I’m watching from a distance as he jumps up and down with excitement awaiting his turn to dive. He’s completely focused on expressing his excitement, he doesn’t realize he’s disturbing the kids around him and he doesn’t hear the coach right away when she asks him to stop.
On occasion I try to intervene and help direct him toward an appropriate behavior but more often than not these days I’m too preoccupied with other children.
But I do notice.
I notice the disapproving looks I get from other parents.
I notice how he’s treated differently for a behavior he can’t always control. (He’s learning but it’s really hard work for him.)
I notice him being judged by his actions.
I notice me being criticized for my parenting.
I notice but I don’t really know how to explain why he is the way he is.
There is no short and simple explanation. He doesn’t have a diagnosable disability. We’ve seen doctors, taken tests and seen specialists. It’s not Autism or ADHD (although he does have some ADHD traits). It’s sort of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) but not the kind most people are familiar with. A lot of his challenges stem from his extremely high IQ and asynchronis development. But mostly he’s just MORE.
I want to have a simple answer to give people so they will respond in understand and accepting way. I think of telling them he has ADHD but too many people have strong opinions on how to treat ADHD (drugs, parenting, diet) and in reality it’s not totally ADHD. I want to say it’s SPD but SPD is such a new diagnosis most people don’t know what it is and think it’s made up. I want to say, he has a really high IQ and his brain is probably working a million time faster than the speed of light but I don’t want to sound like a show off parent. Even though most people with really high IQs have trouble with social development.
But honestly, I don’t want to explain his short comings or his differences. I want people to see the amazing in him. His passion to create. His ability to do huge math problems in his head faster than most grown adults. The way he approaches each task with vigor and determination. His ability to recall the tiniest details of events that occurred years ago. His love for his brothers, cousins, friends and his plans to care for them all. The way he can hear a song once and play it on his keyboard almost perfectly.
I want them to look past the jumping boy and notice that amazing kid flying among the clouds with the purest passion for life.