A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

beep beep beep: that's my A-Dar

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beepbeepbeepbeep

That's my A-dar going off. Yes, Autism Radar. I guess it's not just Autism radar, but ALL kinds of sp needs radar. It happens everywhere. Grocery store, restaurants, parks, jacuzzis on a cruise in the middle of the Caribbean, etc. Yep, recently took a great trip (more on that later) and one experience got me thinking about my A-dar and how it's always on. Sure, normie parents can spot a kid with "issues" if they're significant or obvious, but moms like me can spot them even if they're not so significant- and sometimes even if they parents don't even know.

There we were, sitting in a hot tub: me, Greg, Sarah (play tutor extraordinaire), and Little Bird. Well, LB wasn't sitting, she was jumping, swimming, splashing. We were somewhere between Ft. Lauderdale and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Another little boy was in there, too, with his mom. Within about 5 minutes of their entrance, Greg, Sarah and I started giving each other looks. He seemed to get a little too close to others in the pool, didn't make great eye contact, and then came the kicker when he got out.... walking on his toes.

BeepBeepBeepBeepBeep

I spoke with his mom. They're from Colorado. Greg suggested they put that kid in ski lessons (can you tell he sells skis/snowboards?) and the mom said he skates and plays ice hockey (he's 5 btw) and that it's been good for his ankles which turn in a little bit (she wasn't familiar with terms like pronate or supinate like we moms are). I dropped hints about my kid's sp needs and she picked up no bait. She doesn't get it. Poor kid is not getting help he obv needs because she doesn't get it. Later in the week we saw them again. greg started talking to her and told her that Little Bird has the big A. She was shocked. So, she doesn't know what it looks like.

Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it's super obvious. Usually, with us, it's super obvious. However, many people who meet the bird for the first time think she's shy, quiet. As soon as she starts flapping or keeps those fingers in her ears longer than just a "it's too loud in here" kind of thing, there's no denying it- even to the untrained eye.

When my A-dar goes off and I can tell that the parent is "on it", it's a gift to get to spend a few minutes talking with someone who "gets it" like I do; who shares this common experience; and maybe even has a tip or two that's new to me.

17 comments:

@jencull (jen) said...

When we were out trick or treating on Halloween we called to a house and a little boy came to the door with his Mum. My A-dar went off, there can be no doubt and the other parents with me didn't notice. I dislike my A-dar because, especially with very young children, there is the possibility that the parents don't actually know yet. Jen

Heather said...

It does suck when you JUST KNOW and the parents obviously JUST DON't KNOW!

Another kind of related problem is that I have a lot of people with little kids asking me if I think their child has autism- I never want to say yes, if I do think there is a problem, so I try to just get them to go do an eval someplace....

Deann said...

I'm always drawn to the most severely impaired, as they are always so sweet and just love attention, instead of looks. Though I do have to say when I see a special ed kid, I may be looking, but little do you know i'm looking thru Special Ed teacher eyes, i'm disecting behaviors I see!

tulpen said...

I so have it... but I call it Fucked-up-kid-dar. I know. I'm wrong.

But I get it and I LOVE meeting other parents who get it.

Katy said...

YES! I'm the same way--I'm spotting issues I know no one else can see. Now I know what it's called!

Cheryl D. said...

Yes, it's hard to turn that darn thing off! LOL

Lynn said...

I'm with Heather...I don't want to be the one to break it to them. I knew that my nephew was the big A about 2 years before his parents did. They were so in denial they would have only gotten pissed off at me.

Mama Gone Green said...

Just hopped over from Lady Ren's site! I can;t wait to read your blog more.. I teach at community college, and all 3 terms last year I had the same student with autism in my classes. I learned a lot about autism through this experience and it has encouraged me to learn even more. thanks for sharing!

TherExtras said...

Shouldn't be a surprise that I have pretty active -dar. Heather makes a good decision to recommend evaluation instead of giving her own opinion. Lynn, too. Lots of hazards to voicing a diagnosis.

Just a note that toe-walking can be indicative of several other neurological conditions. Many children have what we call idiopathic toe-walking without being on the spectrum.

Barbara

Dani G said...

Barbara: you are ABSOLUTELY right that the toe-walking could be indicative of so many things that can be totally unrelated to ASD. It could be a sensory sensitivity, or a muscular thing, or a whole bunch of stuff.

I agree with those who just pass along a suggestion for an eval. I am always happy to give recommendations to some of our favorite therapists for evals.

When Little Bird was about a year old, someone (not a doctor) told me that she had Cerebral Palsy (she was the mother of 2 children with CP). 4 neurologists disagreed, but her certainty made me so uncomfortable that I promised to never tell someone what their kid "has" or diagnose anyone else's kid.

Ashley said...

I'm developing my A-dar. I never would have noticed any kids acting "off" unless it was major. And then about 6 months ago when my son's teacher approached us with the A-word, I saturated myself with all things informative. And now that I recognize his behaviors for what they are, I see so much more in him than I ever did and it's so easy to spot it in other kids. I'm still a newbie to all this and I have to rein myself in from rushing the other parent, giving them a bear hug and asking them if they're in the club because I want to learn from them. Thank goodness for them, I have found my online peeps who are safe from supermarket ambushings and bear hugs. =)

jillsmo said...

HA HA "normie parents." I love it!!

Brenda said...

I have just plain Kid-dar. Kid in need of more play? A few laughs at the hair salon? A game of bump standing in line? I'm right there for ya!

And tulpen? Don't get anywhere near me when you say F.U.K-dar. I will have to bonk you with my pool noodle.

Dani G said...

Brenda: Pool noodle? It's 35 degrees here. Can I come visit?

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