The spectrum

I’ve heard it twice now.

The spectrum.

People refer to this when they are talking about Autism.

It’s the Autism spectrum.

This means that there are all levels and all reflections of this issue and each has its name from classic Autism to Aspergers to ADD and ADHD to Sensory disorders.

I wouldn’t have put my son on this level. In fact I wasn’t looking, wasn’t paying attention and it was even suggested to be by a friend. I was thrown off and put off that someone would think something was wrong with my son.

He was just an active boy.

He has always been full of energy.

He was curious and asked tons of questions.

He gets angry because he’s tired.

He pushes all my buttons because he’s my kid.

He questions all my decisions because we taught him to have a voice.

He yells and screams because he learned it from us.

He cries a lot because he is very sensitive and emotional.

He can’t hear me because he’s focusing.

He couldn’t do martial arts because it was new to him and he’s just young.

I had a reason for each behavior. Please hear me that I’m not saying that any of these above reasons weren’t or aren’t true. My point is I wasn’t looking for a diagnosis for my son. I wasn’t looking for medical clues to his behavior. I was just looking at my son.

If he were tested, he may fall into one of these categories. I’m not confident in that statement, but when I know how he responds to eating food he shouldn’t, I can see many of these qualities in him. The only thing we know for sure according to doctors is that he has leaky gut. What I know in my gut is that he would be on the spectrum.

When I knew that he was probably on the spectrum, I all of a sudden saw him different. Almost like there was something wrong with him. He “had” something. Please forgive this statement because I don’t look at other children that way, I never have, but when it’s your own child, I think this is a natural first reaction.

I was looking at him as a kid “with” something instead of just my kid. I hated this even more.

I find I am talking about this in past and present tense because it was something I felt, but still experience as it sneaks up on me. It sneaks up on me because I don’t know how to live in this space of just looking at my son for who he is, and yet keeping half an eye open to his behavior and trying to figure it out or navigate my way through more issues. (I don’t assume that even though we have come this far, that we are quite done yet. The body is complicated and fascinating.)

How do just look at my son and not his behavior when he is always behaving? Behaving good, behaving badly, behaving badly, behaving tired, behaving with a giving spirit, behaving with a sad spirit, behaving cranky. I have to look at the behavior but not make it about food or his brain, or his stomach all the time.

I don’t know how to do this.

I don’t know how to look at him and not his issue.

I don’t know how to look at his issues and separate it from him.

Most of the time I just feel exhausted as we navigate our way through food issues. And even while we navigate through one child, there is still the other one who has severe wheat and peanut issues. It presents itself on his skin and in his behavior.

I don’t know how to do this. How to figure out what’s going on with my child and help him along the way.

I hope I get better at this.