Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Neurotypical moments

We say autism is a spectrum, and it's absolutely true, there are degrees to each symptom, and degrees of severity in general, and there are even variations between the symptoms that are present at all and the associated diagnoses. I guess we apply this term to autism specifically because the variations are really wide compared to the majority of diseases, disorders, conditions, etc.
But the neurotypical population (which people who don't know this term would call "normal people") are on as wide a spectrum! There are degrees from one person to the next for each physical or personality trait: physical strength, intelligence, deftness, shyness, etc. And the line between some neurotypical people and some autistic people is sometimes very thin...
Although maybe it's just the "autism Mom" in me seeing autistic traits everywhere! And spectra! LOL

Lately, I discovered a new spectrum. As parents of an autistic kid who has delays compared to his peers, we're always watching for "neurotypical moments" where Cédric does something age appropriate. Lately he's done two: one was beautiful, poetic and sweet, the other ... not so much!

A few days ago, the weather was perfect for a car ride (which we do quite often to pass the time) with the windows open (which we almost never do). Usually we use the air conditioning to avoid wind, drafts, and because in Timmins, we have no mid-seasons where the weather is perfect for opening the windows. Also, and probably more importantly, I'm always worried Cédric will throw something out the window ( a shoe, his sippy cup, his Ipad). But in this case there was nothing for him to throw, it was sunny and cool and I decided to open his window. At first, he looked at the window. He looked like he was analysing the colour difference between what he saw through the window and what he saw directly, above the window. A fairly typical behaviour for him and typical of autism: intense observation. But quickly he put his hand above the windew, and felt the outside air, and he spent the next twenty minutes with his hand outside, cupped to feel the wind and "grab" the air". A totally neurotypical behaviour, and an absolutely adorable one! Had I not been driving, I would have taken a picture :D

About two months ago, he had another moment, equally neurotypical, equally appropriate for his age, also in the car, but much less poetic. I saw him in the mirror put his finger in his nose. I had seen him do that in the past, but usually it doesn't lead to anything, he doesn't manage to get anything out of there. This time, he pulled out a nice booger. I turned around to wipe it with a tissue and saw Cédric put his booger in his mouth and eat it with impressive dexterity. As for me, I ended up with very mixed feelings of pride and disgust and a huge dilemma between telling him it's dirty and not to do it again, or praise him for his deftness :D

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