Tucker used to rock when he was uncomfortable.
Now, Tucker doesn’t rock much anymore (unless he’s SUPER tired or experiencing insane sensory overload).
Tucker’s language was very slow to develop.
Now, Tucker speaks fluently.
Tucker used to have 8-10 goals on his IEP.
Now, we (at times) struggle to keep him on his IEP.
Tucker used to struggle in school, every day.
Now, Tucker does well in school.
Tucker used to have major fine motor issues.
Now, Tucker has nearly perfect penmanship (when he wants ;)).
Tucker used to fall over himself.
Now, Tucker runs and jumps and love to play.
Tucker seems so ‘normal.’
Then…then..wait for it…ahhh…there it is. The moment. The moment that you remember that there is definitely something different here. Definitely something else at work.
At a church council meeting last week a friend of mine was telling me how much she appreciated reading this blog. She didn’t know there was anything different about Tucker, but when she saw him hanging on me during worship she often wondered what was ‘wrong’ with him. She’s lovely, and kind, and wonderful – so don’t hold it against her. I know I don’t – I appreciate the honesty, most of all…because she’s now taking time to learn. Learn about the moment.
That is how my husband describes Tucker’s ‘version’ of autism – by referring to the moment. At times it seems Tucker resembles the habits of someone with Aspergers, other times it manifests as SPD (sensory processing disorder). We’ve decided it doesn’t really matter that much, really. Really – because what does the label do for him? He knows he is on the spectrum, we know he is on the spectrum, and the people who love and care for him know he is on the spectrum. The thing about the spectrum is that EVERY child is so different. God Bless Special Education teachers…
I’m trying hard not to digress on that thought – but seriously, those teachers have a VERY special place waiting for them someday.
A friend of mine stopped me last week and I was telling her about my writing, and more about Tucker. I was specifically telling her about this post and how sometimes having Tucker is so difficult. She said, “So…people probably just think your kid is a shithead.” Yeah, that’s probably about right.
It’s also the source of immense frustration and tears. My Tucker. The one I see at home – in a calm, comfortable, familiar environment – he’s a gem. He’s polite. He’s kind. He’s helpful. But, get him in a place that is not comfortable, familiar, and calm – and he, well…becomes someone else. That is the moment. His entire team (AEA folks, teachers, special education teaches, parents, his sister, his friends, his friends’ parents, etc.) supports him, cares for him, loves him. His entire team has assisted him in making the progress he has made – it’s why it’s not so obvious anymore. Except in the moment.
That is just one way I knew something was going on. I HATED taking him places because the moments happened so much more often. My parents always said that you knew you were raising your child right if they behaved around everyone else, but not you. Well…Tucker is the opposite. Why? You know, I don’t know. But I know it’s true.
That’s the thing about Autism…there is so much that you don’t know, that you can’t explain – but that you know and can explain.