Thursday, February 10, 2005

More About Christian

I wrote this today in an email to someone who asked what the diagnosis means for Christian and the family.

The diagnosis doesn't really mean anything. We went down to get a diagnosis because the bottom line is that it is an insurance policy for him through college: it guarantees him an Individualized Education Program through then. And an IEP, as they are called, means that he will always be graded and tested based on his abilities, rather than his performance.

For example: he currently has an IEP because his IQ is higher than his language abilities, and if there is an imbalance, they work to try to even it out. However, as his language abilities have improved, he has become closer and closer to losing his IEP without the diagnosis.

And it is very odd that he has language deficits, because he is also gifted in written expression. His reading and writing and verbal IQ scores are all in the 130's. Math at 99 (almost dead average) pulls the composite IQ down to 116 (which is fine), so I did not know before Monday how high his IQ really is in those other areas.

It did not surprise me.

Fortunately, because Christian is very high functioning, nothing will change-- just a few adjustments at school.

Asperger's is along the same spectrum as autism: it is like autism in that there are some ritualistic behaviors, but more speech, and more social skills. For example: Christian can sit and play a board game with someone, but he can't initiate having the board game with another child. He could with an adult or a toddler, but not someone his own age without alienating the kid. This is minor problem. He is pretty isolated at school, but I have only heard him complain about it twice.

And Christian has some interesting "ritualistic" behaviors: He flaps his hands like a bird when excited, and likes to spin in a circle at recess, and likes to dance and hum frequently. He has also recently started beeping. Naturally, these are not serious problems-- they are actually kind of cute and endearing. But they will, in time, cause other kids to make fun of him. He can substitute for other things (Monday, he wasn't dancing or humming, so there was an awful lot of repetitive hand-sniffing going on).

But if you hung out with him, even if you noticed him doing one of these things, you probably would not think anything of it. Most people do not. He is just a little quirky. So, he and we are all very lucky-- he doesn't have a lot of the same troubles with transitions, textures, sounds, etc. that autistic children have.

And of course, I am biased. Christian is the funniest, smartest, wisest, most profound (as oppose to profane) child I have ever met (well, except his brothers-- but he is somehow wiser and more profound than they are). He is just a joy. And I am still just as fiercely protective of him as I ever was. Pity the fool that tries to come between me and that child.

I do think that I could kill someone with my bare hands.

What do you think? Could you?

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