Monday, August 6, 2007

He Just Is.

Written by BetteJo from A Bead A Day

“Sweetie I’ll be back in a minute, I need to keep an eye on the pizza.”

Y’know he didn’t even ask anything out loud. He just looked at me in horror. It took me a second and then I explained “Honey, I’m not actually putting my eye on the pizza. It just means I need to go into the kitchen to check on the pizza.” Relief flooded his face. My little literal boy was probably four-ish years old at the time.

He could read by then, which started when he was about two years old. There is something very startling about a boy that age in a diaper, actually reading. He would run from one end of the room to jump up on a chair, back down, across the room to the couch, up on that, back down again, only stopping when he would catch some text on the TV. He would stop, hopping from foot to foot never still, and would read whatever he saw.

“Oh he’s not really reading. He’s just memorized some words, or the commercials.” I got tired of saying “no, he is reading.” I would grab a magazine, a book, whatever was closest “Andy Honey, come here and tell me what this says, Sweetie.” He would stop what he was doing and look at what I was offering. And he would read it. Not always perfectly, but he would do it. And he understood it.

Hearing a pre-school teacher tell me that they didn’t think Andy would fit into their environment very well, maybe we should take him for testing, was frightening. Testing? What kind of testing. “Well” hemming and hawing, “we think he may be autistic.”

So there it was. Someone said it out loud. The precocious reading skills, the hyperactivity and the lack of eye contact, even the way he sat, were all indications that he truly was different. But autistic? There is no cure for autism! He is so smart – obviously I didn’t know anything about autism.

Having him tested just over twenty years ago, the diagnosis was hyperlexia with autistic tendencies. So what the hell did that mean?? I cried about it twice, once when I told my pediatrician the results of the testing and this tiny four foot ten inch Indian woman wrapped her arms around me and I bawled like a baby. Again that night in bed with my husbands back to me because he did not know how to comfort me. After that, we moved on.

There were no answers for anything I asked. Will he go to regular school? Will he be able to play and have friends and someday date and go to the prom and drive a car and get a job and do all the things I always thought my kids would do? Maybe, maybe not.

Oh my beautiful baby boy. So incredibly smart we never worried about his grades, mainstreamed in first grade, it was always the social skills and “normality” we worried about. He is twenty three years old now. We don’t talk about it as if he ever had any kind of diagnosis. He still learns things a bit differently than other people but he has his associate’s degree, a job, he drives a car, he has a website and moderates a second one. His sense of humor is wickedly dead on and quick and while it isn’t evident to the casual observer, he has a soft, sweet heart.

There were no answers to everything I asked. Only living, growing, learning with, and loving, my son Andy.

A Mom with two kids and a crazy amount of cats. New kid on the blogging block, selling jewelry online but more often, talking about whatever strikes me.

You can find me at


Lara said...

what a wonderful post, and informative for those who don't understand autism spectrum disorders. the most important thing is always just to love kids and find ways to help them learn, however they need. :)

Amanda said...

If only all children had the blessing of a parent like you. Lucky Andy, lucky you, and a better world for both.

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful post! Lara is right; you just keep loving.

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