Since we are on the topic of Liam.....recently I took Liam to see Madeline's therapist, Miss H. You see, one of the main comorbidities of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While OCD affects around 2% of the general population, 30-50% of people on the autistic spectrum also have symptoms of OCD, if not full fledged OCD. Liam has been displaying some signs of anxiety and panic recently so we decided we would have him seen, hoping to get on top of anything before it gets out of control. (Yes, I still live under the illusion that I have some control in these matters!) While at that appointment, I asked Miss H if it was appropriate to talk about Liam's diagnosis with him and she confirmed that we should probably speak with him about it sooner than later.
So, here's how that went.
Liam, Lily, Solomon and I were sitting amongst the mess of the little boys' bedroom before bedtime when I impulsively decided: Hey, let's have that talk now, without any plan or thought about it whatsoever.
"Liam," I started. "Do you now why you go to the support teacher's classroom everyday?" (Lily's eyes widened.)
"No," Liam said, full of smiles and an air of laughter. "But everyone goes there sometime."
"No, not everyone," I replied. "Do you know why you go to the social skills class in school?"
"Yes....um, no," he admitted.
"Well, do you know how we went to see Miss H last month because you were having some anxiety?"
"Do you know why Madeline goes to see her?"
"Yes. Because she has OCD," he said enthusiastically. (You could almost see him tallying his score in his head.)
"Do you know what OCD is?" I asked.
"Obsessive Compulsive Disorder," Lily chimed in.
"OCD is something Madeline has that makes her brain work a little differently than other people. She has to take medicine to keep it under control and she goes to talk to Miss H in order to work through the ways her brain is different," I explained. "And recently your brother, Aidan, was diagnosed with ADHD because his brain works differently as well. His brain is like your dad's brain and my brain and most likely Lily's brain. We all have various levels of ADHD which means we have issues with certain things like organization and focus and distractibility among other things. You have something different with your brain, too. It's called ASD which stands for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. When you were a little boy, we noticed you did some things unlike other kids and so they evaluated you and diagnosed you with Aspergers which is kind of a high end form of ASD."
"Well, what does Solomon have?" Liam asked.
"Nothing," Lily said.
"Not that we know of anyway," I added.
Liam looked at Solly, grinned and then ecstatically blurted:
"Ha! We all have something....except you, Solly! You don't have ANYTHING!"
* * * *
So, admittedly, I didn't see THAT coming.
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