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.
Autism is not a bad thing. It is just another way of approaching life. There is no cure, but autistics say that they don’t want to be “cured” anyway.
My son enjoys his life, even if communication is frustrating, and I would not have him any other way.