Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Adolescence & the Spectrum

Made you laugh, didn't it? Sometimes I need something absolutely hysterical like that to keep my head from drooping on the days when I feel totally overloaded. There are still many of those days, but as far as Asperger's is concerned, those days are coming fewer and farther between. While reading Kyra's post on Talking About Autism, I completely related to her feeling that somedays, she just doesn't feel like writing, because she doesn't feel there's anything to write about. I am, however, closer to a new aspect of Asperger's than she, and was inspired, by her post, to write about that - the OTHER "A" word - Adolescence.

SmallBoy is 10. Mentally ready for adolescence or not, it will be happening soon. Fortunately, I have the experience of having 2 children, one boy, one girl, go through this already, so I will be prepared and be able to read the physical signs - the hormone fluctuations, the changing voice, the skin issues, the moodiness - noooooo wait! That's something we see all the time. Moodiness, at least as far as we've experienced with SmallBoy, can be akin to teenage puberty moodiness. This leads me to wonder what other things we may miss or "gloss over" because we are so used to them as part of ASD and not take notice to them as what they are - warning signs of a teenager!

I'm tempted to reach out to those of you who have gone through adolescence with an ASD child and ask for advice or a list of "what to watch for," but, as well all know one child on the spectrum will experience and have different reactions to things than another. How then, is a parent to find their way through puberty with a child on the spectrum? The same way you got through early childhood - you feel your way, you lean on other parents, you ask for help, you vent, you celebrate, you question, you problem solve, until you've reached the point where Kyra and I are now...on an even enough keel to feel like you're above water more often than not. And guess what? When you get to that point, it will more than likely be time for your child to be hitting adulthood and all of it's issues.

For now, though, I'm not going to look too far ahead. I'm going to look at the strides we've made in the last couple of years and rejoice. I'm going to start looking ahead to the puberty years so that I can, at least for my own sanity, have SOME kind of an idea of what I'm about to enter. At the same time, I'm going to remind myself of some of the lessons that I have learned: acceptance, love, how to avoid a mommy-meltdown, and doing things for myself, for PC and me, and for Girl & LargeBoy. I am, though, open to suggestions, advice, anecdotes, horror stories of adolescent ASD....no time better than the present!

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