Mrs. Totoro do you have a family member who has Autism?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by totoro, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    K's little classmate asked me this yesterday as we were walking to the car! :surprise:
    I should add that this is one of only 2 people that we have playdates with. The other girl has Autism.
    K2 has known K since 1st grade. They really like each other but K is unable to "play" with her... K really has no friends at school and has not made any ever.

    K2 is her friend because they kind of bonded in 1st grade and her Mom and I became friends and continue to make playdates once in awhile.

    Anyway- K2 had asked her Mom why K gets SO excited and grabs her and gets right in her face? Why she is SO loud when she is excited. :D:(

    Her Mom who I have explained a lot of K's issues to explained to K2 that K has Autism but that it is not severe, she tried to explain how some kids are higher functioning etc...
    She basically did a pretty good job of explaining it to K2. Their are I think 7+ special needs kids in the class with 4 who have Autism. K2 knows this.

    I said to K2 that yes K has Autism and K2 said is this why she is loud and gets in my face! LOL
    I explained why she does and how she is super sensitive and asked her if she remembers K crying in class and all of her other "super" emotions?
    She said yes. She then told me how how she was super sensitive and that she "wanted" to have Autism!!! ;)
    She was so cute and she said this was her secret and she wouldn't talk about it and that she gets angry at times and punches the walls.

    Her Mom was so nervous and was scared I would be mad. I told her quite the opposite, I was grateful that K2 knows instead of wondering what was "wrong" with K.

    The whole thing was actually pretty cute the way K2 responded and reacted to this.

    Even though in my heart it makes me sad that after years K still has no social boundaries and such limited control over herself at times.

    It also drives home the fact how in tune the kids are even though the teachers try to keep telling us they are not aware!:confused:
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    How very very sweet! I am always astounded at how open and loving a child's heart is, even when we are afraid that this will upset people. K2 reminds me very very much of a young Wiz going up to a man in a wheelchair at a community event. It had been a hassle for him to get there, some teens and college students were awful to him, making things harder and saying nasty things to him. Wiz could NOT be kept away from him (he was about 4), and went up, walked ALL the way around the wheelchair considering it very very seriously (you could almost SEE the wheels turning in his brain). I was so nervous that he would be rude or upset the man. He came around to the man's side and asked if it hurt a lot. The man asked if what hurt a lot, a bit guardedly. Wiz said he was asking about whatever the man did to get ... and here Wiz used both arms to gesture to the electric wheelchair. The man said yes, a lot, for a long time it hurt that bad. Wiz then, with all seriousness, said he was sorry the man hurt so bad but at the very least he got really cool wheels and didn't even have to wait until he got his driver's license! Wiz topped that by asking if the man raced in it, and was it just faster than a regular care or faster than a race car, and did he have to follow the speed limits that kept Mom driving like the little old lady that she is? (I wasn't even 28 yet!).

    Sometimes kids can look at things in a way that just doesn't occur to the rest of us, and express it in a way that makes us feel that we could learn a lot from these kids, and that they are amazing!
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Awwww! That's amazing and sweet. She's a keeper!
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We've become good friends with difficult child 3's speech therapist and her daughter. The mother & I get on very well; the daughter (now 11; about 5 when we first met them) is delightful, brilliant, talented - amazing kid. Very empathic, very motivated. We met soon after difficult child 3 was able to be told about his autism (he was finally aware enough to understand a simple explanation). difficult child 3 knows he is bright, he now understands why some tasks are difficult for him and why fitting in socially is a problem for him. But back when he was told, I think difficult child 3 was focussing mostly on his splinter skills.

    One day soon after he'd met speech therapist's daughter, difficult child 3 said to her mother, "Is your daughter autistic?"
    The mother was taken aback and (I think) a bit horrified and shocked at the thought her only, precious, brilliant daughter could be considered at all to have autism. "No - why do you say that?" she asked difficult child 3.
    "Because she's so very, very smart," he told her.

    The daughter, on the other hand, has grown up having an amazing understanding of difficult child 3 and sees him as a good friend. She had a difficult time believing there was anything wrong with him, until she saw his first tantrum and heard him use words she had never heard before! She was horrified - but understood a lot more.

    I do find that the kids who gravitate to our kids are ones with either a very high level of empathy and compassion, or they have some sort of connection to autism themselves. Either a family member with it, or they feel a kinship due to having some similar symptoms themselves. In the case of difficult child 3's friend, I think it's her genius-level IQ plus knowing she's a fish out of water among her classmates. I was also a bright kid who felt very alone when young, because other kids would resent my intelligence and put me down for it. I learned to hide it as much as I could but it was never enough. I was a child growing up in a family of adults and frankly, never did learn to get along with other kids, while I was a kid myself. I hated childhood, at least the social aspects of it. I don't have the same problems as an adult. Although I still find myself feeling impatient with people who seem to deliberately choose stupidity as a coping strategy. But I just back away from those, I avoid engaging them.

    Kids can be amazing. K2 may be simply a very bright child, feeling isolated with nobody on her mental wavelength. If she has connected with K, I would consider that perhaps K is brighter than has perhaps been recognised. Higher intelligence can also lead to more tantrums in High-Functioning Autism (HFA) - the frustration level is higher.

  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Duckie and her multiage classmates are very protective of the kids in their group that have autism. She is particularly concerned about one little guy that won't be in her class this year... so she can't look out for him. She is forever saying what a great kid he is and he's worth taking the time to know. It sounds like little K2 may feel the same about your K. :thumbsup:
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks for sharing your stories ladies! I love to read things like this.
    K2 is pretty empathetic. I know K could have a friend or 2 if - #1 she could be quiet and listen to her peers for a minute and #2 she didn't walk away half of the time!
    THe other big one is she forgets about who she likes or has a "connection" with one day and then the next just wanders around by herself. She also gets stuck in what a group may be playing and is SO inflexible about the fact that they don't want to play this the next day.... all of the same things we have been working on for years.

    Actually Marg- her IQ is very high and she is in 2 TAG classes this year. One of our big concerns with our public school system is that they aren't able to fully take the time to adapt the lessons and teach according to how she learns and comprehends different concepts.
    They just do not have the funding nor man power. They try but it is huge struggle.
    It is one of those, "I just wish someone understood her" feelings...
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Totoro, that has been one of the huge benefits for us of our form of home schooling. difficult child 3 can work at his own pace, which in some subject areas has been very fast. He's also had much more control over social interactions, which makes it easier for him to understand and manage socially. He interacts with a wider cross-section of community than if he were at mainstream.

    With what you've said, I suspect T2 is exceptionally bright but feeling socially isolated because of it. Even if other kids like her, she may be feeling bored by them, feeling that she can't fully express herself around them because so much of what is going on in her head, they wouldn't get.

    difficult child 1 used to be obsessed about birds (still is, I think). His best friend was obsessed about reptiles. difficult child 1 said to me once, "J talks to me constantly about snakes, I talk to him constantly about eagles, neither of us listens to the other and we get on brilliantly."
    But at some level they connect deeply. J was difficult child 1's best man and I believe now J is getting married, difficult child 1 is best man.
    Frankly, I never thought either of them would ever be able to live away from home, let alone each find a woman who wanted them.

  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks Marg-
    I know K will find a friend one day. You hit the nail on the head with the "neither of us listens but we get along brilliantly".
    She is like this but can actually play side by side for brief moments...
    Her peer group basically just doesn't have the patience for her even K2.
    Like most of our kids she does really well with younger kids or adults.
    Ahh, the stories that give me hope! I love them. Thank you