I am the mother of two amazing boys. One has ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and the other has “autistic and attention-deficit traits”….which basically means that he has some aspects of ASD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) but not enough to get a full diagnosis.
The boys have deigned to give me permission to talk about them online, with specific instructions. I am not allowed to:
- Mention where we live
- Give you our phone number
- Tell everyone their real names
- Invite anyone to meet up in real life
So I guess all the internet safety social stories we’ve shared have sunk in and they are making sure I keep them safe online!
My eldest son is called James (names have been changed). He loves platypuses, bats, lego and film making. Yes, it is platypuses, not platypi. Because it comes from the Greek rather than the Latin. This is something he is very particular about.
James was diagnosed shortly after his third birthday. I noticed that he was not responding to his name consistently and seemed to be ‘in his own world’. He was very sociable with family and close friends but would become quickly overstimulated- even as a baby. He was very cheerful and smiley and he really loved his routine. He slept through the night at six weeks and had a nap from 1pm til 4pm every afternoon for two years. He was an angel baby and very content to play with his toys or read stories and just be in the same room as me.
My youngest son is called Max. He’s a little explorer! He loves tortoises, rabbits, books and art. His favourite painting is the tiger at the national gallery. It’s a post-impressionist painting by a french dude. Rousseau I’m duly informed.
Max was born 15 months after his brother and it became apparent that things would be different this time. He wanted adventure! I remember googling when he was nine weeks old ‘why does my baby want to look around all the time?’. Little did I know, this was the natural curiosity of a very alert mind. He positively raged against being unable to walk and get around. The first time he was taken to the swimming pool- well, I’ve never seen such a happy face. He was in his ring and kicked those little legs for all his might. He still is my water baby and loves to be on the move.
I realised he has attention issues when he struggled to focus on one task at a time. I assumed it was autism, but it’s actually more like ADHD. This was a whole new ball game. Two little chaps who were essentially opposite sides of the same coin- both with attention difficulties but one was prone to overstimulation, needed quiet and could hyper focus to the point of shutting everything else out; the other became bored very easily, needed to be stimulated and would flit from one thought process to another at the drop of a hat.
Both boys have amazing imaginations and it is fascinating to see how they use them and how their thought processes work. They complement each other beautifully when they are working together.
And it’s like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable mass when they disagree.