Monday, October 02, 2006

B on neurodiversity...

B went bouncing into school this morning. looking for his teacher, Jen, so he could ask her when they'd be getting to the science unit called "Code Blue", which is about the human body. C has offered to help out with this unit, being a physician, so B is psyched about that :) Jen said they'd be doing it soon, after they conclude their study of forces & momentum. B was excited about this, too, because they'll finally get to use a game we gave B's school last year called "Newton's Run". This is basically a set of tubes- flexible & stiff, funnels, clips, & balls to run through them. B has a set & we've festooned the house in attempts to get the ball through loop-de-loops of varying complexity, so he's psyched to share it with his school friends. He's also psyched about getting into the study of the human body, since this time they'll be going into depth about the immune system & some of the more intricate workings. We told Jen about B's experience last summer at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, where he participated in a workshop that taught about antibodies & how to test for polio (this was in connexion with a new exhibit called "What Ever Happened to Polio?"). We mentioned that B's grammie had had polio, so it was relevant to our family, & we got talking about the attitudes towards people with physical differences back when grammie was a girl. B said that he has a difference, too: neurodiversity. He said that neurodiversity allows him to think differently about things & that he's glad to be able to do that. Jen smiled & told him that she agreed that thinking about things & doing things in different ways was a good thing. She also told him that when he shares his neurodiversity with others (like he did a few weeks ago when he explained to his class about his AS, Tourettes, & OCD), it really helps them to understand all the different ways people can be. B commented that he was glad that he's living in a time when his differences can be accepted, unlike when grammie was a girl & people were more afraid of people with differences. I kind of stood back & admired the comfort B had with talking about himself & his neurodiversity. He told Jen that he likes knowing what's going on with himself & wouldn't like it being hidden from him. I find over & over that B's awareness of his "conditions" & their names really helps him to figure out what's going on when he feels out of sorts. He knows that the overwhelming anxiety he feels a lot of the time has a cause (OCD) & that the tics are what release that anxiety. He can identify why most of his tic/anxiety triggers are setting him off, which helps enormously to help us modify his environment, when possible, to minimise the anxiety. I don't think B would be doing nearly so well with coping if we had tried to hide any of his diagnoses from him...

B had a pretty productive day at school until right at the end, when he'd started becoming overwhelmed by anxiety triggers & then had to cope with a fire drill on top of it. When I got to school to pick him up I was surprised to find him waiting for me outside. Cherie, his consultant teacher, was waiting with him, so I got out of the car to talk to her while B threw himself in & seatbelted himself with an air of desperation. Just being in the car for a bit helped him to calm down, & on the way home I didn't ask my usual questions about how school went that day (Cherie had filled me in) because it was clear that he wanted his thoughts as far as possible from school as could be. I told him we had ramune for a treat for snack & he requested that we watch the Lucario pokemon movie again with ramune & popcorn, so we did. This is our third time watching that movie together & I keep waiting not to cry at the end... in vain. B has started scooting over by me at the sad parts so we can hug through them... but again, it was cathartic to cry at the sad but uplifting ending. I guess that's just the way life's going these days for B & me. A good cry together & we're ready to face what comes next :)

2 Comments:

At 1:29 AM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

I know that feeling----tears together. I think B (and you too) would be interested in this not-yet-published book, Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism by Roy Richard Grinker---I like how he writes about we live at precisely such a time, when our culture is making a space for difference.

 
At 11:14 PM, Blogger Lisa/Jedi said...

Yes, I saw your post on this book on AutismVox. I'm looking forward to reading it when it comes out!

 

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