Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do You (silently) Diagnose?

Before the doctors completed their assessments on The Boy, I knew they were going to tell me he had autism.  I just knew.  Not because I'm some super duper genius, but because I did my research.  I knew the basic criteria for an autism diagnosis.  And while I love The Boy, I am not blinded by my love.  I am fully aware of his strengths and his weaknesses.  I am also aware that autism is not our fault. 

Now that that's out of the way...There are times when I look over at my husband and I just have to laugh and say, "The Boy totally gets it from you."  And I have moments when I shake my head and think, "Nope, he got it from his mama."  These moments of self-reflection come while at the supermarket as I stop to neatly arrange the groceries in the cart.  Or when I'm at Macy's or the Gap and I find myself rearranging the hangers.  Or when I'm in Starbucks and I'm lining up the tins of gum and giftcards.  Because really, who the hell does that?  (And if you do any of the things, please let me know!)

Then there are the family members that I've secretly diagnosed.  No, seriously.  I have at least 2 men in my family that I am convinced are on the spectrum.  They have to be.  I mean everyone always wonders where all the adults with autism are.  Well, I've got 2 on my side of the family?  How many have you got?  I am almost certain every one has to have one.  
And sometimes I find myself (silently) diagnosising strangers, co-workers, friends, kids, my friend's kids.  I find my little game (for lack of a better word) works as a interesting way to pass the time during my train commute, especially when I don't have a book or my ipod.  I'll look around and see a child or an adult and I'll just know.  Autism has sort of become my "sixth sense."     

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is:  If our paths have ever crossed, chances are I may or may not have diagnosed you on the spectrum.  And if you're a mom of a child on the spectrum, I'm just going to assume, you've diagnosed me too. 
I know of nobody who is purely autistic or purely neurotypical. Even God had some autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin. ~ Jerry Newport

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.