Thursday, November 7, 2013

Round Hole

Ryan did, in the waiting room at the psychologist this week, manage to fit an oval peg into a rectangular hole, in order to save herself the trouble of having to figure it all over again from the beginning.  (She was cleaning up a puzzle Ian had started and left.)

This struck me as utterly appropriate.

Ryan DOES fit into round hole, just in her own way.

She DOES have her OWN set of autistic traits.

1.  Profound interest in one subject to exclusion of all else.  And, no, it isn't computers or the phone book or train schedules or numbers.  And, no, Luke Jackson, it never changes.  Never ever ever ever ever ever.  Did I mention never ever?  This debilitating trait is one of the most common traits of GIRLS with Asperger's Syndrome.  But since the obsession is often with socially acceptable topics - especially for girls - such as animals (including HORSES!), this is often seen as quirky but not particularly worrisome.  Add to that the fact that girls often obsess over reading and over characters and relationships, that they appear to have empathy due to an obsession with the cast of Harry Potter or Saddle Club, or are fixated on rock bands and movie stars, the obsession is often overlooked.

2.  Executive Function Disorder.  This is a new one for me, thanks to a book recommended to me by Ryan's current psychologist aptly enough titled "Understanding Executive Function Disorders."  This is where Ryan comes across as slow and lazy and unorganised and disinterested and immature and unable to get her act together.  This is what we were seeing all those years in Germany where she couldn't work fast enough in class, get her work organised, get herself together.  She is unable to start a project, to finish a project once it is started or to see the steps it will take to see a project to completion.

Yes.  Home schooling a child with Executive Function Disorder is a supreme joy.

3.  Inability to generalise from specifics.  This isn't as bad with Ryan in terms of behaviours - she knows how to share and how to deal with novel situations and how to work things out with people unlike a lot of people on the spectrum - but is bad in terms of academics and especially maths.  Her lowest IQ score, noticeably impaired in the lower 25%, was in taking concepts she already knows and applying them to novel situations.

So that, as hard as home schooling is, I question whether a traditional schooling system can give her the attention that I will.

4.  She is happy alone.  Perhaps even happiest alone.  And while this may not be a problem, it certainly is unusual. 

Ryan is lucky.  She really is.  Adults, especially creative, intelligent women, adore her.  She has a sweet, gentle nature that draws people to her.  (Ironic, isn't it?!)  She will be fine as an adult.  She is planning on turning her love of horses (sounds so much nicer than obsession doesn't it?!) into a career working to retrain troubled horses, she and I are working on her executive function skills (which are remarkably better when they involve horses!)and no, I am not giving up on maths skills!  She can write a great story when she wants to.   And when it involves horses.

And she is happy alone. 

As long as she is happy I don't care whether she's a square peg in a round hole or an oval peg in a rectangular hole.

Because you know what?

Ryan isn't playing that game anyway. 

She isn't a peg at all.  And she's out of the box!

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