Autism Thoughts

Reminder: Tomorrow is the last day to bid in Brenda Novak’s Auction for Diabetes Research.  I’ve donated an autographed copy of Stepsister Scheme and a critique of a novel chapter or short story.  Go forth and browse!  There’s a ton of great stuff up for bid.


I mentioned a few weeks ago that my son (alias: Jackson) met his school’s criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We had the IEP (individualized education program), which went wonderfully.  He’ll be in a mainstream kindergarten class next year, but we spent ninety minutes talking about his behaviors and some of the things they’ll put in place to help out.  I expect next year to present new challenges, but I’m cautiously hopeful.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself: I can say Jackson is on the Autistic Spectrum.  I can say he has Aspergers Syndrome.  But I have a really hard time saying he has autism.  My brain just rebels at that point.  (I edited this paragraph slightly for clarity.)

Part of this is probably the evolving nature of the diagnosis.  When I first learned about autism, there was a clearer line between autism and Asperger’s.  My sense is that this is changing, moving more toward the broader autistic spectrum diagnosis.  Mostly though, it’s just hard for me to accept that label for my son.  One of the things I’m working on in my brain…

We’ve looked into getting services to help him over the summer.  But of course, autism isn’t covered by our insurance.  We’ve been looking into one program that has been highly recommended; ten sessions would be a total of $3000.

Three grand.  For ten sessions.

(Editorial aside: to the woman who responded to my thoughts on health care a few months back by saying I was an elitest, lazy deadbeat, please consider this a formal invitation to kiss my ass.)

We’re still looking into options and trying to figure out what he actually needs.  It’s not about “Autistic children need _______.”  It’s about “Jackson, who happens to be ASD, needs _______.”

One of those needs is to improve his hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.  Building with LEGOs seems like one way to work on that.  I’ve also started him on regular LEGO Star Wars video gaming therapy.  Now if I could only get him to stop blowing me up…

One final thought.  Jackson is very rule-oriented, which I’m told is not uncommon for children with Aspergers.  Yesterday, my wife was teaching him to play checkers.  He did quite well … and then he got his first king, at which point he announced, “But kings make their own rules!”