Monday, March 26, 2007
We think of ourselves, and others, with labels all the time. Alex is ADHD and sort of dyslexic. The professionals are quick to say that Alex has ADHD, not Alex is ADHD; I need to be careful about that little detail… Dave and I are both at best "geeks" or "nerds." I label myself a Domestic Disaster. The other day at a meeting of Joseph's therapy team, the man that has been helping us with our home program for the last 5 years announced, in passing, that he wouldn't call Joseph autistic or PDD-NOS. Clearly Joseph's problems come from a genetic anomaly—but I’ve grown comfortable with the label autistic. It is never easy to say, but it is getting less hard to say. It has surprised me over the past few days how often I’ve thought about that one brief, off-hand comment. Autism isn’t a label I’m comfortable with, but I’m not comfortable without any label either. That is where we were for the first 5 years. Genetic anomaly. No record of any other person with the same genetic anomaly. The geneticist told us “Joseph will write his own book.” I used to think something like Downs would be easier, because at least we would know what to expect. At the very least, the PDD-NOS diagnosis gave us a place to be. It also gave us access to behavior therapies and teaching techniques that have been extremely useful. We will continue to label him “autistic” because there isn’t a better category, or a better way to make it clear to others that one shouldn’t expect typical behavior from Joseph. But it has had me thinking.
at 12:26 PM