Because our life isn't nearly interesting or busy enough, we've decided to add something to the mile long list of things we deal with every day. We've finally gotten some answers on some of Gabriels' more annoying habits and behaviors and it's a naughty A word...Asperger's Syndrome. This is a diagnosis three years in the making. We've already had ADHD, ADD, and OCD ruled out and now it appears that AS is going to stick. It makes sense, he's been showing signs and symptoms for years, he has a shunt (the stats on children with shunts who also have AS are ridiculously high) and quite frankly, if I'm honest with myself, I've known for years that this was coming.
What does that mean for us? A few more specialist and a few more doctors' bills to pay...and a few new coping techniques, but other than that? Not much. Gabe is Gabe is Gabe is Gabe. He's a little "left of center", a bit odd, a bit of a weirdie...but so are the rest of us. I mean, seriously, Geo and I had an in-depth conversation about the impact beavers have on our environment (fun fact: beavers are the only other mammal capable of changing the landscape as rapidly as humans-chew on that ha ha) today and that's a NORMAL conversation for us.
Gabe is really really bright (look at me being oh so humble) and that doesn't help him. He's so damn smart that when he gets interested in something he needs to know everything about it and then feels like he needs to share it with EVERYONE whether or not they are interested (and with the exception of a few like minded Witkowski's-you know who you are lol-not many people care about the inner workings of a jet or want to hear about Captain America for twenty minutes straight) He's always been socially awkward, we just thought he'd outgrow it...turns out he probably won't but that's ok. We love him, quirks and all :)
The biggest issue now is dealing with being part of two disabled worlds: the visible and invisible. People don't understand why an articulate 8 year old melts down over seemingly nothing. People don't understand that an 8 year old can't wear a tag in his clothes because it literally gives him welts on his skin. People don't understand why he NEEDS to tell you the type of jet they used in World War two and when you cut him off he gets pissed. Asperger's has gotten a really bad rap as of late because so many people are "self diagnosing" themselves; it's become somewhat of a buzzword diagnosis; something parents can slap on their children to excuse pretty much any and every type of crap behavior they'd like to. Those sorts of situations make it much harder for me to say "I'm sorry he's on the floor screaming right now, but he has AS" because no one believes it; they think I'm another bad mother with a bratty kid I can't keep under control. Trust me, that's not the case, no one wants their kid up off the floor more than I do.
Gabe knows he's different; he knows he has a large scar on his back, walks with a limp, and has to see doctors other kids his age don't need to see. He's not stupid, he knows that he has AS too, even if he hasn't been able to put a name to it. He told me the other day that he wishes he didn't have fits or feel "weird" inside, that he doesn't like it and that pretty much killed me. Here's my sweet 8 year old baby who is not only "different" on the outside and knows it, he now knows he's different on the "inside" too. It's a really helpless feeling when your kid tells you something like this; in the meantime all we can do is keep reminding him we love him, keep taking him to the best counselors and doctors we can find, and keep getting up each day with the hope that it'll be a better day for all of us. Because at some point, it WILL be a better day for us, it's just a matter of getting there.