Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another one....

The director at Potatey's school stopped me on my way out this morning. "Remember Little Boy X? I was talking to his mom the other day, and she told me that Little Boy X had just been diagnosed".

I do remember Little Boy X. This little guy is about 13 - 14 months older than Potatey, and as this little guy tended to 'transfer' between class rooms on the upper limit of the age window, while Potatey tends to transfer on the lower limit of the age window, Potatey and Little Boy X shared classrooms a few times.

I remember Little Boy X's spectacular tantrums around drop-off and pick-up, around getting ready for outside time, around getting ready for going back inside, around any 'significant' transition.

I remember Little Boy X's inability to sit still for more than a nano second, his issues with personal space, the fine motor difficulties.

I remember Little Boy X's 'need' to have his shoe laces tied 'just so'. I remember Little Boy X being absolutely terrified of the water sprinklers. I also remember a memorable episode at school that involved a bubble machine and loud music. I remember Little Boy X's fascination/obsession with cars and being able to identify every car he saw by make, year, model, engine size from the moment he started talking.

I remember Little Boy X pretty much living on antibiotics, yoghurt and string cheese.

I remember ear tubes, asthma attacks, night terrors, and not gaining weight despite consuming massive amounts of dairy (Little Boy X's mom and I worked for the same company at one point and we talked about our kids.. a LOT.. Little Boy X was her first..).

I remember sitting down with Mom and talking for several hours about how ear infections, asthma, always being sick, behaviors, tantrums were definitely related to consumption of certain foods for MY two boys.

I remember gently coaching Mom to keep a close eye on Little Boy X's development, as Little Boy X reminded me a lot of Salamander at that age.

I remember Mom looking into dietary changes, and trying to taper down on Little Boy X's dairy consumption and giving up after 48 hours as the 'tantrums are just too much'.

I remember staff at Potatey's school gently counseling Mom that there was something different about Little Boy X; different from most 3 and 4 year olds.

I remember giving Mom my e-mail address and phone number and encouraging her to 'contact me any time, any place, if and when you need to talk or want to learn more'.

Then I changed jobs, Little Boy X and Potatey no longer shared a class room, Little Boy X 'graduated' to public Kindergarten, and I lost touch with Mom.

Not even halfway into the school year, Ms. Kindergarten Teacher contacted Little Boy X's parents and expressed her concerns. Little Boy X now also has a younger sibling, and Mom started to realize how different Little Boy X's development was from his younger sib's.

So Mom had Little Boy X evaluated.. and as you already guessed, Little Boy X was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

The director at Potatey's school told me 'how devastated Mom is over the diagnosis.' The director asked me if I had any advice for Mom, and that 'since Little Boy X is so smart, he'll be OK as he gets a little older, right? Your guy [Salamander] is older now and he seems OK.'

I told the director to, if she talks with Mom again, give Mom my name, phone number and e-mail address once again and to tell her, once again, that she can 'contact me anytime, any place, if and when she needs to talk.'

Right now, I am devastated for Little Boy X and his family (eventhough the 'diagnostic' conclusion of this, all too familiar, story was an, in my mind, inevitable one ...).

Yes, I remember Little Boy X and his mom. I hope she remembers me too and that, this time, she WILL contact me. And then I'll do whatever is in my power to help Little Boy X...


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