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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Smart like a dumptruck

This is a dump truck
 I love my boy.  I truly do.  But he can be a challenge most days and the occasional royal terror on other days.  In truth, it's not his fault.  He can't control least that's what we believe.  You see, my boy has (what many would consider) a far-end spectrum case of Aspergers syndrome.  What, pray tell is Asperger's?  Well dear reader, I'm glad you asked.

  The first thing I will state is that this is not a blog about Aspergers.  There are far worthier writers out there with much more experience in this field that cover that topic.  Instead, I'll just comment on it from our little neck of the woods. So....what is it?  Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, and people with it therefore show slight to significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

While the boy hasn't been formally diagnosed (we're in the process) he does demonstrate virtually every sign and symptom on the 'Asperger's checklist'.  This includes the repetitive behaviours including eye rolling, throat clearing and my personal favourite, the jumping chicken.  It's kind of hard to explain but close your eyes and imagine a kid flapping their arms like a chicken while quickly hopping into the air one time.  Amusing the first time you see it.  A little off the 600th time though.

The biggest challenge The Boy faces is the inability to connect on a social level with kids his own age.  You see, in his world, everything is black and white.  Shades of grey do not exist.  For example, if things aren't being  done the right way, then they are wrong.  Not needing improvement; simply wrong.  Now, couple that fact with the fact that The Boy has no inner monologue.  Meaning, he says what's on his mind and asks questions that most of us would only ask behind closed doors in the privacy of our own homes i.e. "If she's so fat, why would she eat another slice of cake Daddy?"  You'd be amazed at how quickly you can inflict brain damage to yourself by simply smacking the heel of your hand against your forehead repetitively.

  This last trait is the deal killer for him making a lot of friends.  In plain speak, The Boy can come across as an asshole.  Kids don't always like being told their wrong.  Especially by another kid.  But, as I said's not his fault.

Now let's talk about the positives.  He is unbelievably social.  With anyone.  At anytime.  He will never be short on things to talk about because (much like his Dad) he can speak for hours on end about everything and nothing.  I sense the future trimmings of a politician in his near future or perhaps a Trainer? *wink, wink*  He likes to interact in every social situation available to him.  This includes asking questions during guided tours at museums (Yes...he's THAT kid!).  He volunteers for talent shows even though he's not able/willing to practice a talent until the last possible second before the show.  For the record...he's extremely talented at singing which helps him save face in the long run.

 Lastly, he eats books.  What I mean by that is that he can devour a 300+ page book in about a day.  He's 10.  It's impressive to say the least.  Thank God library books are free.  Otherwise, I'd need to start selling bodily fluids to cover the spread.  At first I thought he was simply glossing over details and getting the gist of most books until he was able to recite specific details, plot lines and character traits back to me without even batting an eyelash.  Scary...but impressive.  He's not like that with most other elements of his life, but at times, he's able to recall events/details that happened to him as young as 3 years old.

 Please understand that it is part of the natural order of things for parents to traumatize their children.  It happens.  But when you have a kid that can remember the time when he-was-3-and-you-didn't-let-him-have-chocolate-milk-and-you-were-a-mean-daddy-because-I-wanted-chocolate-milk-and.....yeah.  You get the point.  He remembers.

So, what does this have to do with the title of the post Smart like a Dump truck.  Assuming you've stuck with my rant this far, I'll tell you.  A Dump truck is a wonderfully complex piece of machinery.  It has multiple moving parts and requires a lot of care and maintenance to keep it in good working order.  It has one or two practical functions which include either carrying or dumping.  It doesn't try and do more than it can because it can't do more than it's made to do.  You wouldn't ask a dump truck to do a three point turn on a one way street...because it can't.  You wouldn't ask a dump truck to stop being a dump truck.  It's awkward and obvious and difficult to maintain.  But if utilized properly; if allowed to do the one or two things it does extremely well, it becomes an essential part of the construction crew.  They can't operate without it....try as they might. 

My Boy is like that dump truck.  Horribly awkward at times but so essential to our family.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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