July 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm (Cats, Crazy Shit, Nate)

Yesterday Luna had a her kittens. Yes, I know, I hadn’t mentioned that Luna was pregnant because I really didn’t want it to be true. She had three, two of which lived and they are both black, like their uncle/father, Jirachi. Ugh.

She had them inside the couch. The cats have collectively shredded a hole in the arm of my couch and she went INSIDE to have the babies. They freakin’ cried all night.

Otherwise, the real crux of Wednesday was that upon arrival at counseling (a break from our usual Thursdays), Nate informed me he didn’t want to talk to them, he only wanted to talk to me.

Thereafter, his counselor and my counselor hustled me away to the upstairs counseling room and sat down to deliver, I guess what they thought might be a huge BOMBSHELL that they believe that Nate may have Aspergers Disorder.

Aspergers is one of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders associated with high functioning autism. As I read the informational sheet, I was struck by how much like my son it sounded and a bit like myself as well.

One thing in particular struck me the most (aside from poor social skills, a one track mind, creative, intelligent, and consistent underachiever), was taking things in the literal sense. I can’t tell you how annoyed and FRUSTRATED I would become with Nate over his homework, and then, the lack of turning that homework in.

First, Nate would bring home unfinished papers, but then say, “Its not homework because the teacher didn’t say it was homework and the teacher is the boss of the classroom, so if the teacher didn’t say it was homework, then its not homework.”  Then, after being made to do the paper, over his complaints that it wasn’t homework, I would find the same paper in his bookbag, when questioned, he would say, “The teacher didn’t ask for it.”

Now, you and I would assume, if all the other children in the classroom stood up and turned the paper in without being told, then Nate would too. However, if he has Aspergers, that’s not how he thinks. He doesn’t assume things, or even respond to that social clue. He is ‘blind’ to regular social clues that you and I respond to. He would only respond to the teacher telling him that 1) if you don’t finish the paper, take it home for homework, and 2) if the teacher said, “Turn in blah blah paper.”

I can’t tell you how many times he would look at me and say, “The teacher didn’t say it was homework,” and “The teacher didn’t ask for it.”  Over and over and over and fucking OVER, until you really start to believe he just doesn’t want to do it, which I doubt he does anyway, because he’s bored off his ass and sees absolutely no purpose in going to school at all, but will conform if he’s given the right instruction, whether he likes it or not.

So, you can see why this would cause the problems that it has, especially with Jeff. We take it that if  I paper is not finished in class, then its homework, even if the teacher doesn’t say so. If Nate isn’t told that than he believes that it isn’t homework, then it appears to be a lie that he doesn’t have homework, even when he has unfinished papers in his bookbag.

This is something that I have been seeking for a long time. I knew he wasn’t really “bonding” with his counselor, that he chooses to talk to me about how he’s feeling, but as I told him, I don’t have the tools in my tool chest to help you. Luckily, if it is Aspergers, which they don’t diagnose so they are sending us to a comprehensive center at Marshall University, then, I’m going to understand so much more about how my son thinks! And if I know how he thinks, then I can be such a better parent to him.

Amazingly, which is something that I didn’t have any idea about, was that ADD/ADHD is part of the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers. And, the program at Marshall has a specific intervention center for Autism/Aspergers and my tool chest would be full of things I can do that will help Nate succeed.

How long, oh how long, have a kept telling, and kept telling, and kept telling his doctors/counselors, “socially awkward, doesn’t make friends easily, takes things literally, etc. etc. etc.”

I guess they thought I was going to be upset. I’M NOT UPSET, I’M ELATED!  Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME???? I’ve been searching for the key to Nate for a long time and if this is it, then I can’t even begin to tell you how much hope I have and the tears I cry are tears of joy that finally, I might REALLY be able to help him instead of swimming around in a dark sea, searching for light.

And if its not Aspergers, I’ll just keep searching. But, I think we’re on to something. At least I feel as though I’ve solved one major mystery, and that is why Nate will do his homework but not turn it in. Because the teacher didn’t ask for it. Why didn’t I think of that???


  1. kenju said,

    I can see how you’d be elated at finding a “cause” for the behaviors. Someone in my family is searching for the cause of some things, too, and she will be elated when she finally gets a diagnosis. Good for you – and I hope this will be the start of a better life for you and Nate.

  2. SagaciousHillbilly said,

    I understand your problem.
    They name things and describe them in minute detail.
    Unfortunately, they are no further along in treating kids with these behaviors and traits than they were 40-50 yrs ago when they were telling me I needed to “buckle down” and “turn over a new leaf.” I know this because I’ve been through it with two of my kids.
    Ya just gotta keep plugging along, giving him encouragement and help him understand that it is a problem with the educational system and not him. He is who he is and the educational system is only geared for certain common behavioral types. When a child presents himself as something different, it is the child who is told that THEY have a problem, not the education system that tries to stuff every kid into a one size fits all suit.
    In a natural society, people with all sorts of personality types and behavioral patterns have a place and can excel. Unfortunately, we live in a shallow, inflexible society of proletariat wankers.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. Nate will be fine.

  3. blackpunkin said,

    Kenju, its only one possibility, but I’m looking for help in just helping Nate.

    Sagacious One, you are totally right that the education system is only geared toward children that fit within a specific box. There really is nothing wrong with Nate, unless he happens to be within our education system. I love him regardless and will continue to keep encouraging him. That’s what I do.

  4. noonie said,

    I have taught a few kids with Aspergers, am good friends with a little boy with it, and my friends son has it. I also swear my stepdad has it.

    it makes for a different little soul. But once you get the tools, it’s amazing how different you find it handling them.

    Quick one to help his teacher, always ask her/him to make sure any instructions given in class are also given to Nate by name…

    so I would say If everyone can get out their books, Nate can you get out your book please.

    Seems Asperger’s kids don’t hear an instruction unless it is specifically directed at them. Worked wonders for the few in my classroom all them years back now.


  5. Brighton said,

    Good for you and Nate : )

  6. Vince said,

    Grasshopper also has an ADHD component to his Asperger’s syndrome that he takes medication for. And talk about literal minded! Oh, BTW, is Nate a walking encyclopedia of facts? At least facts that interest him? Tell Grasshopper something once and he can spout it back to you weeks later.

    Assuming the diagnosis comes out what you think, don’t be afraid to use me and the Wife as a resource. We’ve been dealing with “the system” for quite a while. One other thing to keep in mind. When Grasshopper first got diagnosed, he’d sit in a corner with his back to the room and play by himself. The Wife never believed he’d be in an integrated classroom. After going through programs, he now initiates contacts and conversations with other kids, has a (all be it small) circle of friends, and is a reasonably normal kid his age. He even gave up his one to one aid this year. So there is light at the end of the tunnel and Nate can learn how to function in the real world.

    As you said, getting the right diagnosis is the first step.

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