Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living with Aspberger's Syndrome

So yesterday I talked about my Cooper.  He has Aspberger's Syndrome, which is a mild form of Autism.  It is sometimes called "geek" syndrome.  Some say Albert Einstein had it, failing school but excelling later in life.  Every child with autism is different and unique.  That is why school systems are reluctant to diagnose these things, ever child needs a personalized system for them, a daunting task for anyone.  

Cooper is doing great.  But this has not been an overnight sensation.  When he was first diagnosed, we went totally organic and limited certain kinds of foods.  We had seventeen vials of blood taken from his little five year old arm for "level 5" allergy tests.  That was a very challenging day.  Going organic broke our bank.  I was spending $250.00 every four days for food and driving forty-five miles one way to get that organic food.  Yikes.  I am all about eating organic if you can, but it is very costly.  Horribly expensive.  Coop's tests revealed that dairy is a big no no.  Gluten is not an issue for him and thank God corn is not an issue.  Cooper only eats about twenty things.  Popcorn is a basic food group for him, so if he could not have corn, it would be a tragic thing.  

When Cooper finally found out that he could not have milk, he would tell you that he was "black toast intolerant".  Hysterical.  That is what we call a Cooperism.  I embrace all Cooperisms that come from his little mouth.  He is coming along socially and in a regular classroom most of the day.  He is getting A's and B's and an occasional C.  For a child whose whole world is black and white, no gray allowed, that is amazing.  The written and spoken word is a very hard concept for him, but he is doing it.

I never want to seem flip about his diagnosis, but when life throws you a curve ball, you still have to be in the game.  It is about accepting and embracing who Cooper is and what he can do, not what he can't do.  I find it wonderful that Cooper wants to be a chef, even though he only eats about twenty things and frequently asks "What's that stench?" when I am cooking.  He wants to try to help when I am cooking, even if he won't touch what is in the pot with a ten foot pole.  That is progress.  

When you get a diagnosis of this kind, your world shatters.  That is not an overstatement, it is a fact.  But I still had four kids and a life and a husband and had to get up the next morning and keep going.  Praying got me through so much, after I stopped being really mad at God.  The funny thing about being mad at God is that He knows you are mad and is waiting for you to bring the issue to Him.  What a concept, took me a while though.  Cooper is Cooper and that's it.  I cannot change him or cure him.  I just give him the best day I can and help him adjust to what he needs to adjust to.  I just give him the calmest place to start and teach him to roll with the punches.

What challenges are you facing with your children?  Mine are not better or worse than yours, just different.  Let me know, we are all in this together.

God bless you and yours.

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