I’m so proud of Buzz today. I’ve been teaching myself to use Inkscape, a free opensource design programme. I decided it would be really useful for Buzz to learn to use it too, it could potentially open many doors in the future. As well as this, he is very creative but in a mathmatical way. He’s never been into colouring or drawing, but he loves drawing diagrams, and if he does draw a picture it has to be very precise and scientific. For example, the other day I drew a sun, you know, that typical way most people draw a sun – a round ball with lines coming out all around. He said “that’s not what a sun looks like” and proceeded to correct my drawing with a non-spiked sun with red heat spots and solar flares!
So I felt that working with vector images on a design programme might be just his cup of tea when it comes to creativity. And it turns out I was right! I spent a few minutes showing him some of the basics, then left him to have a play. Half an hour later I encouraged him to choose a youtube tutorial to work on. I’ve been using Nick Saporito‘s channel, his tutorials are excellent. Buzz chose to create this Heartbeat Design Vector. It may not look like much at first glance, but if you start watching the video you’ll realise there’s so much more to it than first meets the eye! I really didn’t believe he’d cope with it, in terms of the focus and time needed to see it through – it’s a 13 minute video (which we have to pause and rewind a lot to follow the instructions) and is created for adults or older kids, not young children. However, I was completely wrong.
Buzz grasped the concept and the language so quickly, quicker than I had! He’d hear something once and then remember it. Or Nick would say something that wouldn’t have made sense to me if I hadn’t worked through some basic tutorials, but Buzz seemed to understand it, as if it was a language he has always known. It took about 2 hours, a he loved doing it too. He was so proud of himself, and this is really important. He struggles a huge amount in some areas, and can get very upset and cross at himself (and us!) if he can’t get something right. The world is black and white to him, and if it’s not right then it’s wrong and bad, there’s very little room for middle ground. It’s exhausting for him and for us (as it was for school) to work in the areas that don’t come naturally to him, so I’m super excited to have found another area of strength and enjoyment!
I have just been in tears watching this video because I’ve never seen or read anything that explains, shows and describes the way Buzz struggles that is quite so spot-on.
THIS is why I home school. THIS is why I couldn’t go to post-natal groups and toddler groups. THIS is why we join in outdoors activities but avoid indoor activities. THIS is the struggle that goes un-noticed as my son holds on to his feelings, his anxieties, his panic, his fear, his over-excitement, his over-stimulation, as he works so hard to keep himself together and hide his struggles…. THIS is why he comes through the front door into his ‘safe zone’ and breaks down into an inconsolable wreck of utter physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.
THIS is high functioning autism. The kind of autism that so often goes unnoticed because the kids are aware enough to know there is a certain etiquette to which they must adhere, but struggle enough that having to adhere to it is overwhelming. The kind of autism that results in so many HF-ASD kids being misunderstood, unsupported, and often, ultimately, homeschooled. The kind of autism that has parents being judged as not giving their children the appropriate discipline when in fact they have more and clearer boundaries in place than any other parent they know. The kind of autism that results in kids being told they are naughty when in fact they are terrified to over-step the boundaries; to be punished. The kind of autism that the parents hardly ever talk about, but think about non-stop as they analyse every possible scenario within every situation and take endless measures and steps on a minute-by-minute basis to avoid this kind of physical, mental and emotional overload.
But… this is also the child who hears every bird singing… “I heard a blackbird over there, and a robin over there.” This is also the child who cries emotional tears when they feel the warmth of the first Spring day on their face. This is also the child who will see the tiny speck of a buzzard high in the sky that everyone else takes an age to pinpoint! This is also the child who will notice the most vulnerable person in the room, and will make sure they know they have a friend in him.
THIS is my perfect, beautiful son.
…. Okay maybe not ever, we don’t know what the future holds, but for now anyway!!
These are our “we’re so excited our son *isn’t* going back to school” photos!!
Not exactly Buzz’s first day of school, we’re always doing ‘school’, but his friends’ first day back to school after the summer holiday. It was the day before his birthday and I’d asked him to name any one place, and any one friend, and that would be his birthday treat instead of a party this year. He chose Herstmonceux Science Centre (yay we love it there!) and his home school friend C. Lovely day. Lovely place. Lovely friend.
Here’s to many more ‘school’ trips!
Sometimes Buzz goes to Daddy’s workshop and gets to have a go on some tools and asks lots of questions. He loves it! These photos are from a visit when he learned some electronics. Daddy is planning a time to make a wooden clock together soon for Buzz’s bedroom.