Has it been close to two years since my last blog entry?
(Looking at keyboard to avoid “eye” contact...and accountability)
Ohhhhhh, snap! I’m looking back and noticing my last entry was in MARCH. MARCH 2014. My lawd. My bad.
LaChan almost stopped encouraging me to write because I kept avoiding it. She was annoyed. Then, two things happened. We saw some good friends over the holidays - two of whom blog themselves - and we were discussing our own writing roadblocks. As we talked, LaChan reminded all of us about the rhetoric for OUR blogs (versus the rhetoric present in other blogs). Here’s the context - I was telling her how hard I found it to code switch my writing styles. It’s the difference between making a formal presentation to your professional colleagues and chopping it up with friends around the kitchen table with good music, wine, and an almost divisive, controversial topic.
She said to all of us, emphasis on ME (notice how I personalize EVERYTHING):
“...You are using your head when you write to your colleagues about research and what you are discovering through that research. But you have to write with your HEART when you are blogging. What is your heart telling you to say, in the midst of what you are discovering?”
As my man Ken Swain said in the moment - “LaChan drops mic and walks away”.
It was a cool moment.
The other thing that happened was an episode with my son that I’d like to share with you. It was CAAARRRRAAAAZZZZEEEE!
I’ve shared in another entry that with the new diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder, there might be some medical and mental health professionals who would not render an autism diagnosis for my son. That has essentially happened in the last year. And, while I understand this doctor’s rationale, I don’t agree and I respectfully (and firmly) told him why I disagreed.
Of course, we’re getting a second opinion.
The doctor we met that day told Avery and me - among other things - that he “beat it”.
You mean he doesn’t have autism anymore? You have to understand that autism in my house is like...is like…
...is like your uncle who moves in with you when you were a kid. You really don’t like him being there. Initially.
He’s like your mom’s brother who she can’t stand because he can’t get his stuff together. And your dad doesn’t like him because HE DON’T PAY NO RENT! Over time, though, you start to connect with him. His contributions may not be financial, but he contributes in other ways.
He pushes you to see things differently. He helps you see where you’ve got some areas for growth and and the way coaches you is a bit more finessed and sensitive than your parents’ way. Over time, his role in your family contributes to your family’s overall identity.
Sooooooo, you leaving? Now?
He’s told you this before. You know, in your private conversations, not the ones actually with your parents. Then, something happens to remind you that, THIS FOOL AIN’T LEAVING!!
I realized autism wasn’t leaving on Sunday. One of Avery’s major challenges is in executive functioning. Requiring him to plan how he will get to his classes on time, with all of books and supplies, with two chances to visit his locker in the process is...like...a trainwreck. He can get from A to B, but getting from A to D is a different animal.
So, peep this. We went to church yesterday (like we do every Sunday) and then to my grandmothers’ house to visit and watch a little playoff football. This schedule means that we don’t get home as early as we typically would if we weren’t visiting. Well, on this particular day, the dog wasn’t able to refrain from taking a dump in the house.
On Avery’s bedroom floor.
Unbeknownst to us, Avery comes downstairs telling me - in a really socially awkward way - that, “...I’m not sure, but I suppose Bentley pooped on my floor while we were at Grams’”
I respond , “What makes you think that, Avery?”
“Because I just stepped in poop”
“In your socks?!?”
“Yes. In my socks. But, I cleaned it up.” (I’m even more scared for the answer I’m about to get when I ask…)
“Cleaned it up with what?” (I thought I was calm but my body language clearly communicated something different)
“One of the hand towels. Then, I put it in the hamper because it was dirty.” (My word is my bond, I CANNOT make this stuff up.)
OF COURSE, he put it in the hamper, BECAUSE IT WAS DIRTY. Because that is what you are supposed to do with dirty clothes and towels.
Logical. Sequential. Linear.
Nevermind there is DOG SHIGGIDY on the towel in this boy’s hamper!
Did we recover? Yeah. Thankfully, he actually folded that nasty towel, so it didn’t touch his other clothes in the hamper.
You know I washed them anyway, though. Twice.
The doctor with whom we met a few weeks back told us that Avery may have executive function disorder, ADHD (for his distractibility...but he doesn’t present as hyperactive), and possibly mixed language disorder (which I totally dismissed). I shared that the combination of his symptoms (executive functioning challenges, perseverating and hyperfocusing, social challenges, and his developmental delay) all make a case for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, even if considered mild.
That uncle ain’t moving out. At least, not yet. Whether he decides to stay or go, I’m grateful for the process of getting to know and learn from him.
Happy New Year, yall!