Today we went from this:
We adore my stylist Sharika. She is one of those conscientious, sensitive, and trustworthy people that you can tell any secret. She is also one of those artistic perfectionists who will give you perfect highlights and precise cut. Plus, she has mad skillz with autistic kids.
My fidgety, everything-needs-to-be-just right son loves her. She sprays the comb, not his hair. She and warns him of new sounds and funny sensations. And best of all, she lets him play with her timer. Shakira’s brother has Asperger’s. I don’t need to explain much of anything to her, she knows.
I drive Liev almost 40 minutes to see her. We make a day of it. Picnic in the car. Haircut. Trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Even the long ride is celebratory. I tell animated stories and jazz the two of us up. Liev is a bit overexcited when we arrive. No worries. Ms. Shakira’s got it under control.
Afterward, Liev sucks on a ring pop, looking older as we walk back to the car. Chattering, we ride the elevator in the parking garage for twenty minutes. As we leave, we discover that you can see the first floor pavement through a chink in the elevator floor. This merits another ten minutes of rides and squeals.
When we arrive at Chuck E. Cheese’s, I am glad it is deserted. Nevertheless, everything dings, boops or wails. We buy an obsecene number of tokens and burn through them in an hour. Both of us leave vibrating in synchrony with the arcade. Liev walks to the car in his socks, complaining about his shoes being too tight.
As long as we are walking away from the noise, I am okay with that.
As I search for answers about my place on the autism spectrum, I found a term that describes me: broader autism phenotype.
A phenotype is a snapshot of a living creature–how it looks, behaves, and develops in its environment. A phenotype the result of nature, nurture and how they interact: genetics plus environment equals phenotype.
The broader autism phenotype (BAP) describes social, behavioral, language, and personality characteristics that are not clinically autistic, but close enough to be correlated to the presence of autistic family members.
If you fit the broad autism phenotype, you have autistic traits, but they are less intense and numerous than an autistic individual.
I googled it and found a quiz, on–heaven help me, OK Cupid:
Your result for The Broad Autism Phenotype Test …
You scored 124 aloof, 123 rigid and 105 pragmatic.
You scored above the cutoff on all three scales. Clearly, you are either autistic or on the broader autistic phenotype. You probably are not very social, and when you do interact with others, you come off as strange or rude without meaning to. You probably also like things to be familiar and predictable and don’t like changes, especially unexpected ones.
Edited To Add:
I revisited this page after two years. Since that time, I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. I leave a message to those who might wonder if they have Asperger’s or be in the broader autism phenotype.
The clinical line you draw around yourself only helps if it improves your life. Everyone has some autistic traits. The stronger and more numerous your traits, the more challenges you must overcome.
Yet, you can manage, especially when others before you lend their guidance. My mother is a good example of the broader autism phenotype. She has some narrow special interests and intense specialized focus, but she also has social and communication skills that elude my father and me.
If you are BAP, a window to the autistic condition rests in your head. Peer in! Educate others through example and experience. Do not fear the spectrum! We are lovely, worthy people.
I am such a goof. Liev was cranky and not his best so I left him at home while I went to the school’s open house. I was loving my groovy new shag, though I want to invest in some real highlights. My hair feels like straw with the bottle and the color washes out in a few weeks and overall, it looks too orangey.
Anyway, I was feeling good. It was nice to see the other moms, but I tell you, I am one awkward mother-f*****. I stammer, wiggle and fight myself to shut up when talking to others. It is a real struggle. I feel lost and don’t know what to say. The moment someone asks me how I am, my mouth is off and running. Preventing myself from blabbing on and on is real work. I do better with friends, for sure. New people are freaky. I can relax when I know someone and like them.
It was nice to see some of Liev’s classmates and Ms. Jerri again. I spoke to her about some of the behavior problems Liev has been having and she thinks that the stress of having someone new in the house is the culprit. Sigh. Maybe we all are sensitive. And to top it all off, E is going to New Mexico for several days next week. That will be even more change around the house. I am trying not to think about it right now!
Tennisfiend’s mom arrived from Moscow Russia today. She will be staying with us for a month and then her husband and Tennisfiend’s brother will come for a week then the whole family is off to Philedelphia for an indeterminate period of time. I’m very excited about the visit, but also anxious. Since we got rid of the souska, he has been anxious, and when she visits he has sleep and behavior problems. I try to remind TF about this, but he seems to forget and downplays my concerns.
Realistically, he’s probably right. I tend to fret and worry needlessly all the time. I went over the notes that Dr. Bollick gave me a few weeks ago. Mom helped me pic up some Russian\English picture dictionaries and flash cards. T’s already interested in them, so this could be a great deal of fun. But still, I worry. School’s coming up and that means stress and sickness. Sigh.