Monday, December 13, 2010

How Autistic Are You?

The very first book I read after Brian's diagnosis regarding autism was Karyn Seroussi's Unraveling the Mystery of Autism. It was obviously a hit with me as it continued my journey to find out more about biomedical treatments of autism.

Yet another piece that Karyn mentioned that spoke to me was this idea of parents perhaps having some quirks, and what happens when both parents do and they have children.

I thought about myself. I am one odd duck. I have social anxiety problems and there is a history of anxiety in my family, on both sides actually. I do this weird finger-flap when I'm in deep thought, I also find I do it a lot when I'm looking for something. I hate the phone. I hate when I don't know the exact plan when going somewhere. I was strangely good at math and was probably hyperlexic as I was reading well before I went to kindergarten (and never went to preschool). I may not be the most organized person but put the movies out of alphabetical order and it'll drive me nuts. I'm a major introvert and would choose to be by myself or with a small intimate group over a large gathering every time.

I thought Corbin had autism when he was little. He was a late talker, never babbled. He was obsessed with his train track and laid on the floor next to the track to watch the wheels turn out of his peripheral vision. He lined EVERYTHING up. He didn't like loud noises and the wind scared the hell out of him. He made fleeting eye contact. I actually came right out and asked his speech therapist at one point if he had the A-word.

But he was social. Very social. Knowing what I know now about autism, I laugh at the thought of Corbin having it. Yet there were all those little things, but things he was able to outgrow or adapt.

Funny I was so concerned about Corbin having autism. Then so clueless about Brian having it. Looking back now I think it was because Corbin was just a slow developer (besides gross-motor anyways) so I was always aware of his deficits- from the moment he was born with heart defects. Brian was NOT that way- he progressed just fine, totally normal. Then stopped. And having that perfect progression put me in denial that anything could possibly be wrong.

I know I talk a lot about how I think that environmental factors have played a part in the increase of autism, and in Brian's autism, but I will never say that I don't think genetics has a part. I think poor Brian got all of his family's quirks plus a crappy immune and gastrointestinal system- he got that "perfect storm" that made him so vulnerable.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I believe in the "perfect storm". There are environmental triggers for sure, but Audrey's parents are a genetic perfect storm as well. I've always had a lot of anxiety and some OCD tendencies, and my husband is the classic narrow-interest nerdlinger. Poor Audrey didn't have a chance!