Over time, sometimes something happens to mothers (parents) whose child doesn't respond to her voice, her affection, with true interest of his own. Even into teenagerdom, parenting an ADHD or ASD child can still require extra hours a week, and often extra hours in a day. For me, it was mostly because I had to make sure that my son was facing me and looking at my face, in order for him to pay attention to what I said, or even hear what I said in competing noise. Of all the extra awarenesses on my daily plate of accommodations in the care of my child, that was the most difficult. It created extra steps, phsyically, in intent and attentionally, in regard to simple communications that most households take for granted. For me it was exhausting and left a huge hole in my desires to connect with my child.
For many reasons, partly because of a lack of critical thought about how much impact ability to detect nuances in human communication can affect kids with even the highest verbal IQ's, my son didn't have a Speech and Language Pathologist working with him until he was seventeen years old. Once that happened, though, it was only a few weeks before during one of my slip ups in not gaining visual contact with my son before asking a question, it hit me that he responded, and responded with proper semantics to my query. I was glad that he wasn't watching my face because I couldn't keep the instant rush of tears from streaming down my face.
I'm not one to hide emotion from my son. There's no reason, to, really...or hasn't been a reason to because he usually can't identify those nuances on people's faces, not until a peak of intensity of anger, joy, or pain has been reached. I didn't want to hide the joy from him but I wanted to hide the anger that hit me like a speeding train, anger over having asked for help for more than a dozen years and being turned away. I lost a life -- a career, any kind of normal social life, self-esteem over my own worth, and nights and nights of lost sleep -- because my kiddo couldn't learn on his own to discriminate sounds.
We talk about this, he and I. It's a little strange because he's a psychology major and has already taken 300 and 400 level classes in abnormal psychology for which he wrote about the mother/child issues regarding unresponsive children. He's angry, too, because now he 'feels' what it was that he wrote. There's a gnashing of teeth at knowing that he didn't get to have and do what was considered normal in the social realm because he simply didn't understand on a necessary level that people were talking. And yet, he's been more joyful over living in the last four weeks, too...as if a bit of a miracle came into his existence. And now we attempt to move on...
And so...I write.
I thought that I would faithfully write about the journey in raising my son. The more I wrote, the more solid I became in my convictions to organize this brain that wasn't mine, to train into it some alien pliable form that was not going to stay on track anyway, and otherwise teach what seemed unteachable. Daily writing brought too much verbal thinking into my own visually-oriented mind to allow me to grasp the world in which my son immersed himself. And so...I embraced my own scattered nature, my own visual and spatial world, and became a part of his world. We were much happier -not that the road was smooth- when I invited my son into our world, slowly enticing him into space, a tentative shared space, between his universe and ours. I hope to share insights from the past, present, and future as I continue to ease the transition of this young man into an adult world. The only proven method I use is ages old -- I honor who he is and help him find people and places who do the same... square pegs fit nicely into soft putty that molds around them...and the push into plasticity is gentle.