There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Green

"He has a 'thing' for the color green," my sister said to me on the eve of our older son's first birthday. A special educator with a keen eye, she had never been one to miss much.

"No he doesn't," I said defensively.

What was she trying to say, anyway? Was that a loaded statement? Was she saying that he had a thing for green and just liked it? Or, did she mean that he had a thing for it--in a developmentally disabled sort-of-way?

I was cautious of everyone in the pre-diagnosis days. Looks lingered a little too long. Words were spoken in hushed tones when people thought I couldn't hear. I tried to kill the conversation with my sister about the color green and just concentrate on our son's birthday. However, the topic did not go away.

"Your son has perseverations," I was told a year later by the man who, at the time, was trying to diagnose our son with autism. My eyes were stinging with tears, and my defenses were once again mounting.

"What are perseverations?" I asked.

"Extreme interests," he answered. "Liking something more intensely than others would." And then, that's when he said it. "For example, as in the way he enjoys the color green."

I hated that man.

"But, he's only two," I suggested. "Perhaps he just enjoyes the color." C'mon, people! Can't a kid just like something without it being wrong?

The psychologist shrugged, unconvinced, and let it drop.

Years later, I've come to grips with the meaning and presence of perseverations in our life. Anyone who had tried to tell me that our son had them was, indeed, correct. After all, we eventually took down our dining room to accomodate one.

Yep. That's our vacuum room, and we love it.

What about the color green? Oh, he still loves it!! And, frankly, I love that he loves it. After all, don't most of us have a favorite color? (Mine is pink!) I'll also admit to feeding into his love of green--green clothes, pjs and sheets. It's happy. And, whether its his perseveration or mine or none at all, I'm not sure.

When it comes to a favorite color and autism, I can't help but wonder, when does a simple interest stop and a "behavior" begin?


This entry was brought to you by an envelope that was sacrificed during our son's swim lesson so that The Mom Cave could represent the letter prompt "G" in Blogging A to Z April 2012.

19 comments:

  1. Good question, Amy. As you say, most people have a favourite colour. Mine is blue - I have to make a conscious effort not to be drawn to all things blue when I'm shopping for clothes. Is that habit or a perseveration?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just my point. I love pink and I LOVE to wear red. I have to WORK to not wear those colors.

      Anyway, whether it is a perseveration or not, I think sometimes we get caught up in labeling a behavior before seeing the child.

      Delete
  2. Don't actually have a favorite color - how odd is that? And I loe that his favorite color is green - of growth and life. Thanks for sacrificing that envelope - it sure was worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love that you pointed out that green represents growth and life!

      Delete
  3. my mom's fav color was green----and that is a very fascinating ?---will have to give it more thought--great post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband has some cerebral theory about where green lies on the color spectrum and that the human eye gravitates to it more easily than any other color. Not sure if that's true? lol.

      We're definitely good to go on St. Patrick's Day, that's for sure!

      Delete
  4. Thank you Mr. Envelope! I don't think you could have done it all by yourself (I think Ms Ball Point may have contributed), but together you produced a fine post.

    I have a very unprofessional, but philosophical thought on this subject Amy (surprised?). With autistic children and their huge interest in and devotion to certain colors or objects, and savants with that strange intuitive mastery of particular skills, I see a vision of either what we were all meant to have (plus the rest of the deep devotions or super skills to make a complete package) and/or what we all will have when our present narrow lives are filled out in heaven.

    To take this idea all the way would beg the question; Is the autistic living in a better place with at least a few of his interests reaching their completed level, or are the rest of us who live with the full array of interests and abilities, but all of them stifled and minimized?

    Sorry. I don't think either one of the above paragraph sentences will fit on the back of your envelope!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike, I tend to agree with you.

      There was a time we had a dumpster in our driveway due to a remodeling project, and we were advised to take all of our son's vacuums and throw them in there. The idea was to move him forward to the next level of play. We loved the woman who suggested it, btw. However, I couldn't do it. There are so few things in life that he loves to that level. I felt as though we needed to respect it and honor it as who he is. I can't tell you the joy he gets from his vacuums (and carousels). How wonderful to have a passion.

      Delete
  5. Hence your background color? My older boys bedroom is painted granny smith green, while mine is avocado, or something, green....... Such a soothing color....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Green in honor of him. He really does like it.

      Delete
  6. Yes on the pink and also yes on the red. I also have a very strong attraction to yellow, the happiest of all colors and the color we associate with the sun. So, that makes sense.
    Green, however, has always made it's way into my house insome form. The walls or just an accent, in many of my rooms. I find it to be not the color of life and new growth, but also a very soothing color. It relaxes me. I currently am using blue for the same reason, different explanation. I find blue soothing in my surroundings because it is soft, always soft.

    Money is green, too, btw. ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Son is in green pjs as we speak. Getting ready to sleep in green sheets. :)

      Delete
  7. Why would they think it was a negative thing to really like the colour green? It sometimes boggles me that there is so much emphasis on finding what parts don't fit into the "normal" bucket, that they forget to look at the individual traits that make them who and what they are. If they are going to tell you things like that, then wouldn't it be a good idea to tell you what it means too?

    Purple and Teal for me... ;-) yeah, I never could stick with just one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In all honesty, my sister might have just been meaning he simply liked the color. I was defensive in those days, and I have never asked her. But the comment set me thinking on the issue. So, when the developmental psychologist mentioned it, I had a developed opinion. Lol. Thank you sister! I do think once a diagnosis is given, we often lose sight of the child because of the label where behaviors are concerned.

      Delete
  8. Hmm! It's not an obsession, dear, it's a ~behavior~. I'm perseverating. Think my dh would buy that about my sewing hobby? ;)

    Green was my grandmother's favorite color, too. I like lime, but I'm even more partial to purple.

    ReplyDelete
  9. WOW, what's the big deal? My son loves green to obsession too. Everybody loves different colors. I would have loved to tell him off on your behalf. Your son is fine loving green. Geez.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like Mike's theory and question, and I'm often fascinated by people on the autism spectrum who go so deeply into one particular thing and by savants like "Rain Man." There's so much mystery in the human mind. I also like that you didn't throw away his vacuums, Amy. If they make him happy, why shouldn't he have them? I also don't have one particular favorite color; I like different ones depending on what it is that's colored that way, although I find as I get older that I'm attracted to bright colors more than I was when I was younger. I do love blue/green combinations in just about anything.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Loved this post! This post also had undertones of the color gray/grey {not sure of the proper spelling, too lazy to google it}. As in gray areas, when it comes to Autism, behaviors and perseverations. What is "normal" and what is Autism? I often have these conversations with my other friends of kiddos with special needs, where we are picking apart a behavior to death, and then we realize, omg, okay that's not Autism it's just being five. Must say I love it when, oh he's just five happens too.

    My favorite color is pink too! I should make you some earrings.:)

    ReplyDelete