NT: an abbreviation for neuro-typical, a term often used in the autism community to reference those who are not on the spectrum.
Ever since my four year-old’s diagnosis of ASD over eight months ago, I find myself constantly wondering, “Is this behavior the effects of autism or just a kid being a kid?”
Self-doubt and motherly instinct are in a constant battle of wits these days.
I don’t just ask myself this question. I ask my husband, my friends, my parents, my son’s army of teachers and therapists. Naturally, I get a different response, depending on the person (and the scenario I’m describing). Let’s see what you think:
Big C is head-butting a group of girls at school. Autism or NT?
Big C suddenly asks, “What’d you say?” to virtually EVERY demand I place. Autism or NT?
Big C told his Occupational Therapist very matter-of-factly, “I’m going to kill you.” Autism or NT?
Big C has a sudden preoccupation with dying and is starting to say, “I’m dead,” though I am very certain he has no idea what this actually means. Autism or NT?
Big C is having a destructive streak, ripping wall decals, blinds, and picture frames off the walls. When asked, “why?” (which I’m told is really too advanced of a question for a four year-old in this type of situation) he merely replies, “I don’t like it.” Autism or NT?
Big C is becoming defiant again, telling me, “No!” and back-talking me constantly. Autism or NT?
Big C is obsessed with winning. He has to be the first one up the stairs, the first to open the door, the first at every game. When he’s not, he has an over-the-top screaming, crying, temper tantrum. Autism or NT?
Big C is incapable of walking through the grocery store without running his hand along every item on the shelves. Autism or NT?
While Big C’s 19-month old brother is eager to play catch with him, Big C would rather take the ball and run away, keeping it for himself. Autism or NT?
While in the urgent care waiting room, our 19-month old son is content to sit and play cars, while Big C is literally trying to climb the walls, settling for my husband’s back, ripping the leaves off the fake plants, and taking the toy cars from his younger brother (now both are wailing), all while the older couple sitting in the waiting room gives us death glares. Autism or NT?
Essentially, it’s all very muddled and confusing and full of blurred lines, begging the potentially more important question, “Does it matter?”
Certainly, getting at the root of a behavior can help, but in many situations, there’s no “fix” or “quick” solution. My son is my son, autism label or not. He’s always going to leave me in wondrous awe (and perpetual frustration).
Any other moms out there wish they had supernatural intuition?