Isaiah was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, which is part of the autism spectrum. He may end up with an Asperger's diagnosis later but he was too young for that diagnosis now. He's a lot more sociable than a lot of children with an autistic-spectrum diagnosis. Isaiah is very immature for his age, but he's also very charming. He has a great personality and once we got past his "I have to do it this way" routines, he's mostly very easy to deal with.
There are times when he does challenge our patience and other times where he is the most charming child you would ever want to meet. I am so blessed to have been able to be in his life as much as I have been. I would not have wanted any of the last three years to have not taken place if it meant that I would have lost this wonderful opportunity with Isaiah.
Things he's done in the past include lining things up by size, color, or shape; insisting there was only one way to do something because he could not fathom any other path to the same result; not understood when people were laughing that they weren't laughing at "him" but rather at something that he did; having his own special language that only he understood - a language that he was so good at that he could repeat the same sounds exactly if you asked him to repeat something; not eating food because of the texture, or changing a like to a dislike overnight because of texture; had uncontrollable, inconsolable emotional meltdowns over very minor incidents; flapping his arms when he's excited (he still does this but says he's flying). I'm sure there are many other things that I've left out but I can't remember them right now.
Many children with an autism-spectrum diagnosis are very sensitive to touch, and Isaiah has been no different. He does not like to be touched by strangers (even unfamiliar family members) but will readily give hugs and affection to people he knows and has gotten comfortable with. He is very picky about how high we can fasten his coat or zipper, he doesn't like things around his neck, he doesn't like his clothes too tight, and he doesn't like the feel of certain materials. He also is very resistant to change, no matter how slight. If we tell him that we're going to do something in 1-2-3 order, and we suddenly reverse 3 and 2 now doing it in 1-3-2 order, he is very adamant that we have to do it the other way.
There are many things that are wonderful to behold through Isaiah's "eyes"...
We went to Outback Steak House Friday night. Isaiah was charming. He asked the assistant manager what her name was. It's Holly. He says Holly is a nice name and she thanks him. He says he's five years old and asks how old she is. She says she's 21. "Oh... well, I'm 5," he says. Twenty-one must sound really old to him. (hmmm... wonder what 52 sounds like...)
Later he asks her again what her name was and she very sweetly reminded him (many times). He said his grandma (that would be me) was cute. She thinks he's funny. We all got a good laugh.
During the course of the evening, he tells us his girlfriends' names (he has six or seven), tells Holly (and her manager, Brittany - who just happens to be Holly's boss) that he's a good singer. He's usually pretty shy so we figured he'd clam up and not sing, but he didn't.
I wasn't sure where he got the "cute" phrase from until I heard him say (in Rudolph-fashion), "I'm cute! I'm cute! She said I'm cute!" I thought I was hearing the movie.
A Game Called Racing:
Isaiah likes to play Mario Kart but he calls it "a game called racing" and he asks if he can play "a game called racing" - every time he mentions it. He wants to play the "dark one" and the "mushrooms" all the times (all the "times" means each time he plays it, not just one time).
Bryan doesn't know how to play a game called racing, so Isaiah says he'll teach him. Isaiah beats him. Badly. Several times. Finally, Bryan was able to beat Isaiah in one race. Isaiah looked at him and said, "you can play by yourself." It doesn't sound too comical to see it in print, but if you could hear Isaiah say it you'd know that he was none too happy that Bryan got good enough to beat him.
I need a hug:
Have you ever gotten onto a child and, in order to deflect the punishment, you suddenly hear "I need a hug" come out of his/her mouth? Isaiah is a prime example of suddenly needing a hug or a kiss. To be fair, he often wants a hug or a kiss anyway. He's a very affectionate child and I thoroughly enjoy his statements that he needs a hug. He probably knows that I need one, too.
I didn't hit a girl:
Isaiah sometimes has difficulty in school. Because of his developmental delays he's not as savvy as some of the other children. He's also not as mature as a lot of the children in his class. I was looking at the statistics on his classmates and Isaiah is among the youngest and the smallest of his class. There are even several girls who are bigger than he is.
Many times Isaiah will say something happened to him "yesterday" when, in fact, yesterday means any time in the past. If he says something is "tomorrow" he means any time in the future. When other children pick on him they often get by with it because they are more subtle and don't get caught. Isaiah remembers that they've done something to him and he does try to get even with them. He nearly always gets caught and then he gets into trouble.
That's how it should be. We don't want him to get away with things and when he gets into trouble at school, he has consequences at home.
Isaiah has had a problem keeping his hands to himself. One day, he came home with a note that said he'd hit a girl. I got on to him and explained that he's to not hit ANYONE at any time, but especially he's to NEVER hit a girl. If someone else hits him, then he's to tell the teacher, but not hit back.
He said he understood and he wouldn't do it again. The next day he came home and said he got into trouble for pushing someone. But, he said he didn't hit a girl. As if that made it all OK.
I think he forgot the first part of that - don't hit ANYONE.