Friday, April 18, 2008

Proud of My Son

My son, Eddie, is on the autism spectrum. He probably has Asperger's Syndrome (although this is not an official diagnosis), a form of high-functioning autism. He looks and acts pretty much like a normal kid. But, he has certain sensory sensitivities. I remember he didn't like to be touched on his feet or to have q-tips in his ears or have his nails trimmed when he was a baby and toddler. He also has really acute hearing and doesn't like the noise of things like vacuum cleaners or loud airplane engines. I think he has perfect pitch (he knows how to name a note when he hears it - not me, I'm tone deaf). He hand-flaps when he's excited. He likes to spin. But he's also really bright - he was reading by the time he was 4 years old and is now doing really well at school. He has some trouble with social interactions - like he doesn't like to make eye contact, especially with new people, and is not sure how to interact with his peers.

But, as I said, he's pretty intelligent. He does like to keep to a routine, so I try to accommodate that when I can. He does, however, have a problem with loud bells at school. Two years ago, we took him out of the public kindergarten for that very reason (don't ask - still burning about that one) and put him in a private one that didn't have bells. He's doing really well without the bells. But he still has to contend with fire drill bells once/month under state law.

For the past couple of years, the strategy was to have staff or a parent take Eddie out of the school for these fire drills. But Eddie and the other kids have gotten wise to this strategy and now know when they are having a fire drill. This month, they decided to see how Eddie would respond to NOT being pulled from the classroom. They tried this experiment today.

Fortunately, I had just finished with an appointment and parked my car near his school. When I got out of the car, I heard the fire drill. So, I walked onto the playground as the kids filed out and I saw Eddie standing in line. He seemed to be fine - he looked all stoic as he marched in line with the other kids. I hugged him as he passed - the poor guy was shaking like a leaf. I picked him up and he held onto me very tightly. He didn't cry so much as do that hyperventilating thing with the shaky breaths. I just hugged him and told him he did a great job and that I was very very proud of him. He just hugged me tighter as I carried him to his classroom. By the time he got to his desk, he picked up his book from the floor, sat down, and returned back to work like nothing happened.

He really did a great job. I was just glad to be there to tell him so. The principal, the secretary, and the teachers will reinforce the message, too. This was a real milestone for him!! Yay, Eddie!


Carver said...

Hi Dee,
Way to go Eddie. That is such an accomplishment and that's great that you could be there to congratulate him. I'm also glad that he's in a supportive school environment. Carver

Dee said...

Thanks, Carver! I am very glad he's in a supportive school environment, too. It's made my life a lot less stressful!

mynameischarlene said...

Yay for Eddie! That's fantastic!!! Kudos on the supportive environment! Isn't it wonderful that you've found a school that is supportive? That's hard to come by in these parts...
Let Eddie know that the Snow is finally melting here and there several lakes about town! We've had so much snow this year I'm sure our street will be swamped. We probably live in the only place that no one is brave enough to cross the puddles because theres ice underneath during this time of year.