So after six weeks of doing the exercises 3-5 days a week, I'm seeing a few changes in the results I've written down. He no longer feels like he's still spinning after the chair stops and he's averaging 1-2 more curl-ups per minute than he was at Week 1. I'm not seeing any other changes either in his everyday actions or his exercises.
I've been reading quite a bit about Asperger's and someone recommended Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison. This is an *amazing* book. Some parts are laugh-out-loud hilarious and others are so heart-breaking it'll bring tears. Robison is a wonderful writer and a great story-teller.
Another book I've read recently is The Asperger's Answer Book: The Top 300 Questions Parents Ask. This is a helpful resource with information about everything from getting a diagnosis to ways to teach your Aspie child some of the social skills most people just know naturally. The one thing I didn't like about it is that it does not mention diet anywhere in the book, even though countless families have had great success with a gluten-free, casein-free diet. But it's still a good resource.
Sharing on this blog has been very hard for me. I don't like sharing personal information. I'm not just talking about my address and phone number. I mean actual personal information. If you're a facebook friend, you're probably thinking, "Yeah, right," because I'm posting all the time. But if you really think about it, I don't share really personal things on there. So putting my feelings here has been tough, but I felt like if I was going to reach other parents, I needed to be honest and open. So here's some more: The more I read about Asperger's in order to understand and help my son, the more I recognize myself. I'm not sure I'm far enough along on the spectrum to be officially diagnosed with Asperger's but I definitely have some Aspie tendencies.
I got along socially well enough and I had some great friends in school, but I also felt like I was on the outside looking in most of the time. Like I was missing something. Not as in "my friends aren't enough", more like some basic understanding was just out of my grasp. I don't feel comfortable looking people in the eye, but I've trained myself to do that because it's expected and I feel like if I don't look someone in the eye, they'll think I'm lying to them. Sometimes I still can't quite manage it, but most of the time, I can. I can't do small-talk or chit-chat. I always thought I was just rude. I didn't want to be or intend to be, but I just couldn't do it. Only in the past couple of weeks has it occurred to me that maybe I'm just not wired to do that. I still feel rude, because, again, it's something that's expected in our society. I can talk to people just fine - as long as I have something to talk about. Even in my writing, my thoughts sometimes run together without transitions because I just want to say what I want to say. Sometimes, I realize that it sounds too rough and I have to let the post sit for a day or two so I can come up with transitions to connect Thought A to Thought B.
I'm pretty good about catching nonverbal cues - I think. But that's because I've trained myself to watch for looks of boredom or lost interest because of a totally different factor that relates to someone else which I really *can't* share here.
I can never sit still; something's always moving. Right now, my foot is doing some weird thing and if I try to be still, something else will just start tapping or moving. Or the thing I'm doing with my thumbs as I type. I don't even know how to describe it. Just weird tics I've always had. I've never had the clothing sensitivity that my son has, but I do have to have room in my shoes to wiggle my toes. Have to. They can't just fit. They have to be big enough so I can wiggle my toes. I don't mind hugs as long as they don't last all day, but too much skin-to-skin contact makes me itchy. I could never figure out what was wrong with me. I love to snuggle with my kids, especially in the mornings when we first wake up. But when my son starts rubbing on me (because of his tactile issues, he is always wanting to touch someone), I get irritable. I feel like I'm coming out of my skin. I would think, "What kind of mother am I, that I don't want my child to touch me?" Then I would sit down and snuggle with him and think, "This is okay." The difference is *how* the contact is made.
So, while I started this journey hoping to help my son change the things we can and learn to cope with those we can't, I've ended up learning something about myself. And I feel the same way that I did when I got his diagnosis: In a way it's a relief, because you can finally point to a reason for all the things that just weren't making sense, but it's also a little scary because now you have this whole new "thing" to learn about.