Everyone and their gran has been blogging about ASD and ADHD lately.
So I’ll join in.
My eldest child was unusually verbally capable. She was “preternaturally self-possessed.” Her social skills, from age about 15 months to 4 years, were shockingly good. She was obviously extremely bright. She went on sleepovers in other people’s houses from age three without the slightest qualm or loss of confidence. She never had a special toy or blankie or soother or any other affection object. She absorbed, analysed and retained information. She had a long attention span and would focus on an activity for over an hour at a time, as a toddler — several times a day. She molded herself to the needs of her friends and extended family with careful negotiation and a tamping down of her own preferences to achieve social acceptability, especially where she wasn’t confident of unconditional acceptance.
And it all spilled out in other ways. I coped very badly with it and her other parent almost didn’t cope at all — not coped badly, but wasn’t part of the situation, leaving the familial adaptations to me. After years of high-stress, complex family life, with me assuming the problems were all down to my own mental and emotional inadequacies, we realised that treating her as a child with ADHD and ASD made everyone much, much happier.
It still does.
She doesn’t have a formal diagnosis, just my maternal flailing about through the parenting books and talking to a GP or four. Her baby sister has huge tonsils causing sleep apnea and we’re having them removed in two weeks; the tonsillectomy literature says that it can be a cause of ADHD-type behaviours due to chronic sleep apnea affecting ability to govern oneself when awake. So I’m going to look into that too, because yeah, the huge tonsils haven’t stopped my eldest breathing but they might be inhibiting her oxygen intake without actually STOPPING it.
I’m not sure whether we’ll ever pursue neurological diagnoses. But the behavioural challenges we were living with are solved using techniques used by families coping with autism. It’s just a different way of being, and adapting to it was relatively easy once we figured out what to change.
Living without adapting to it was bloody awful. You can’t hammer a round child into a square hole, even with a really big hammer.