My husband and I are very different people. I tend to worry, a lot, and he is better at letting things be. What I worry about and what he worries about also tend to be very different. He has a shorter temper than I do, and will get after Ben more for his “typical” behaviors, which I find frustrating. But, maybe that pushes him in a way that I can’t because I still feel guilt and that overwhelming desire to protect my child.
He is also Ben’s primary caregiver in the sense that my illnesses often leave me in bed, and Ben and Dad are best buds who spend the days together. I asked him to write about the diagnosis and how he felt, and would like to add his viewpoint to more of my posts in the future.
I have discovered, not to my surprise, that we handle all of this quite differently. He is also a schoolteacher that works with Gifted and Talented students, and has dyslexia, ADHD and mood disorders similar to my son. There is some question as to whether he would have been diagnosed as autistic as a child or not, but either way, he is a fully functioning adult now, which gives me hope.
Here are his thoughts on our son’s diagnosis:
“We all want to think our child is the smartest. Then the next moment we wonder how a child will live to be an adult. I have a son that does things that drive me crazy. This is normal for every parent, but then there is something that makes you think, “There is something seriously wrong with this child”. In my case this is true.
My son was diagnosed with high functioning autism, dyslexia, and several other problems. It took until he was 8 years old to get this figured out because he is a smart child. I teach the gifted and talented program and had the great opportunity to test him for the program. During the test we are supposed to keep a “poker face” so the student does not get clues to the right or wrong answers. When I tested my son I had to take a break because his answers were so outside the box that they were giving me an anxiety attack. He passed and now can be called twice exceptional.
As a dad I am worried that this will hurt my son’s future. As a teacher I see a child that loves to learn and has the ability to do anything. These two forces fight with each other, but I know he will be great because he has parents that know what they are doing. Another reason he took so long to get figured out is that we do everything a child needs.
Lesson to learn is listening to your child’s teacher and not get defensive. Read to your child or at least get books on tape. Finally believe in your child and try your best to keep them alive.