I am certainly no doctor but I have often put two and two together to make certain medical wonderings about the cause of my daughter’s autism. First, I was pregnant at 38 years old. I was an older mom. Then, at about 7 weeks, I was bleeding and had to have a vaginal ultrasound. I learned at that time that my placenta had a small hole in it causing the bleeding. Then, my little girl came two weeks early – and she was just under 7 pounds. Small and dainty was she. Third, my placenta was not simply falling out after her birth. It was EMBEDDED. I don’t even want to explain what happened because of this – too graphic for a public blog! So with all of these happenings, I wonder… did all of these things lead to a brain deprived girl then causing autism?
God knows and I won’t until I see Him face to face. But until, then I have to not ask , “Why? “and “How come? ” but more Wow, isn’t the brain amazing! We all have one but each one functions differently. Sometimes I wonder, does her brain look different than mine? I also think, my brain in many ways works just like hers.
Comparing my mind to my daughters there is similar travel trail millions of miles long. At 3:00 am I am up thinking about the time I wasted watching 48 hours and that story was so scary that I began to distrust anyone. Pardon me for the following William Tell Overture run on sentence, but my brain then speeds up to how I need to figure out how to put fabric over a light switch, to sending my son to this school or that one, and that flower stand may look better over by the fence or by the side of the house, to deciding how long to grow my hair before I get it “shaped”, to why didn’t that paint come off the driveway, to recalling the time a college professor said he was praying for me because he thought I was dying of a brain tumor…. to …. a never stopping chain of thought.
My daughter wakes up and her mind travels for many more miles. “I am just very cozy in this bed. Oh Mommy you are so beautiful. Hey Mommy would you like to play princesses or would you like to read books. You know Mommy, I was thinking that we could make some special cards and I could give them to some of my friends. Is Lucy going to school today? Can I wear my flower shirt. Oh, look Mommy Chippy Chipmunk is running through the woods! Well, I better find my list I need to make my list to go the grocery store today. Hey! Don’t sit on my kitty!”
If you knew all the schema strengthened by stories, experiences, and learning, you would know that she is making connections, applying her learning and relay her new ideas. You could follow all of that easily. Being her mom I know most everything about her schema. I do a fairly good job of keeping up and following her thoughts. Her therapist would remind me that her Motor planning is a continuous challenge. Motor planning is the ability to execute a plan. It’s the” stick-to- it-ness” needed to focus on and complete a task. So much stimulation gets in the way. The sights, sounds, and textures send her zipping along in thought. Her ideas go racing along and she isn’t able to stick to one idea and do something with it.
If you knew all the schema I have strengthened by stories, experiences and learning you would know that I too am making connections, applying my learning, and relaying new ideas. You do have to keep up with me though thus frustrating my husband when having a conversation. At times, I lack the “stick -to- it -ness “needed to actually complete an idea and resolve something. My completion if any is pretty spontaneous. What of my motor planning skills? I guess right now I can try the old write everything down on a pad of paper thing in the middle of the night so that I can go back to sleep.
What about typical kids? Let me share that I can recall many times as a teacher standing in front of the class and beginning a lesson maybe first with a story. Picture me sitting in front of my class ready to read Make Way for the Ducklings. I do the usual introduction of the story and then pose a “activation of knowledge” question and say “Has anyone seen a family of baby ducks before?” Nearly every hand goes up.
First kid picked says- “Yes, I have at the zoo and we fed them bread crumbs.” Second kid picked says “We went to the zoo too and we saw the tigers. They were in a glass cage.” Third kid picked says “I cut my finger right here on glass and I think I still need a band aide.” Fourth kid picked says “I will take him to the office. ” Fifth kid picked says “I need to go to the bathroom” Sixth kid hasn’t been picked and they say ” Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday” and another kid shouts out- “Will you tie my shoes?” and another…..It is hysterical but also sobering to realize a fact- wandering is what minds do.
My daughter’s mind, my mind, another kid’s mind- In my mind there are a lot of similarities. Pretty mind boggling if you ask me.