Sins of the Mothers….

I love that no matter how late or dark it's supposed to be outside, the snow illuminates everything.

Never drink a cup of coffee after brushing your teeth.  Don’t know why I’ve made coffee instead of tea, which is what I set out to do in the first place.  Ever set out to do something specific, then the next thing you know, you’re sitting “somewhere” and thinking nothing in particular and 2 hours have gone by?  This is how it is for me, day after day, ever since I could remember.

After my last post about Gabe and Autism, I had intended on posting links and documenting the progress of his treatment.  While I still want to do that, I realize I must first go back, before Gabriel.  I’m anal with a lot of stuff and so it goes with this:  I must do this chronologically…. for some reason.  BTW, I do not like minty tasting coffee with a tad taste of baking soda (Arm and Hammer toothpaste).  I’m stuck, plain and simple.  Can you tell?

The DH and I have been talking about how we think we have had/still have? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  For myself, I’m convinced.  They say that when adults test themselves for ASD, their answers should come from their childhood because so many adults on the spectrum learn how to adapt during the course of their lives to survive and interact effectively with our fellow human beings.  While what I’m going to say pertains to my childhood, most of it lingers and still interferes with my life.

There are many tests out there and this is the one I took just now before writing this post.  Quoting the article in regards to scoring,

“Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger’s report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.”

This is my score:

Agree: 4,5,6,12,13,20,23,26,33,35,39,45,46: 1 point
Disagree: 1,11,15,17,24,27,28,30,31,36,38,40,44,47,48,50: 1 point
Score: 29

While this particular test indicates that I’m not autistic, the criteria for judging that is varied and sort of like a multiple choice question.  There is a list of behaviors and you need to exhibit a grouping of, say, six of them to be diagnosed with ASD.  Maybe I do not quite fulfill those requirements, but those symptoms I do have, can be debilitating.  Most times I cannot focus on what I need to do, so forget about goals, even easy ones.  Sometimes I can be really, really focused on what I’m doing though.  Like when I painted or sculpted in my teenaged years, to the exclusion of everyone and everything else around me.  There was a peace that came along with that.  That is a good thing.  I love that feeling and every day when I was a kid, I’d strive to get back there, to my happy place.  The problem was that I chose to stay there, hated to leave there, and spent every free moment seeking to return.  Frequently, my family would catch me just sitting, staring off into space.  What the heck was I thinking about?  I could not tell you now, or then.

When I worked in the fine arts, I was definitely in my own little world.  I could focus intently on the details and the medium I was working with.  I became one with the universal energy and tapped into that merging to create.   There is no other feeling like it.  Believe it or not, I find it difficult to meditate.  You would think not given my penchant for dwelling in my happy place, but I do.  I cannot quiet down my mind long enough, with intention, to accomplish that, though I’ve tried and tried and tried.

So many thoughts in my head intrude during conversations as well as the quiet times.  I am notorious for interrupting the conversations I’m involved with.  I cannot effectively organize my thoughts and place them in a queue during a convo.  As a result, I am always breaking in with my own thoughts and giving the impression that I’m not listening to my convo partner.  I do listen, believe me, I do; but because I frequently forget what I want to say (because it takes me so long to judge when and where in a conversation to interject my thought), and constantly blurt out my own thoughts.  I am getting better, though, at remembering to verbally repeat back points of the convo to make my partner feel included in the conversation.  This “skill” was learned during Quality Customer Service training when I worked at Labcorp.  All this is giving me the chuckles because I am a person who now thrives on communication.  Very important to me in anything that I do.  From participating in freecycle, to personal relationships, to simply passing along information I think is helpful or interesting.

I also frequently repeat sentences over and over in conversations.  Not sure if this is ASD related, though it could be, because I know the reason why I do it.  I frequently have the feeling that I should say more, want to say more; but don’t actually have more to say, so I find myself repeating previously voiced remarks, word for word.   This could be that I simply refuse to give up the floor because it’s so hard for me to get control of it.

I am facing it.  There is really so much more I could say about myself and my childhood, but I feel that I am done for now.  I was a pretty screwed up kid but I want to keep this positive.  Knowing myself, understanding myself, places me in a better position to help my son (and I) navigate his treatment. It enables me to have a better understanding of what he’s going through.  He will have the benefit of knowing that he is not alone and that I understand, personally, what someone is experiencing… if even just a little bit, when he feels, inevitably so, that others do not.

Still snowing 40 minutes or so after snapping this picture.

It’s so quiet now and I am loving it!  The sheer volume of the snow outside snuffs out any extra distant sound that might creep in.  I love that no matter how late or dark it’s supposed to be outside, the snow illuminates everything.  Of course the down side is that I’m freezing… but lots of hand knits around to warm me up.  Unfortunately, my finger tips need to be exposed whilst I type.


About dragonmommie

I am a wife and mother of an amazing eight year old boy. When school starts, I don the hat of “advocate”. This is very new to me and so, like everything else in my life right now, a necessary transition. I can see already that I will be honing my communication skills as well as sharpening my assertiveness. I am married to an amazing man, who, spoils me to no end. Not in a material way... NO I'm wrong. When he can, he does spoil me materially as he is well acquainted with my infatuation and love all electronic gadgets. I am a self professed EGG, “Electronic Gadget Groupie.” The most important way he spoils me is with taking over attending to our son's needs. My eye has always been caught by sparkly things, the beautiful, and the unique.

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011 ~, in autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Blessings, Family, Life, motherhood. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. The problem with self-diagnosis, is that we’re all a little too close to see with clarity what is going on with us. I’m not a psych-professional (nor do I play one on TV), but the description you offer sound like ADD as well. (Not ADHD – which has the hyper part).

    The spouse was diagnosed with adult-onset ADD a few years ago, after consulting with a REAL professional. It’s made all the difference in the world to him.

    If you’re curious – make an appt with someone! You’ve got an awful lot on your plate at this point that an objective eye might really help in other ways as well (coping skills, etc.). It might really be worth it!

    Keeping you and yours in my prayers…

    • Yeah…. Karen last night I was thinking about ADD after I posted. I know that I shouldn’t try to self-diagnose… I’m far from any kind of professional; but to realize, after years of thinking that I’m “lazy” and that I should have more discipline and that I’m somehow a bad and worthless person for not getting my act together, this makes me want to hug myself. The thing is that I “have” been to counseling, on more than one occasion, and ADD never came up. The most recent being when Gabe was about 2 years old… not that long ago.

      • Deb – did you describe what you did above? If so -what was the response?

        I’m guessing that the psych person didn’t bring up Autism spectrum either…. correct?

        It’s a difficult thing to make a psych diagnosis, because unlike body temp, it’s not a measurable thing. For instance, if you didn’t mention the above, then there’d be no reason to move in that direction.

        I know that when the spouse was diagnosed, his reaction was exactly what you’ve suggested. All of a sudden, he’s not lazy and unfocused! AND… beyond simply knowing this is his chemistry, and not a moral failing, he got good medication that has helped him enormously.

      • Karen… I’m not sure if I described anything to the psych, and you are correct, ASD was not brought up by them, either. I meant to say before that I will look into ADD for myself. I guess because of Gabe, I am relating more to his behavior.

  2. I too agree with Karen. As I read your comment, I was thinking the same thing, ADD. Deb, Just because you have a hard time socially, I do not think it is ASD. Working with special ED children in the past, I do know that concentration is a big part of ADD. Many adults are being diagnosed with this now, because when we were young, you were just labeled lazy. In my opinion, you are a very intelligent person. Always did good in school. I always thought you had a sponge for a brain, as I was the one who struggled, and still do. So many things that are told to me, over and over, I just don’t get. In one ear and out the other. Nothing sticks. So, do I think I have ASD. No, Maybe ADD as well. Just hard for me to focus on some things. Maybe a little pill would help. I’ve talked to some kids who are in college who still take the drugs, and it helps them so much to just concentrate and filters out all the other stuff that keeps entering their brain all the time. I also have difficulty in some conversations. Not sure of what to say. Or maybe my lack of vocabulary. When I was young, it came easy. As no one talked with intelligence. Now I mostly listen when in a convo. Knowing other family members have learning disabilities, I too think the gene was passed down to me. And hence to my daughter who also struggles. And as far as being ONE with your painting, artistic people like yourself are just like that. You DO have a TRUE GIFT in that category of your life, and should continue to pursue this. Love ya

    • Lisa… I had no idea you were going through what you describe. Why didn’t you ever tell me? I knew that you had a hard time in school, but I thought it was because you concentrated more on being social. A lot of kids don’t like school and consequently, don’t do well. So, who in our family has learning disabilities (before Jillian)?

      HA… I take pride in being able to multi-task, but is that really just not being able to focus on one thing to completion???~!

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