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Autism and the Teenager March 17, 2015

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, autism activities, autism diet, autism teen, humor, Parenting, special needs, specific carbohydrate diet.
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He turned 13 this week. A teenager now.

Oh My God. How did this happen?

On one hand, I feel like it was yesterday when he was born, then diagnosed at almost 2. Maybe the fact that his autism had us locked into the “terrible twos” for ten years has something to do with my disbelief that my little man is now a teen. Yet on the other hand, I feel like I’m 102 and I can’t remember life before autism.

I had to laugh at all the Facebook friends who saw the birthday post that I have a teen… and started warning me to go out and buy hair color now. Hello? “Now”? “Now”, you say? Where have you been? Honey, I’ve been Clairol’s best customer for this whole 11 year ride. (Of course, I’ve been known to sport that gray “skunk stripe” more times than I’d like to recall when I didn’t have the time to get to the salon.)

Anyway, autism has grayed me, and aged me. And the teenage years to come scare me.

The hormones kicked in about a year ago, along with the teenage angst and the mustache. How is it that the kid has a mustache at 12 anyway? Seventh grade seems young to me for that. My boy. He is so gorgeous with his green eyes, slim build, long hair and ready smile. He could model…if only he could sit still and focus long enough.

I worry about his attraction to girls and their attraction to him. I see heartbreak and frustration coming. He isn’t “typical” enough for a relationship yet. Maybe someday. But he desperately wants to make connections and is trying so hard, though he lacks the conversational skills. His life-long desire to hug everyone, once cute, is getting awkward now as he grows to an already 5’4′ tall. Language is the one thing, no, the biggest thing, that prevents him from the breakthrough we all feel is right on the other side of that invisible wall.

He’s come so far though. I never thought he’d talk when he was first diagnosed. And while I can’t really yet imagine it, I am hopeful he will live a somewhat independent life someday. He takes dance and piano and acting lessons. He plays basketball, baseball and lacrosse on special needs teams. And in one of the greatest feats ever: He sang a two minute song…Do you Hear the People Sing from Les Miserables!…all alone with only an instrumental accompaniment while competing in a suit and tie in a local pageant on the stage of a large community theater. Massive accomplishment. Yet, he can’t hold a conversation.

You know what? Conversation is overrated. Today is a day to celebrate how far my wonderful teenager has come. And how bright his future will be. How bright all their futures will be.

* * * * * * * * * * *** * * * *

Brag on: What has your child accomplished that you never thought he/she would? Or what do you fear your child will never accomplish?



1. mtaheny1 - February 23, 2016

Just being able to speak to us is a major gift! He didn’t begin talking until he was 6 (and that was only parroting) and didn’t converse until almost 11. Once we realized his thyroid was a problem and got him so meds, he has exploded in conversation, but it is sporadic.

He was born on April Fool’s Day (he reminds us this frequently) and often has a very wry and unexpected sense of humor. Once, when I was Skyping my adult daughter (who had just given birth and was bursting out of her size medium shirt from breastfeeding) my son walked past the computer, took a look at my daughter spilling out everywhere with cleavage and simply said, “Hey Brianna…got milk?”

I laughed so hard, I cried! (Not unlike your son’s First Communion reaction to the crucifix!)

They have a gift of utilizing language in optimal ways when they have the chance!

hopeauthority - April 10, 2016

That’s great about his sense of humor. I’m curious how you came to find the thyroid issue? (If you’d like to share it).Tracey

2. Am I Wrong - September 25, 2016

My 38 month old got a haircut with only crying. He sat in the little kid space shuttle chair, he let me put the smock on him, he kept his hands down only until the tiny buzzer took too long by his ears, he rested his head against me while they buzzed the sides and back. Before he had to be held by me kicking and screaming.

hopeauthority - September 26, 2016

Great news. Before you know it, he’ll be sitting like a pro. When my guy was little, I planned his haircut so he’d be asleep in his car seat and my cousin would come out of the salon and cut his hair right in the carseat! I’d have to hold his sleeping head this way and that way. So funny. Now, he sits like a champ. 🙂

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