Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Autistic Side

Remember in this post I talked about the gifted side, and when we began to know that Selena was gifted. Actually from the time Selena was born we suspected there was something not quite right, it wasn't horribly wrong, but she had quirks. Even as a new born she didn't like being swaddled, held to tight, formula dripping on her hand, chin, or clothing, but on the other hand she was so alert, and in tuned to the world around her. I remember at about 6 months old, Selena was laying on the floor, as I was watching a Tennis match on the TV, her little head shifted from right to left as her eyes were glued to that little tennis ball on the screen. She was a very rigid baby and did not like her schedule changing one bit, though she was not a fussy baby, always happy go lucky.

Her first experience in a nursery with other children, without us was before she was a year old. The look on her face as children began to appear was a look of fear, horror, and stress. She didn't whimper or cry but you could tell she did not like this situation one bit. On numerous occasions she would attempt to escape from the nursery, and as soon as we showed up to pick her up she would sob, laugh, cry, and run to our arms all at the same time.

Through out the years we questioned her quirks as a Sensory Processing Disorder. We watched for all sorts of signs, was she sensitive to noise, light, particular textures or odors. The more we watched the more often Autism or Spectrum Disorder would come into the discussion. We took her to Occupational Therapists to have her assessed for sensory issues only to be told that she did not meet the criteria for Sensory Processing Disorder.

She was the one in a group of kids who would take the leader roll and it was not always a pleasant site to see, it could be very embarrassing as she lead the other children astray from what they were suppose to be doing. Yet, she was such a quick learner and even when it seemed she wasn't paying attention she could come home and tell you every single word the instructor or adult had said.

It wasn't until we moved when Selena was 4 that we began to see the full scale changes taking place. She loved the new house, but she missed the old house so bad that she sat and cried for hours. This was the time when the meltdowns began. For a child who never threw a fit in her tender first years, she could sure poor them on at age 4. We had so many different opinions being thrown at us from ADHD, Bipolar, Anxiety Disorder, until finally we heard PDD-NOS Autism, which was the one opinion we could clearly except. Autism was the one we questioned all the time, could she have it? It was the one who fit the puzzle.

Colleen at Raising Lifelong Learners, has an excellent post that discusses the twice exceptional child. I encourage you to go take the time to familiar yourself with her knowledge in this area. I am going to be spending a lot of time writing about what we have learned, how we deal, and how being both gifted and Autistic affects everything in our daily lives, as well as Selena's learning curve.
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