My Asperger Story — Part 2/4

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For part one, click here

Sounds, school, and stiffness

Age 3-5 was when things started to get rough, and it all started with noises.

The pitch of the piano; water running from the faucet; the wind; the vacuum…

These were some of the common (and sometimes barely noticeable) sounds that would often drive me to tears by their inexplicable assault on my eardrums.

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Me during a preschool pageant

The worst of it happened at preschool.  When my mother picked me up at the end of the day, I would often be crying.

Coupled with my penchant for solitude, my auditory sensitivities were working to give my schooldays a less-than-stellar start.

As I moved through kindergarten and first grade, my symptoms became more pronounced.

By age 7 my overall demeanor was stiff, cautious, and hesitant.  When people walked by me, I would almost cower.

Neither my parents nor my teachers could put a finger on what was happening, but on one thing they agreed: Something was definitely wrong.

A bleak picture

When I was 7, my parents took me to Rochester, NY for what turned out to be a three-week ordeal of neurological and other testing.  At the end, I was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

This must have been considered a much more severe diagnosis at that time than it is today, because the doctor with whom my parents spoke said that I would never succeed in a regular classroom amid “normal” kids (my wording, not hers).

One of the outstanding graces of my life is to have had two teachers as parents. Being intelligent and attentive people, they refused to accept this prognosis.

They would not, in fact, even share any of the information they were given with the school district I attended, because they knew that I would likely then be pegged as low-functioning and academically inept.

But you can’t have a child who spoke in complete sentences at 18 months and accept such a prediction with any seriousness.  My parents knew that whatever the problem was, it lay outside the sphere of the intellect.

So having gone from signs to a spur to action, I leave you in suspense for a bit.  In the meantime, any questions about the preceding are welcome.

Part three soon to come

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