Once upon a time an umbrella was something that provided shelter from a storm. Now, having just learned our two year old identical twin boys had PDD-NOS (Persuasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) we learned that ‘umbrella’ was a term used to describe the range of diagnosis (PDD-NOS, Autism, Asperger) and all the traits that fall under it. The list of traits seemingly longer than Jack’s Bean Stalk.
I talked to my sister about it, explaining the boys had BOTH just received a strange alphabet soup diagnosis, PDD-NOS (both later diagnosed with autism). I nervously read through a list of traits common to kids under the autism umbrella, wishfully hoping I wouldn’t see my boys. As we went through the list, there were certainly many traits that I had never seen in the boys, such as wanting to wear tight clothing, or repetitive spinning. Then, a funny thing happened on my way to despair. We started recognizing ourselves and immediate family on the list of traits for kids with autism.
For example, if you lived with me you’d know one of my autism traits is I HATE TAGS. They give me the shivers. My sister would get mad at me when I would borrow her clothes, because I would inevitably reach behind my back & tear out the tag, leaving a hole in the neck of the shirt. There is not a single tag on any wash cloth, dish, bath or beach towel in my house. I love my spray bottle of goo-gone, it removes every sticky tag I annoyingly come in contact with.
Inevitably, the boys had more yeses on the list of traits seen in kids with autism, than the rest of our family members combined, but recognizing ourselves on the list made it an easier pill to swallow. That was the day I put on my autism colored glasses, seeing the world in a whole new rainbow. Encountering the obsessions, idiosyncrasies, and the like, of anyone in my path was seeing their autism.
One of the traits the boys do exhibit on the list is perseverating, repeating themselves relentlessly. Isn’t repeating yourself a basic requirement of being a parent? How many times have I heard myself saying the same thing I just said, the last three times I spoke? Ah, it takes a little autism to be a parent.
If you review the list of traits of kids with autism, think of yourself, your boss, or anyone you know. I’m sure you’ll see autism all around you from then on.
What is your autism trait? Own it!