My nephew’s arrival filled our lives with light. When he was born, he was a child that we used to call “normal”, and even so was his development in the first 6 years of life. Or so we believed.
The first years of school were basically normal; however, when the first year of elementary school began, the challenges began. Reading and writing, for him, were a pain, to the point that the problems with the teacher rose in tone. The second year was worse, even being mistreated by the teacher. He couldn’t stand school abuse anymore and didn’t want to go back to that school.
That was when the battle started. We managed to get him a public school where he was accepted in the middle of the year and there the teacher, a woman with more patience and more experience, recommended that my sister take my nephew to a specialist, and she did.
After an incredible amount of medical examinations, intelligence tests and consultations even with psychiatrists and psychotherapists, my nephew was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome .
Knowing this was very complicated, painful, so to speak, because no one is prepared to face such a situation. Despite this, life has shown us that it is not as complicated as we thought, and that we were very blessed to be chosen to raise a child like him.
Asperger, a condition on the autistic spectrum
As I said at the beginning, for us, my nephew was a relatively normal child. He looked at us and laughed with us, interacted as every child is supposed to do, walked at the right time; everything like a completely healthy child. There were also aspects about him that were not at all common, but to be honest, we never paid much attention to that because “every child is different”.
You will say that, being a professional in psychology, I should be aware of your condition, but the truth is that you cannot be objective when it comes to a being that you love with all your soul . The only thing I noticed was his way of speaking, slow, calm, paused and sophisticated, something that is not at all normal in an ordinary child.
Upon receiving the diagnosis, all of his particular characteristics fit the puzzle.
That’s how we came to understand why he didn’t write or speak differently, why he was so obsessed with video games, why he didn’t answer when he was called or didn’t eat nor did he sleep very well.
These and many other aspects have taught us to live differently. It was like this when we learned to appreciate the boy with whom we lived, who grew up and learned in a different world from the others.
Autism and its most relevant characteristics
Autism is a neurobiological condition of human development that – depending on its depth – can be diagnosed from the age of 3 and will last throughout life.
Many parents perceive that their children have some kind of condition, since babies do not smile or fix their gaze on their parents. Some children are slow to speak, including some who never make more than a few words and sounds.
Other children are slow to walk and have great difficulty in coordinating movements, have difficulties in grabbing a ball or even jumping, so playing sports is not their forte. That’s when parents’ suspicions increase and they go to the doctor to see what happens to their children.
The characteristics of a person with autism should not be considered a problem. They are only peculiarities of their condition and some are better than others. Here they are:
- Socialization problems. School-age children feel no or little interest in interacting with children their age.
- Children may be able to learn things in detailand remember the information for long periods of time.
- fix your interest in specific topics and try to learn everything you can from what interests them.
- They have a great visual and auditory memory.
- It is natural for autistic people to have echolalia. It is repeating words, sounds and phrases; it is even normal for them to hear a sound over and over again until they repeat it faithfully.
- When autism is very deep, children do not accept routinechanges or changes in their home very well .
- exposure to bright lights, odors, forts, noise, clothing texture or temperatures tend to bother you a lot.
- Eye contact is zero or littleand when they do it is inconsistent.
- They ignore people and respond evasively.
- They generally do not respond when they are calledor take too long to do so; sometimes it is necessary to get their attention by touching them to answer.
- They understand everything they are told literally. That is why we have to be very careful in the way we communicate with them and we have to know how to ask them questions.
- They can talk a lot about the topic they like, to the point that they do not give others the opportunity to intervene in the conversation.
- They can speak in an unusual way, sometimes they use foreign accents, they speak as if they are singing or they can even use a monotonous tone similar to that of a robot.
- Your empathy is almost nil. They may not understand what other people feel, they may have trouble understanding someone else’s point of view, and they may not anticipate or understand the actions of others.
The Autism is a condition that tests not only the family but also teachers and health professionals. Everyone must work together to help children cope with their limitations and move slowly, but progressively, to have a great and happy quality and life, which, ultimately, is all we want for our children, so that in tomorrow be competent and happy adults.