I hesitate to write this. It’s such a sensitive and fueled topic. But I’ve always been open about our journey on the autism spectrum. To censor that now would make me feel I were lying by omission.Nothing written here is intended to make any comment on what happened at Sandy Hook, nor on anyone involved. This post is about OUR son, and how he has reacted to what he’s heard.
I have a habit of turning on the Today Show every morning while getting the herd fed, and well, herded out the door to school. I like to hear what’s going on in the world, get the news updates, and check out our weather before rolling on with the day. If you watch the Today Show at all, you know they lead with the news (the serious news). Normally, this does not present a problem. My kids, at 13, 12, and almost 10, are pretty well versed in current events. This morning, they were talking about the interview with Adam Lanza’s father, reporting how he had said he felt the Asperger’s diagnosis his son had may have “masked potential schizophrenia.” (credit Scott Stump, Today contributor, and Andrew Soloman, who interviewed Mr. Peter Lanza) Almost immediately, Little Man – who is very aware of his autism diagnosis – asked me what schizophrenia is. I didn’t have a good answer for him. I’ve never researched it, never had a real definition, never dealt with it nor known anyone who has dealt with schizophrenia. I told him we would look it up after school and talk about it.
I think I know where his brain is going, and it has had me somewhat paranoid all day. I am afraid he’s thinking he either is or will be schizophrenic. That’s where he goes with things. And he’s had a couple of significant rages in the past four days. He has never, ever hurt anyone, nor any of our pets, while in a rage. Friday, he tore up some Lego direction books, a couple magazines, and broke a bunch of pencils, then threw them all over the family room. Saturday, he tore up more Lego books, and had started to strip his bed when I stopped him. It bothers him when he’s had an episode. He is so apologetic and tearful afterwards. He can’t verbalize his emotions, but must let them out. But he worries about it, constantly.
I need to be more careful about what he sees and hears. He takes it in, so deeply, and then he worries he will be the same way. We tell him that everyone with autism is as different from everyone else with autism as neuro-typical people are different from other neuro-typical people. And I reminded him that Adam Lanza likely had a LOT more going on that just having an autism spectrum disorder, although we will never know for sure. I know I will need to answer his question after school today, or he will dwell on it for days and weeks on end. I’ve been mentally prepping for this conversation since I dropped him off at school, doing my own perseverating on the topic.
And now for the NaBloPoMo topic of the day: How has blogging changed your life? Tell us one thing that is different now from before you started blogging.
This one is pretty easy. Blogging has given me friends across the country and around the world. I started blogging on a parent support site in 2005. All the people in that community had lived what we lived, to one extent or another. They all “got it.” Blogging enabled me to obtain the support, encouragement, advice, and hope I needed. I could say what I needed to say….things I couldn’t necessarily talk about with anyone who hadn’t lived the NICU, premature birth, bedrest, and everything that goes along with all of that. When I moved my blog here, my world broadened. Writing has enabled me to see inside my own mind. In the midst of that, I still get feedback, support, advice, hope, and encouragement, even when writing about the most mundane things ie a ten-mile run. I’ve learned so much about so many things. I have laughed and cried with people I have never even met face-to-face. I am reminded daily we are not alone in our journey, be that journey with autism, prematurity, parenting, writing, running, or just plain living. I’ve learned that while the world is immense, we are all just people in the end, with a commonality that is often downplayed.