spectrum. High functioning, but on there and we've had somewhat of a struggle this year. So, all of a sudden whatever rank speculation that may happen between the the talking heads would feel very personal and we couldn't take it. Just seeing that picture of that kid when he was young damn near killed me. Buttons buttoned to the top, shy eyes peeking from beneath that fringe of bangs and almost a smile...oh.
I can only talk about my kid. Yeah, he's different, he processes information differently than we do and he has trouble verbalizing his thoughts, but he's getting better at it. The thing I've noticed is that he's like a sponge, he soaks up information and stimuli very easily. So, I've made it my business to make sure that his world is full of kindness, sharing, empathy--love. This is something you'd do with any child in the course of raising them, but with a kid who misses the social cues? Oh, it's a production.
And we're lucky. From the time we first suspected the whole family has been Team Dan all the way. I've never had to attend a meeting without Cleetus by my side, my parents opened their house to a team of therapists coming through for several years, his older brother relentlessly pursued every play strategy that was suggested and over the last six years Dan has progressed. Yes, we've hit some bumps, but we've also had his diagnosis upgraded each time he's been seen by that fancy doctor who thought he'd never have original speech.
So, my kid had some trouble last year. His anxiety was getting in the way of his progress, it was looking like they wanted him medicated and they brought in the big guns to back that up. They brought in a psychiatrist to see him and then talk to us about our options...hmm. A lot of different medications. I told her I would take it under advisement. What I did was take the four weeks between school letting out and his summer program starting to work with my kid. And I kept working with him and by the time I met with his one on one towards the end of his summer program she told me it was like working with a different kid. She wondered if I had medicated him. I told her that I understood that medicating a kid might be easier than working through anxiety, but we weren't ready to take that step.
We met with his teacher in November, she was full of praise, but I think she would still like to see him medicated, just to "turn down the noise in his head." I struggle with this. Truly I do. I know what she's saying, but if he is progressing and not unhappy I can't see it. For now, I can't put an eight year old boy on the type of drugs they're talking. So, we go along, taking each day as it comes and working for the best outcome and only hoping that tomorrow's Dan is a little better than yesterday's.
Then a national tragedy happens and you think your heart is broken until they announce on the teevee that the shooter was on the spectrum and you find out it can break just a little more.