Finding Ourselves on the Autism Spectrum


I’ve got too many things running through my head at once to think out a coherent blog post this morning. But I’m in a happy sharing mood, so I’m just going to babble on for a while and see what comes out.

 My new address:

The first thing on my mind is that I’m glad I went ahead and changed my blog address – which also meant changing my user name – especially since it turned out to be a lot simpler than I thought. It was something that kept nagging at me after I unintentionally chose a username with my actual full name in it, which I use for lots of things, and realized that became the basis for my blog address. Goofy, I know, but I often tend to miss details like that. I focus in on one tree at a time, missing the forest and many of the other trees in the process. I haven’t had any bad experiences with my blogging so far, but I’m still pretty new to this, and I’m not ready to share the more spectrummy aspects of our lives with people who know me outside of this community at this point. I also don’t want to do anything to make my kids uncomfortable, which is why they already have pseudonyms here. So, anyway, this gives me a greater degree of comfort.

Simon was reading my blog:

I learned yesterday that my Aspie teenager had been reading a bit of my blog, probably because it was left open on my computer, which the kids end up using more and more for homework. I think for the most part he’s been ignoring it, but yesterday he asked a question about my choosing to put something in all caps in a recent post. He didn’t seem bothered at all by what I had written, and he generally lets me know in a big way when he’s bothered, so I’m happy about that.

We all need a mental health day from time to time:

Yesterday was a bit of a fallout day for Simon. After doing so well with the very intense experience of the robotics team competition, where his team got this special engineering award 


which he wore all through the next day :), he had a hard time managing back at school.  The change for Daylight Savings Time really didn’t help, either. (I’ve never been a huge fan of DST, and when we lived in Indiana for two years, we didn’t have to observe it.) Anyway, Simon made it reasonably well through Monday and even the beginning of Tuesday. By reasonably well, I mean he fussed a great deal and made a point of saying “this is insane” and “I really can’t do this” over and over again with reference to waking up, doing homework, etc., but with some help from me, he still got the job done. Then partway through Tuesday morning, he hit a wall.

So apparently somebody decided it would be a good idea to do vision screenings on the entire student population of the high school, and we had somehow either not been informed ahead of time or just missed the information. Simon has only ever had his eyes checked at regular pediatrician appointments, and there’s never been a problem. But these folks told him he didn’t “pass” the test with one eye, and that started a downward spiral. (That’s something we’ll pursue at some point, but he hasn’t noticed any problems, and this just wasn’t the day to get into it.) They did the testing during his second hour class, and he got too upset to make it to his third. I got a call from the teacher consultant saying he was in her office and having trouble. I hope I’ve mentioned at some point before that this woman is absolutely wonderful. Besides doing her job of being an intermediary between parents / students and the teachers extremely well, she’s taken time to get to know me and my son, and she lets him eat lunch every day in her office to decompress.

She and I talked. She passed along my assurances that he wasn’t in any trouble and that I would support whatever he needed to do, because he didn’t feel up to being on the phone right then. She called again later to say he was still having trouble relaxing, and this time he did talk to me on the phone. He decided to give a try at going to his fourth hour class, which wouldn’t be too stressful or require much interaction, and after that he decided he was ready to come home.

Hubby and I agreed over the phone that everyone needs a mental health day from time to time, so we were fine with him coming home. I made my boy some food and sat him in front of a funny television program, after which he played a video game. He never got the nap I was hoping for, but he eventually relaxed enough to face completing some homework and even helping Alvin with some of his.  Today he’s back at school and halfway through his day, and so far everything seems to be going OK. We fall down, we regroup, and we get back up again. Thankfully these days the process usually goes more quickly than when he was little. A lot more quickly.

Sibling stuff:

On a side note, poor Alvin had to do an unusual amount of difficult homework yesterday. Alvin takes a math class two years ahead of the rest of his grade, so he’s pretty good at math. And he has what amounts to a study hall at the end of the day, so he rarely comes home with much homework. Last night, even with help from Hubby and his big brother, Alvin spent two hours struggling through trinomial factoring. Simon became more helpful once I said that I’d give him extra video game time to make up for time he spent helping Alvin. 🙂 Simon is also very good at math and takes a class one year ahead of his grade – they didn’t offer two years ahead when he was Alvin’s age, which is a source of frustration for Simon and entertainment for Alvin. The nice thing about this arrangement is that Simon just had everything that Alvin’s class is covering last year. Later in the evening, Alvin told me that there were things Simon could do in seconds that were taking Alvin twenty minutes. Alvin said it took him longer because he’s not autistic. I think that may be the first time he’s referred to Simon’s autism as an advantage rather than an annoyance. I just told him that with all the challenges, his brother gets to be good at some stuff, too.








Comments on: "Regrouping" (10)

  1. Yay, new address! Glad it wasn’t as tricky as you feared. We all definitely do need a mental health day. Just hope I don’t have to wait too long for mine. 🙂
    By the way, when all has settled down, look at for an optometrist to take a good look at those eyes. I forget the statistics, but many kids on the spectrum or diagnosed with attention problems have undiagnosed eye problems. it is worth checking it out, if only to rule it out.

    • Thanks. That’s interesting about the vision issues. And it really doesn’t help matters that the spectrum kids tend to have difficulty with sensory issues and with communicating, making it that much harder to figure out what’s going on.

      Simon’s been complaining about his eye ever since attention was drawn to it, and he has now said he’s ready to see someone. He also reminded me today of an incident last year when he thinks he might have injured his eye more than he realized at the time. I’d really like for him to see the optometrist my husband and I have been seeing for the past few years. We’ve been very impressed by how calm and thorough he is, how well he explains everything, and how well he listens. I think Simon might do very well with him. Unfortunately, we can’t get Simon on our vision insurance plan until the start of the next plan year, which I believe is June 1. But as my husband pointed out, there’s no reason we can’t pursue seeing someone through our regular medical insurance in the meanwhile. I plan to call in the morning to find out whether we have to get a referral from the pediatrician and who we’re supposed to see.

  2. I definitely agree that sometimes we just need a mental health day. I could use one right about now, actually!

    Good for you guys for knowing what Simon needs and helping him get it!

    • Thanks, Patty. Hope things are easing up for you a bit or will do so soon.

      I’m all for mental health days. For myself I can usually only manage an occasional mental health couple of hours, but it’s something. I’ve tried every other method of helping Simon when he’s gotten himself worked into a state, and nothing ever seems to help as much as just providing him with what makes him comfortable for a bit. Anxiety is his biggest obstacle, and once we remove that, we can usually deal with the other stuff. I’m sure this method makes me look indulgent, but for him it works better and faster than any other method I’ve tried.

  3. Hi-glad your blog move was easy..oh, I am so with you on the daylight savings time-especially in the spring. I swear even our pets are affected by it! 🙂 I let my kids take a day off from time to time..we all need down time here and there.
    Two of mine read my blog-sometimes they tell me what they think I should write about! We have conversations on who does what better all the time…sigh…

    • Hi. Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.

      I was at a support group meeting this week, and when I brought up Daylight Savings Time, there was a collective groan around the table. 🙂

      That’s amusing about your kids. Do you ever end up taking their suggestions?

  4. Aspergirl Maybe said:

    So glad the blog move went well, but sorry to hear about the difficult day for Simon. It’s so frustrating to me when things that could have been so easily avoided with a bit of planning and communication on the part of the school create so much difficulty. It’s so good he has such a supportive mom to help him get through it!

    • Thanks for the support. I told the teacher consultant when she called that I really hated that it was this sort of thing that was going to derail his day. It’s actually good they checked him, though, and he’s apparently been having some problems for a while and not saying anything. We have an appointment with an optometrist on Monday.

  5. I am glad the move went well. Sorry, I haven’t been by sooner. Life has been a little crazy here lately. I’m glad you got an appointment for Simon and I absolutely love Alvin’s insight and understanding regarding Simon’s gifts.

    • Thanks, Sue. You’ve had more than enough to deal with lately. I’m very curious to see what the optometrist has to say, because Simon is experiencing some blurriness, even though he says there’s no pain. My husband and youngest have been away at a cub scout function since yesterday, and I’m enjoying how well Simon and Alvin have been getting along this weekend. (Hope I didn’t just jinx something by saying that 🙂 )

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