Today, I add a new tag to my wordpress collection.
Yesterday, Jareth’s psychiatrist, the jazz-playing Michael McDonough, verified that Jareth is autistic.
This was not a snap decision. Jareth has been in observation for over a year now. Almost every week, I’ve taken half a day off work to bring him to sessions at Enable Ireland. the Monaghan branch is very very friendly.
Some of the signs of his autism:
- He will be four next month. He has not spoken a single sentence yet.
- He expresses excitement by jumping up and down and flapping his hands
- He has extraordinary sequencing ability – can write numbers from 0 to whatever, and letters from a to z. Also the reverse – z to a, whatever to 0.
- His drawing ability is more complex than one would expect of a three year old.
There are more symptoms (see here for the more common characteristics), but they are not as visually obvious.
So why am I putting this in my blog? Surely one non-technical post this month is more than enough?
Well, if you are reading this blog, you are probably a technical person. And you probably exhibit those same characteristics. Are you very good in some areas (programming, for example) and other people think you are anti-social (even if you don’t think so yourself)? Do you fidget?
The reason I say all this is that I see myself in Jareth. As a child, I was always alone, I was nicknamed “Einstein II” because I had a great ability in maths and general knowledge (the maths ability stagnated as I got bored with school), I still fidget (rocking, finger tapping), people say I am antisocial and arrogant and even sometimes obnoxious although I really don’t see it at the time and am always surprised when someone says it.
Autism is about 80% genetic, and there is a 4.3:1 ratio of male to female incidence. this means that if Jareth’s autism is hereditary, then he most likely got it from me than from Bronwyn.
There is a plus side, though – I grew out of most of the symptoms, and I think he will as well.
Also, his abilities are perfect for the 21st century – his interests lie in areas that are perfect for engineering, programming, or other technical careers. I think he’ll go far.
My son enjoys his life, even if communication is frustrating, and I would not have him any other way.