I’ve tried to sit down and write about this several times, but I keep hitting a wall. I’ve only spoken about it to one or two friends. HF has informed the general rest of them, and me, I don’t want to talk about it. Not because I’m embarrassed, but because I’m emotionally raw. I can touch on it briefly, clinically, lightly, and be ok. But emotionally, I’m avoiding the topic in a way you want to avoid standing beneath a dam suspiciously crisscrossed with duct-tape.
So we’ll be brief, clinical, light.
Autism is a brain development disorder that Khalid has. His in-depth assessment begins on Sunday, Insha’Allah. It will take several sessions with the clinical psychologist. After that, we will begin the necessary therapies to help him learn as much as he can and bridge the verbal, social, and physical development gap between him and “normal” children.
(There’s a lot of duct tape on the dam. A few post-it notes too. Some sad-looking safety pins…)
Well, at least now we know what’s wrong- why nothing I’ve ever tried to teach Khalid has worked, why everyone and their mother seemed to be waltzing through motherhood while I stumbled, blundered, and tripped my way over “such basic things” as sleeping, talking, shape-sorting, social interaction, potty-training… Grim satisfaction can be had in knowing that hey, when all those things they said should work failed, at least it was for a reason other than my own maternal incompetence.
(It’s because you spoil him)
(It’s because you’re babying him)
(It’s because you’re not being consistent)
(It’s a matter of will-power)
(It’s because you nursed him too long)
(It’s because you always picked him up when he cried)
(It’s because you are working when you should be paying attention to him)
(It’s basically you)
Take Two: Well, that thread was going down the negative tubes fast, so I closed the draft and left it alone for the last week. Fast-Forward to today, Wednesday, and Khalid’s assessment is done and we’re waiting for the detailed report upon which the therapy outline will be based.
Khalid is, as the clinical psychologist said, “definitely autistic,” which dashed my slim hopes of him somehow, someway, not really being autistic. At the same time, I felt relieved to be confirming the problem, because now we’re one step closer to the solution, InshaAllah.
There, I typed a smiley face, and I actually mean it. 🙂
The Autism therapy center we’ve picked is a bright, colorful, toy-crammed, series of rooms in Dubai where Khalid and I will be spending a few hours a day for therapy. I don’t know how many hours yet, but the average is 20 a week. I’m looking forward to it, and can’t wait to start seeing progress- I feel nervous and happy and excited at the prospect of Khalid talking, or signing, or finally communicating with us in some way.
What I’m not looking forward to though, is the daily drive from Abu Dhabi down to Dubai, which has already started to play havoc with my knee. My busticated knee is also my driving knee, so I’m scheduled to visit the orthopedic surgeon again (who is by now, a family friend) on the 19th. I think I’m supposed to get Hyalgan injected into my knee again. It’s nature’s WD-40, whee! It’s also kept in a small refrigerator somewhere in the doc’s office, and when he shoots it, cold, into my knee, it’s the weirdest, inside-out kind of feeling.
Hmm, what else is up. I had a custard apple for the first time in my life today. I understand the ‘custard’ part, since it does have a sweet and vanilla-y flavor. The ‘apple’ part is still off though. In Thailand, the name for the custard apple is the same word for ‘grenade,’ and that would make slightly more sense, if grenades were creamy instead of explosive.
And in the continuing spirit of randomness, I met a nice employee of a -Large Bookstore Name Here- yesterday whose name was Sugar Rey. I wonder if he thinks women are always hitting on him. (Hey there, Sugar…*heart*)