Story Time

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

Does this child sound familiar?

My son N is hard to define. He has a great personality but has no close friends. He tends towards situational friendships. He isn’t shy with strangers, yet is cautious in new surroundings. He is very conscious of possible consequences and regards each new activity from a safety standpoint before participating.  An example of this would be watching other children on the playground go down the slide several times before trying it himself. He needed to make sure no one fell off the side prior to taking a turn. Another thing that holds him back is his perfectionist streak and a fear of failing.

He is very emotional and tends to crumble when frustrated. He has very little patience when things are not going as planned. He’s overly dramatic when hurt, simply bumping his knee results in several minutes of agony and tears. His world is intensely literal and this has caused him problems with others. Life is Black and White, when asked to discriminate the grays, he questions why? His sense of justice is extreme as well. Seemingly everything in his life sparks an emotional response. The highs reach the sky and the lows seem terminal….

Academically he’s amazing.  We refer to his education as “feeding the monster.” I’m constantly on the lookout for new material. N wants to know everything and hasn’t shown a need for much depth in many areas. He will intensely focus on one area ie: space, anatomy etc. for a month or so, then just walk away. If you question him, he relays that he knows enough for now.  I’ve taken his education wide in an attempt to slow him down but it hasn’t really helped. He makes connections without any prior knowledge. Although I try to challenge him, I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job. I’m implementing more and more problem based learning as in these situations he at least has to think a little! His perfectionism raises its head in this area as well. He can get to 90% complete in a math class in just a few weeks, and then he begins to stall. The reason for this is that as long as he remains in the same unit he is confident in his abilities. He fears whatever might be presented next. What if it’s too hard? What if he can’t do it? It’s interesting that he feels this way as to date I haven’t found anything to give him trouble.

He loves music and plays the piano. He started violin lessons, but is on hiatus while his teacher is having a baby. He can identify many classical pieces that he heard as a baby. He doesn’t seem to forget much of anything. He enjoys drawing and will make very elaborate characters and scenes. He has a good imagination although he’s not really a daydreamer. He enjoys his own company and doesn’t let lack of friends stop him from doing whatever he needs to. He is sensitive to sound although it isn’t extreme. He keeps the volume on the tv and radio low. When we have company or large groups in our home, N will participate for a while, then disappear. He calls it an overload and seeks out the quiet of his room for a short time. Then he’ll return to the gathering. There isn’t any sort of behavior attached to this, he doesn’t seem to get anxious or cranky. He just knows when he needs a little peace.

N doesn’t eat. It’s not an aversion, it’s not a texture thing, he’s been tested for allergies, Cilliac and assorted other maladies. He quite simply doesn’t want to be bothered. It takes away from whatever he’s doing.  At  7 ½ he weighs in at 38.5 lbs. We are working with a nutritionist, attacking the issue from an academic standpoint. She has been great at explaining how the body works and why he needs to eat even when he’s not hungry. He takes liquid supplements twice a day and is finally beginning to gain weight. It will be very embarrassing to him if he starts high school still riding in a car seat!

In so many ways N is contradictory. He knows that he’s smarter than the average bear but at the same time lacks confidence in his abilities. He will argue with an adult authority figure convinced that he’s right, but then burst into tears if another child calls him a name. There are days that I truly am convinced I live with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde!

If you live with a child like this, I need your story! We started off with a bang, now things are starting to peter out. Don’t stop sending me your pieces.

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