Right now I feel like I have sliver of a sense of Bud's world. I'm sitting here, a blogging neophyte, staring at a white screen that seems to be taunting me. My heart is racing. I'm in a state of flight-or-fight panic. I can barely stand to read the words I'm writing.
Bud has PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder. We've been trying on this diagnosis for two-and-a-half years. Now it's like that sweatshirt-that-never-really-fit-right-but-is-the-right- weight-for-this-weather-so-I'll-wear-it-cause-it's-better-than-nothing. From what I have gleaned so far, the diagnosis of PDD-NOS doesn't really tell you anything about the individual who has it, because the "spectrum" plays out differently for everyone who has it.
For Bud, writing and drawing are challenging activities. He can hold the crayon and make the right marks, but he can't stand to look at the page while he's writing, so the marks are all disjointed and hanging out there in space.
Last week his teacher had a break-through. She went to hear Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who has written extensively about autism in a way that non-autistics can comprehend. Another teacher asked Temple about this not-looking-at-the-paper phenomenon (which I thought was unique to Bud, but I guess isn't.) Temple didn't miss a beat and suggested that the teacher start using cream or grey colored paper. Apparently, the light bouncing off the stark white paper is often too much for the sensory system of autists.
It never would have occurred to me. But now, sitting in front of an empty blog screen, I really get it.