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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Asperger's Syndrome

We knew early on that something was up.

He was obsessed with light as an infant. I tried to hide the nightlight behind the rocking chair when I nursed him. But, he would squirm around me trying to look at it and wouldn't eat.

He would sit and stare at the t.v. when a commercial was on. He even had certain commercials the he would come from another room to watch. Most of the ones he loved were quiet, with an instructional sounding voice.

When he was a couple of years old he started methodically lining things up ... cars, trains, blocks, etc.

Then noises started to freak him out. But, it wasn't loud noises. It was strangely quiet noises, like when his baby sister would babble. He would hold his ears and cry. It got so bad that we had to keep them separated at times.

Then when it was time to start talking, he didn't.

So we had him evaluated. And we were told that he was likely on the Autism spectrum. We opted not to have him officially diagnosed {because what good would that have done anyway} and we were told by professionals that doctors would probably want to medicate him. We knew what the problems were: speech and social interaction. We would just work on those.

His problems were bad enough that he qualified for a state program that gave him a weekly speech pathologist. Then when he turned three he was accepted into our public school developmentally delayed preschool.

And that's when things took off.

His vocabulary increased steadily. They taught him how to complete tasks in steps, using picture prompts. They pushed him to be involved in group settings. They worked with him on tactile and texture issues. He increasingly got better.

Then when it was time for Pre-K they encouraged us to go ahead and mainstream him, with special services provided, which we did. He steadily improved more.

This year he went straight to kindergarten. He has been blessed with a phenomenal teacher, and continues to receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, peer counseling and sees the reading specialist. The school has loved him and embraced him and taught him and he is just a regular 'ol kindergarten student.

But, is he?

Not really.

He is more affectionate than most. He is smarter than most. He gets distracted easily. He doesn't like change or transition. He needs reward for completing tasks. He is a genius at video and computer games. Noise still bothers him. He stutters some. He is still delayed in his speech. He still loves commercials. He can memorize anything! He learns quickly! He overemphasizes rules and steps. He can quote entire passages of movies, television shows, books.

He is Eli.

Rick and I watch the sitcom Parenthood. There is a little boy on the show who has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism.

He is Eli.

We watch it and get teary. Because ...

He is Eli.

Thankfully, Eli does not have a lot (if any) behavior problems. He is so rule and boundary oriented that once the rules are established, he really doesn't break them. We are blessed with this.

We know that he will do something astounding someday with his life.

A mind and a personality like that was just destined for greatness.

Until then, he is just our Eli.

And we love him.


  1. As I read this, I think several thoughts...

    1. It's absolutely beautiful.
    2. Thank you. I have a friend whose son has Asperger's and it's such a wonderful reminder that every child with Aspergers, as every child without Asperger's, is different, individual and unique.
    3. I wish you and your child the best of luck on your journey.

  2. What a little sweetie you have. We love our children no matter the challenges. Each with their own personalities. So glad you are such a patient and loving parent!

  3. And above all else...God chose you to be his mommy! He knew that you would love and care for Eli like no one else could. He knew that you & Rick would give Eli every opportunity to thrive. I wish you all the best on your special journey with Eli!

    P.S. I love Parenthood, I never miss it!

  4. You absolutely have been blessed with this special little person! BUT....he is also blessed beyond measure that you and Rick are his parents. Your blog was so very inspiring and it reminds me of why I LOVE YOU so much.

    Your Springfield Pal

  5. This post was incredibly sweet! He is a beautiful little boy!

  6. What a great post Nicole! What a great mom you are. What a sweet boy to love!


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