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Congratulations, You’re Cured!

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Perhaps you’ve noticed my conspicuous absence the last week.  Or maybe you didn’t notice at all (asshole).  Either way, it’s because I’ve been mulling things over.  The mulling of anything is never good, by the way.  It’s a known fact that “mulling” is a completely useless expenditure of time.

I’ve been mulling autism, which is a pretty big chunk of meat to mull.  You see,  our ABA therapy with Drew, the grad student, ended last week.  I realize many people would be concerned that the hallmark of autism treatment was coming to an end, but I was feeling quite relieved.  Not only was I getting my schedule back to normal, and would no longer have appointments 6 days each week, I also wasn’t completely convinced that it was helping.

What!?  ABA helps everyone with autism!  Well guess what, with my child, the technique seemed to produce more anxiety and an escalation of behavior much of the time (see my post about holding the demand).  There were some useful tools that we walked away with, but I wouldn’t say that the entire approach worked for Connor.

In addition, a couple of weeks ago we forced a medication change, and saw dramatic results.  Connor is much more pleasant and cooperative than he’s been in a year.  However, since this coincides with the end of ABA, there were some unexpected results.

During our final meeting with Drew, he brought over some questionnaires for us to complete with him.  One of them was the CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale), which measures “symptom severity through quantifiable ratings based on direct observation.”  We completed it together and Drew tallied up the results to share with us before leaving.

The results?  Connor doesn’t have autism.  Nope, not even mild.  He’s cured!!  It’s a miracle!!!!!

But he still struggles with reading and writing, and doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, and doesn’t like the sound of the vacuum, and doesn’t understand metaphors, and is very literal.

Of course, he’s never fit any particular category very well.  Except for ADHD, that one REALLY fits.  But as for the rest, it’s always been mild and very hard to define.  This makes it really hard to decide what services he needs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  There are so many kids that have it much harder, with greater challenges.  I get that.  But even though whatever “disorder” he has is mild, it is still a challenge.  Especially when you can’t define it.

Autism?  Asperger’s?

Who knows.

And what will I blog about if there are no autism shenanigans?  Maybe I will have to start a whole new blog that consists of really bad drawings.

Hmmm, on second thought…

If it’s not autism, then we also stand to lose out on some other great perks:

1.  We won’t get to attend the annual Autism Picnic, where Connor gets to look like a shining beacon of model behavior.

2.  I will have to admit to my mother that she was right all those times she said, “there’s nothing wrong with him, he’s just an active boy.”

3.  We will lose our rightful claim to the coveted Disney Fast Pass, and will be stuck waiting in long lines with the NT kids.

4.  We won’t have any excuse to avoid “playdates” with other kids, other than the fact that I don’t so much like other kids.

5.  Instead of blaming his eccentricities on autism, I’ll just have to admit that he’s weird.  He got that from his dad.

But I remind myself that this is a spectrum, and I’m sure my child falls somewhere on it, if only at the mild end.  So I haven’t quite decided to hang up my “closed” sign yet, but will see what I can possibly find to write about now that my child is “cured”

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Yesterday Drew began working with Connor on his tone of speech.  We are supposed to ignore Connor when he yells or whines, and respond to him when he uses an appropriate voice.  This is much harder than one would think, because I never realized that he whines SO MUCH.

And then I started thinking, “do I whine?”  I decided I would make a conscious effort to speak in a tone that is devoid of emotion hence, no whining, no sarcasm, no ironic observations.  This is killing me, and I find that if I’m not busy pointing out life’s little absurdities, tinged with a soft hue of sarcasm, then I have very little to say.

Now when I speak, I sound like a robot.

I’m dating myself, but I keep thinking back to that robot from the old TV show, Lost in Space.

Instead of the robot voice saying “Danger Will Robinson,” imagine it saying, “Good morning, what would you like for breakfast?”  Or, “Wow, that is an interesting purple velvet pantsuit you have chosen for your attire today” (said to a coworker with an interesting flair for fashion).

It’s just weird.  But since we want Connor to learn what “appropriate” speech sounds like, I guess I should actually model that kind of speech.  If Connor would just learn to be sarcastic and witty, instead of whiney, this would not be a problem.  The sacrifices we make as mothers……

During one of the “trials” yesterday, Connor ended up so mad that he was lying on the floor, crying and yelling, because he was being ignored.  If I have to keep this up much longer, I think I will join him on the floor.

Lost in Space

Let's use a grownup voice.

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