*ed. note ~ It is very tempting to editorialize what you are about to read with my own spin. But, I am (I think) restraining myself here. Since Charlie is voicing his own opinions my hope is to let his words stand alone instead.
It’s been a long week, with The Professor out of town yet again, a middle of the night trip to the emergency room for an infection in Tommy’s arm, and ever increasing anxiety for Charlie over the school year ending. So, tonight I ordered a pizza and turned on the t.v. because I didn’t have it in me to do more.
The boys were watching Nova Science Now (it’s one of Charlie’s favorite shows) and I was zoning out with a book nearby. I often have to keep an eye on the Nova programs as they are meant for adult consumption, they can, on occasion, veer into inappropriate territory. But, tonight was just pieces on a telescope followed by a story of a woman who studied spiders.
Because I was so tired and because it’s such familiar subject matter, I didn’t connect the dots at first when I started hearing the narrator say: “Autism is a devastating brain disorder effecting 1 in 150 children. But, if there is a sibling diagnosed with autism rates skyrocket to a 1 in 5 chance of the diagnosis being shared.”
When it finally clicked for me that the topic had switched to research on autism and it was being presented in the manner research on autism always is I jumped up and paused the show. I looked at Charlie and the look of utter sadness on his face reached straight into me. I went to him and curled him in my lap.
Do you want to talk about the things you just heard, my love?
Long pause of silence. I think so. At this his voice trembles and he begins to cry.
They said it was only 1 in 5. So, that means even if I have 5 kids only 1 of them might have Asperger’s.
I was taken aback by this. It wasn’t what I was expecting him to be upset about.
Charlie, are you saying you are feeling sad because if you have kids they might not have Asperger’s?
Is that what you want? For them to have Asperger’s?
Yes, because then there will be more people like me. No one ever has Asperger’s like me, mom.
He’s had his suspicions about a few kids at school this year, but when he has asked them they haven’t known what he was talking about. I halfheartedly name a few kids from his integrated preschool last year. But, I know they aren’t who he means.
They don’t have the same autism like me. It doesn’t seem the same. I think maybe it’s because I am Asperger’s. Nobody ever has Aspberger’s. I wish they did.
There are so many people in the world like you, Charlie. Lots of people.
Where are they? I think I’m done talking now, mom. I wish those people that have Asperger’s went to my school.
He wanders off, having said this, and begins doing one of his math workbooks.
- Autism Awareness – five year old style (outrunningthestorm.wordpress.com)
- You can’t be what you can’t see – world autism acceptance day (outrunningthestorm.wordpress.com)