This month the From Left to Write Book club read Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff. The story was about a family and the secrets that come to the surface after the death of their nine year old boy in a tragic accident. It chronicles how the family gets back on their feet after their loss and how they slowly begin to return to their lives, learning how to live their lives without James.
We’re sort of re-learning how to live our lives too, only we haven’t lost our boy. We’ve gained a label, gained an answer, and gained some understanding.
According to Wikipedia the definition of Aspergers is as follows:
Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s syndrome or Asperger disorder (AD), is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported.
WebMD lists the symptoms of Aspergers as follows:
What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome? The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome vary and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include: Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation. Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting. Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
Communication difficulties: People with Asperger’s syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and p understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context. Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward. Skilled or talented: Many children with Aspergers syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.
Aspergers.com lists the treatment for Aspergers is as follows:
There is no specific treatment or “cure” for Asperger’s Disorder. All the interventions outlined below are mainly symptomatic and/or rehabilitation oriented. Psychosocial Interventions: Individual psychotherapy to help the individual to process the feelings aroused by being socially different Parent education and training Behavioral modification Social skills training Educational interventions
For hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity: Psychostimulants (methyphenidate, dextroamphetamine, metamphetamine), clonidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants (desipramine, nortriptyline), Strattera (atomoxetine)
For irritability and aggression: Mood Stabilizers (valproate, carbamazepine, lithium), Beta Blockers (nadolol, propranolol), clonidine, naltrexone, Neuroleptics (risperidone, aripiprazol, olanzapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, haloperidol)
For preoccupations, rituals and compulsions: SSRIs (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, sertraline), Tricyclic
For anxiety: SSRIs (sertraline, fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (imipramine, clomipramine,
ADHD is defined by WebMD as:
The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These are traits that most children display at some point or another. But to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, sometimes referred to as ADD, the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child’s age.
Adults also can have ADHD; in fact, up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children. When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity. In addition, adults with ADHD often have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.
Wikipedia defines ADHD as the following:
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, similar to hyperkinetic disorder in the ICD) is a psychiatric disorder or neurobehavioral disorder characterized by significant difficulties either of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), symptoms emerge before seven years of age. There are three subtypes of the disorder which consist of it being predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-HI or ADHD-H), or the two combined (ADHD-C). Often people refer to ADHD-PI as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD), however, the latter has not been officially accepted since the 1994 revision of the DSM. ADHD impacts school-aged children and results in restlessness, acting impulsively, and lack of focus which may impair school performance.
This is how I define Aspergers and ADHD:
Yes, that’s my boy. Yes, he has Asperger’s. Yes, he has ADHD. Yes, we’ve gotten a second opinion. And both doctors came to the same conclusion.
It’s not an easy thing to accept. Or an easy thing to talk about. Or an easy thing to understand.
But I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
Just this weekend he went with his Boy Scout Troop on his very first camp out, 4 1/2 hours away, without me or his dad. I worried and worried and worried, and cried and cried and cried, but he came home hungry, dirty and smiling from ear to ear. He had a FABULOUS time! And he hasn’t stopped talking about it.
Now we know why he does the things he does. Now we know why he’s obsessed with his video games, and why he loses his mind when something doesn’t work out the way he thinks it should or when he doesn’t understand something the first time around.
It’s because his brain doesn’t work the same way ours does. He expects to know the answer the very first time a problem is presented to him. He expects that his video games will always work and never break or malfunction or die.
People I’ve mentioned this to have said to me, “He’s just being a little boy.” Yes, he is, and I intend to keep it that way, but my little boy and your little boy and two different boys and my little boy is the one other little boys call “weird” or “strange”. And my little boy will be the one who will get bullied and picked on because he is “weird” or “strange”.
Unless I get him the help he needs.
One of the neurologists I saw told me that I have to teach him how to “mask” his “quirkiness”. He needs to learn how to hide what makes him who he is so he can fit better into society.
I’m not sure I agree with that.
I’m not sure I want that for him.
I AM sure that I just want him to be a little boy before is too late and he has to be a grown up.
I AM sure that I want him to have the best summer ever, every summer, and I will MAKE SURE that happens for him and his sister.
And I AM sure that he is MY little boy and I will love him NO MATTER WHAT.
God gave him to me for a reason, and I am honored to be his Mommy.
This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was written in response to Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff an ebook copy of which I borrowed fro the library for the purposes of this post. And no, you can’t steal my content, it’s called copyright, yo.
Copyright MasterMind Mommy 2013