This is the final part in a guest post series by Lisa Kallas, the Blogger behind Sugar Loaf Dream (click here to view her blog.) Here she writes about Aspergers, in relation to her son. To read part one, click here. And to read part two, click here.
By the time Michael was finally diagnosed with Aspergers it had been a very long and winding road so it seemed. It was also the final piece of the puzzle and the one that
I always thought was missing. Finally every loose end was tied up and it made more sense. It didn’t make things great, but it did make them a little more understandable.
As time went on it became apparent that as disruptive as the ADHD and the Bi-Polar had been , the Aspergers had taken over when it came to interfering with his teenage life. The awkwardness that Aspergers brings made peer relationships, which were already strained, near impossible. However then combined with ADHD “annoyance” made friendship building difficult.
For many years I tried to teach Michael that people react to how they are treated. So if he approaches someone with anger or rudeness then that is how they will respond. Having a short fuse is an ADHD trademark, not understanding how that affects others is an Aspergers one.
For many years my dad would get annoyed with me, as he said I was making excuses for Michael. I wasn’t, but I could give reasons for why certain behaviours occurred. There is a difference between an excuse and a reason. Now at 24 I can still pin point certain times and actions and tell you exactly why you will see the reactions that you do. Like when a full moon is approaching.
Yes, Michael is one of many who reacts to the moons cycle. I have learned not to push my luck at that time…..to be honest, I have learnt over the years when and how to pick my battles in general. I guess we have both grown in that respect, better late than never I
say. I also made it my mission to know absolutely everything I could to assist him through and have an understanding of his life.
As different maturation stages have occurred, Michael has been very lucky in be able to have a higher understanding of the way his mind works, but more importantly how it
impacts on others. Empathy is something that sometimes never occurs for Aspergers patients, luckily it has happened for Michael and even though others might not always see it, I know just how hard he is trying.
I have to say the psychiatrist that finally shed the light on his Aspergers was an interesting man in himself. I’m sure he was very intelligent and capable in his field
but he was a little, well…..odd!!! To be honest he reminded us of Mr Bean,
so much so I often wondered where he was hiding Teddy in his office!!! I do believe this helped in Michael warming to him as Michael was a big Mr Bean fan. It did make it a little difficult to take him seriously though.
Michael has always been musical, right from a very young age. He showed a particular talent for singing. A pitch perfect ear and a beautiful voice. He still uses it, but leans
more towards rap these days. He’s very good at it, but I do miss him singing “normally”. He is also self taught guitar, piano and drums. Actually anything that he has ever put his hand and mind to he was good at. (A proud mummy moment there, sorry!!!)
Now at 24 we have the best relationship we have ever had; it has taken a lot of work and more low moments than I really wish to count. Times that I didn’t think we would get
through but we always did. I always used to ask why was I given this naughty, difficult child? Then when that first diagnosis of ADHD came and I knew he wasn’t just naughty, there was a reason, I still asked “why me?”Then I realised that either he was given to me to teach me patience or for me to be able to teach him how to get through in
life. Now, I think it was a little of both. I also believe it was to be able to recognise issues in others and assist their parents where I could.
Either way, I often think how boring my life would have been without him…..quieter, calmer, less stressful, but yes, boring. He will never be perfect, but whose child is?Anyone that tries to tell you they have a perfect child is pulling your leg. Some might come close in their parents eyes, but no one is perfect.
So my slightly flawed, perfect boy has made me proud. He has faced challenges head on, taken a few casualties along the way. He has tried very hard to learn from his
experiences and mistakes. No, it doesn’t mean he wont repeat a few, but he will certainly try not to hurt others along the way.
24 years and still learning….both of us, how to live and survive the roller coaster.
Thank you for coming on a little part of our journey with us.
Micheal & Lisa