Thursday, 5 May 2011

My Acceptance Of Dayton's Diagnoses

 I say diagnoses as he has many, but the most life altering one is obviously the autism one.  Dayton's ADHD can be challenging as he has a fire lit under his butt most of the time and needs to touch everything twice in 15 minutes, but it really doesn't impair his learning as much as the PDD-NOS diagnosis. 

We've gone through the steps of grief, and I don't have it all together yet, but acceptance is the act of letting go and allowing Dayton to be who he is peacefully.  I hope all of us parents can do this, not for the sake of my cause, but for you and your child.  Acceptance does not mean you will not worry about your child's future.  But...  you will see your child improve and be much, much happier. 

I fear for this unpredictable child who is not only out of step with the world, but whose feet rarely touch the ground.  With his insatiable curiosity and hardheaded drive, will he beat paths of greatness and discovery, the likes of Winston Churchill or Michelangelo?  I want to believe that.  Or will he find his measure of happiness drifting in and out of this world, living solely off his enthusiasm, imagination, and penchant for living life to its fullest?

Then one day I saw Dayton clearly in the lines of Henry David Thoreau.  He wrote, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears."

I quit beating my drum for conformity and listened to his beat for a while.  His pace was a bit more relaxed, the order of his schedule a bit different.  For example, watching a caterpillar cross the driveway took precedent over taking a bath.  Finishing a pair of homemade stilts preceded dinner.  The awe of discovering newborn birds in the spouting beat reading about "Look At Spot Run."

Knowing about mental flexibility helps you to accept those behaviors that are resistant to change and better understand some of the behaviors you have previously found unacceptable.  What would have driven you crazy before, now can even be viewed as endearing.  As situations arise, you are better equipped to pick your battles, deciding whether to address it and explain, or accept it and enjoy who they are at that moment in time.  Understanding the impact that lack of mental flexibility has on their behavior can go a long way towards improving the quality of life for all involved. 

If you're struggling in recognizing your child's mental flexibility, drop me an email and lets talk about it. 

Acceptance.  It goes hand in hand with understanding.  Once you take the time to observe your child, and ask yourself questions as "who, what, where, when and how," you will get the understanding.  Put yourself in your child's shoes and see through his/her eyes.  Once you come to understand, you will accept.  Understanding takes time and patience.  Trust me, I'm as inpatient as one can get, so if I can do it, so can you.

I always thought that I would have so much to teach my child, but I find that it is my child who has taught me.  I'm beginning to appreciate Dayton for his differences.  I know it's changed many of my previous perspectives and made me a different person.  Much, much different, and I have my son to thank for this.  I am perfectly, imperfect.

Now stop beating the drum of conformity.  Put the drum down, and just back away...  Your child will connect much more strongly with you, and work on conforming on his own time.  The more we force it, the more they will resist.  In his or her own time, they will pick the drum up themselves.  

Consider yourselves hugged,



  1. Lou, you need to change your comment settings so that anyone can post comments because someone on my Twitter feed read one of your posts and was not able to comment (b/c they have to have a Google, Wordpress, LiveJournal, Typepad, AIM, or OpenID login). I'll show you how to do it if you want.

    Anyway, this is their response to one of your posts (can't remember which one though):

  2. Yes, Dani, I need help. Call me later? I'd like everyone to be able to leave a comment.