Meet my beautiful boy Arie he is 3 ½. I waited a long time for him to come along and he is my rainbow baby with an incredible mind and the biggest of hearts. He is a perfectionist to the tenth degree, he pays close attention to detail and never leaves a stone unturned. He is connected to places and landmarks and never forgets anything. He knows when we have taken a different route home and wonders why. I am constantly surprised by his memory recall.
It wasn’t until Arie was about 18 months I started to notice some differences. He was happy and cheeky but also very reluctant to socialise with other children. I had worked with children with additional needs for my entire working career but I never really considered having one myself. I wasn’t prepared really, I had dreamt of the type of child I would raise with my background and knowledge he should be perfect. This has been the hardest thing for me to accept but I am learning to stop having expectations and just let him be himself and accept all the amazing abilities he has. I am trying not to worry about sharing or his ability to understand another’s perspective, but focus on really trying to connect and understand him.
Arie doesn’t have a diagnosis but I am sure when we are ready to hear the words we will. If I could diagnose him myself I would. It wont change things for us he is still my beautiful funny little angel boy. We have visited psychologists and OT’s and I have now connected with some other mums that have had a similar experience. I have got to the point now where I am trying to just get to know him again. I felt like I spent so long obsessing over what was wrong that I forgot to get to know my child. I think our relationship got so fractured in the mess of it all so resigned from my permanent teaching position and started concentrating on a new journey. There are still a myriad of appointments but I am trying really hard to worry less about what he can do and focus on the amazing way he thinks and work on how we can best support him in all areas of his life.
Arie is extremely intelligent, he doesn’t sit still and draw or talk about his feelings much (what 3 year olds do) but he loves fiercely and he is passionate. He is a visual learner and a very literal thinker I am always confused by his descriptions of things or his approaches to conversation until I process it later on and then it clicks. I am constantly deciphering and switching my brain into ‘arie mode’ I have to be so careful with what I say to make sure I always give an accurate description of something that cant be misinterpreted.
I’m hoping to stop caring a little less of what people think (they probably aren’t thinking anything) and concentrate on repairing myself and Arie and taking the time to have fun and enjoy my child the way I had imagined all those years ago. I will try not to let his challenges upset me instead I will embrace them as something that will benefit him later in life. I will not focus on the struggles he might have in the future but how we will move through them together. And maybe write a book on literal thinkers to help other people understand how to communicate with kids like Arie.