He is such a great kid, funny, smart and yes, quirky. I have known from pretty early on that he had developmental issues. He was first evaluated & seen by the local early intervention program at 14 months old, when I realized how far behind he was compared to other kids his age. His Pediatrician had always down played my concerns, but I called in early intervention anyway. You don't need a doctor to refer your child to early intervention services. I don't think everyone knows that. I strongly believe when it comes to your child's development, the rule of thumb should be "when in doubt, check it out." Early intervention matters.
Logan has been re-evaluated over the years, and he has been given different labels at different times. First it was "Central Nervous System Immaturity", then ADHD. He has recently been formally diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, Central Nervous System Dysfunction, as well as ADHD. They are also "monitoring" him for Tourette's Syndrome.
Although I have long been certain Logan was on the spectrum, the new official label did sting a little bit. For some people labels are painful, and scary. Some people find themselves unable, or unwilling to use labels when talking about their child. Maybe saying the words makes it too real for them. Maybe they just don't want to lump their child in with a bunch of preconceived notions, and low expectations. Those feelings are no less valid than my own, but to me personally, labels are just words. They have no magic power to lessen my child's potential. Admitting my child is disabled doesn't change who they are, or who they will become. Facing their challenges by name doesn't mean I give up. It doesn't mean I don't work very hard to help them continue to improve, and grow. The only real function labels have in my life is that they can help me get my children the services they need. They are just a means to an end. They're a short hand way to give others a general snapshot of the kinds of issues we are challenged with.
Labels are very limited in that they can't give you a true picture of a child. They focus on the problem areas, and don't provide the smallest hint of how awesome a child may be in spite of his challenges. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few things with you, as a way for you to kind of get the flavor of my son, this wonderful child I have been blessed with.
He has a pretty unique perspective on the world, and has quite a way with words. The following is just a few fairly random examples of what I call Loganisms:
Me: Logan did you eat all of your lunch? Logan: I ate all of my meat balls. Me: How come you didn't eat anything else? Logan: Because I gave up being an omnivore. I am a carnivore now.
Knowing he'd had a pep rally at school, I asked, "What was your favorite thing about today?" Logan says, "That I chose to follow the rules, & to only speak when it was appropriate." Me: "THAT was your favorite part?!" Logan: "Yeah, It felt good." (Only my son)
Logan happily bounced up the stairs to watch his usual one cartoon show before going to sleep. Just a few minutes later, he came back down stairs & quickly gave me a big kiss and hug. As he pulled away, I could see he looked upset. (Mommy radar alert) "Logan is something wrong?" Taking his head in his hands, his voice broke as he said, "Mommy, I think I am running a fever, & getting sick." I was a bit confused by this, because he had been perfectly fine moments before, and he didn't feel warm. I knew something must have happened while he was upstairs. "Logan, honey, did something happen upstairs?" His face immediately crumpled, & tears filled his eyes, "Come upstairs & I will show you." I took his hand, & upstairs we went. Then he hands me an aerosol can of "Deep Woods Off" insect repellent that he had found in the closet. Having had a previous issue with Logan spraying things, I knew he knew better than to spray it, and I did not smell it on him. or in the room. Still not understanding what had happened I said, "Did you spray it?" Logan said through his tears, "No! I just smelled it, and now I have West Nile Virus!" He had picked up, and smelled the can, without spraying it. Then he read the label & misunderstood what it said. He thought it said the can contained West Nile Virus! He thought when he smelled the can he caught the virus. I struggled not to laugh, hugged him & said, "You are fine. There is no virus in the can." He didn't believe me, & said, "Mom, it says, keep out of reach of small children! I need some fever medicine! " I said "I'll put it up, but you don't need any medicine." He said, "Yes I DO! I have a headache & I am getting sick!" I said, "I promise, you will be all right," then gave him a Tums, (instead of any real medicine) and told him to go to bed. Then I went back down stairs, laughing so hard I could hardly tell Brad what happened. You just have to love that kid.
An epic battle between Godzilla & Iron Man happening on my family room couch, is suddenly interrupted by Logan, "WHY can't we just post this on youtube?!"
Digging around in my somewhat over stuffed refrigerator, Logan accidentally knocked a brand new bottle of maple syrup out onto the floor. It broke. I told him to go sit down while I cleaned up the glass, so he wouldn't get cut. A minute later Logan yells, "OH NO!! MOM!! I have a DNA leak!!!" (Translation for those of you who don't speak Loganese, "I am bleeding!") It was just a small cut. That's my boy.
Logan, pushed one straw onto another making in effect one long straw. He was thrilled that it made it possible to drink from such a long distance. He liked his new invention so much, he immediately decided he should mass produce them. "I can sell them for $3.99 each." When I reminded him things are only worth what someone else is willing to pay, he said, "I can sell them a second one for $1.99! That's buy one get one 1/2 off!" He paused then said, "Mom, when can I REALLY have access to free enterprise?" I asked if he actually knew what the term free enterprise meant. He said, "Sure. the ability to start your own business." Honestly, what 7 year old knows that?
Logan, "Mom! Mom! (laughing hysterically) He said (laugh, laugh) that the fog was (laugh, laugh) as thick as (laugh, laugh, laugh, trying to catch his breath) ...SEE POOP!!!!! (dissolves into laughter) Me, "Logan honey, I think he said "pea soup." Logan sobers up immediately, "NO MOM, I HEARD HIM SAY SEE POOP!"
Logan was waiting for the sandwich he'd said he wanted for lunch. When I sat it on the table, I yelled to Logan, "Soup's on!" intending to convey the fact that his food was ready. Logan came running, sounding horrified, "Mom!!! I didn't say I wanted soup!!!" Yes, he really does take things literally.
Me: Logan, WHY is my pillow in the bathroom floor soaking wet? Logan: I wanted to see if it would absorb water! Me: Alrighty then. How do you think I might feel about sleeping on a wet pillow? Logan: (actually having to think about it a second), "Not good?" Me: As if there should be any question.
The following morning, the first thing out of Logan's mouth: "Mom, your pillow IS good at absorbing water!" Me: "Yes, I noticed that."
Logan is this wonderful combination of scary smart and socially challenged. He wants so much to please others and to have friends. He has very little ability to guess what others are feeling inside, or to predict how you might feel in response to something, like pillow experiments for example. It honestly hadn't occurred to him that I might not be pleased with the idea. He has such a tender heart, and he tries very hard. He simply can't see the things that he does that hinder him socially. With his shiny new High Functioning Autism diagnosis, I hope to be able to get him into some social skills classes, and speech therapy for the pragmatics of speech. I plan to use this label as a foot hold, a way to gain traction so I can get him where he needs to be. I will use it for what is worth, and not focus on the negatives. I will continue to educate myself on his issues, and learn more about the way he views the world. I will use this label to help me better understand my child, and help my child reach his full potential, whatever that means for him.
To the special needs parents who read this, I would like to invite you to join my facebook support group for special needs parents:
"Loving a Miracle - Special Parents Supporting Each Other."
This is the original support group, and all content is open to the general public.
There is a closed group, for those of you who would like to post things outside of the view of the general public:
"Loving a Miracle - The Special Parent's Safe Zone."
There is also a public PAGE. This is where I post information and links that I think are helpful to special needs parents.
Permission to repost/reprint: If you would like to obtain permission to repost or reprint this post, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
- Kristina Smith Blizzard