Many of you know of Noah’s autism diagnosis. I will, in time, go deeper into our trials and tribulations with this topic but it’s so overwhelming for me sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Also, I have the fear of looking like I want pity for our situation but nothing could be further from the truth.
It is difficult where I sit. Or at least that is how I feel. It is like I don’t quite fit into the “special needs mom” community but a little outside of the “typical mom” circle as well. In that sense, it is a bit lonely somedays. If you have ever been a stay at home mom you know it can be isolating in itself, it just gets darker sometimes. Especially when he was younger. (That sounds worse than it is but the best way I can describe it) Overwhelming, maybe.
Noah has a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism (not to be confused with Asperger’s). He is, for the most part, like any other soon to be 8-year-old boy. He struggles the most with recess. He does pretty good in almost all other areas. The main reason is most settings in a school environment are planned and recess is “free play”. I had never thought about it before Noah. And who would I suppose?
Let me explain this particular characteristic of autism. Some kids with autism prefer to be alone. You will read this as one of the characteristics of autism. Loner. That being said, there are times when he prefer alone time.
For example, we have cookouts and all the kids will be playing, Noah is right in the mix. But then he’s done. Sometimes, I recognize times when he needs some “quiet time” and I will address the situation. (Quiet time, a snack, etc.) Other times he will just go do his own thing and I have learned that is ok. We all need alone time. He just needs it a bit more.
All this being said, Noah is a typical boy. He loves to play with other kids!! He talks about the kids in his class and at his school all the time. Noah said just Sunday “I love our neighborhood because I have friends here, right?” I said “You are right”. And he does. Everybody loves Noah!!! He’s just a great kid.
Where things get blurry is, he doesn’t know how to lead “play”. He also has a hard time maintaining “play”. He told me today “I ask my friends to join me to play but they said no”. I know this sounds formal but that is part of his social skills to learn how to play and that is what he is taught to say. Many days he does play tag, school, or whatever but I can imagine that the majority of the time he is wandering the playground. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t mistreated. The kids don’t do it on purpose. It’s just the way it is I suppose. Still, it breaks my heart in two.
Other things that has just become our way of life but to an outsider seems different are: Before bed every night Noah has to tell JP “goodnight” and JP has to have his pacifier in his mouth. We have a whole skit thing. It goes like this….
Noah: “I love you JP”
Me (in my pretend JP voice): “I love you too Noah”
Noah: “Good night JP”
Me : ‘Good night Noah with my blue pacifier”
Noah: “See you in the morning JP”
Me: “See you in the morning Noah”
This has to happen! If not Noah cannot go to sleep.
Most of you know how much I love basketball games. We rarely get to go to games because Noah will not take his hands off his ears. He obsesses about the clock and the buzzer.
One of my big pet peeves with people when I’m talking about Noah is when people say “I know what you mean…” or “My _____ does that too”. And, I know what you mean but no they don’t. I’m not trying to get a badge or out parent you, but you have no idea unless you have lived it.
Now, don’t freak out if you have said this to me!! I get it!! I honestly do. It’s just different.
I use to think all the time that God made a huge mistake making me Noah’s mama. I am impatient, sarcastic, unorganized, scatter brained, you name it!!! But, I now believe He knew exactly what He was doing. Noah has taught me patience. We almost always have a schedule and somewhat organized household. As for the sarcasm and joking, well, I am teaching him that….