“I never would have guessed”

Or “Well don’t all 4 year olds do that?”

I get both of those a lot.  Like I am making it up that my son has autism.  Believe me, I’d rather he didn’t.  and for a long time I thought it was just him being an active boy reacting to the stress of moving more than once cross country in a single year.

But take a closer look.  He has the emotional stability of a 2 year old (not me over reacting, this is according to the Tucson school district’s evaluators).  Yes he has language (no not all kids with autism are nonverbal) but listen closely, the majority is memorized lines from TV with no relationship to present events or lines rearranged from TV to suit the current situation.  Very little of his language is original thought.  When he does interact with others he has irrational aggression towards them.  But unless it is a game of chase you are not likely to see him interacting with others.

Now someone seeing him for 15-20 minutes on a good day will not hear the same monologue/dialogue over and over that we’ve heard for the last 3 days.  They will not see him intentionally avoid groups of kids to play by himself on a repeated basis.  And they will most likely not see the major meltdowns that occur when he doesn’t get his way or feels he’s being treated unjustly. 

So of course “You’d never guess.”

But try living with him, there’s something different.

5 comments on ““I never would have guessed”

  1. It isn’t always easy for people to understand how different our children are from neurotypical kids. They look so “nomal,” and this is both a bane and a boon.

    Thank you for sharing some stories about your son. My thirteen-year-old was once four too, and I certainly miss those times (okay, scratch the tantrum parts, haha). But life with autism is a life with grace, as you know only too well. Keep the faith always.

    Hello to wordpress and hope to hear from you sometime.


  2. Thank you for your comment. Yes it is a blessing and a curse that he looks normal. Of course when it is a bad day and his behavior is outrageous I can either look like a bad parent who can’t control her child or I can pull the sympathy card and tell a complete stranger that he has autism.

  3. Sigh. Those 15 minute snippets are so hard. I’m an SLP and was watching a kiddo last weekend at a party and I was really concerned that a Kindergartner had his particular language skills (decreased). I watched for a while and then the bell in my head went off – sure enough – He wasn’t 5 – he was getting ready to turn three – he’s just REALLY physically advanced.

    Welcome to wp 🙂 It’s fun.

  4. So true — so many parents of autistic children will be able to relate to your story. I look forward to more of your blog entries!

  5. I can so relate. My 3.5yr old twin girls have PDD-NOS, and I hear that stuff all the time. My mother in law actually *encourages* my one daughter to stim and spin in circles, telling me that “all kids do that”. Try to explain to her that its not that she does it, but the frequency that differentiates it. I feel your pain.
    I love your blog, and I’ll be back!

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