My son is different. He is unlike other boys his age. You can’t necessarily tell it by looking at him. But, I can often see it in his eyes, his behavior, his questions.
Here’s one example. Recently, I told O we were going to the park, for a birthday party. Most nearly five-year old boys would likely react to this news by jumping up and down with excitement, screaming, “yay!” or “wahoo!”
Instead of either of those things, my son asked, “What does the park look like, mommy?”
I have come to expect these questions. Yet, they still catch me by surprise.
When we got to the park, O refused to go into the area where the party was set up. I had anticipated that he would be leery of this, given that there would be lots of people, many of whom he didn’t know. Instead, we went directly to the play structure.
This worked for him, until other kids came to play there as well. As soon as another child got on the structure, he got off. On and off. Off and on. This was his pattern.
|GOT THIS PHOTO BEFORE HE REALIZED THERE WERE KIDS BEHIND HIM|
While O is very social with the kids he knows well, he avoids unknown children. Mostly because he can’t predict their actions. Even though his best friends at school are loud and rambunctious and hug him way too hard, he knows that they are this way, so he can be prepared. With strangers, it is the unknown that creates anxiety in him.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about O and his SPD. Every time I see another child doing something, fulfilling a milestone that O didn’t do at the appropriate time or still hasn’t mastered, I am reminded of his differences.
I try not to compare myself with others. I try to follow this same rule with my kids, too. But, in O’s case, I need the comparison. I need to understand the differences, so that I can be prepared for them. This preparedness helps both of us. Even though dwelling on these differences is counter-productive, ignoring them is worse.
|O’s FIRST TIME ON A SWING IN A LONG TIME. SMILING BEFORE IT STARTED MOVING.|
Different is a neutral word. It’s not bad or good. It simply means not identical; separate or distinct. Different isn’t easy. It is a struggle, daily. But, it is okay.