Sunday, July 29, 2012


Before he was two years old, our older son's brain was in hyper-overdrive. He was always moving, always checking things out and always taking things apart to figure out how they worked. In short, he was exhausting.

Boy, do I wish I'd known then what I know now. If for no other reason, I would have at least saved myself a lot of money.

We tried everything to grab that child's attention. We spent so much money in a desperate act to occupy his mind and calm his body. Nothing seemed to work. Of course, we had no idea what we were truly dealing with--an autistic son in sensory and gastric overload.

Those days were spent looking longingly at other mothers at playgroups or Gymboree dates as they sat and chatted happily, their babies sitting peacefully on blankets beside them.

I was a hot mess, running after my kid.

"He's a little Einstein," a friend told me one day.

We were in a coffee shop, of all places. The kids were a year old, and our son was bulldozing through the entire place. Their kids? They sat. They ate Cheerios. They played with stacking cups. Our son threw stacking cups out of his path so he could move to more, more and MORE things.

"He's busy because he's so smart!" she offered. "He's going to rule the world."

Bless her for trying, but I was near tears. I wanted him to sit. I begged for something--anything--to grab his attention.

Just a few months later, something did. Gears.

We found a gear table and set at a local toy store and thought we had hit the jackpot! He would spin those plastic gears over and over and over again. I was thrilled! Yes, my friend was surely right! This child was another Einstien!

What kid his age is that interested in connecting gears? He's truly was going to rule the world!

I wasn't too concerned when the spinning interest in the gear toy spread to other things, such as the wheels of his stroller. Heck, young toddlers do that, right?

Well, perhaps. Perhaps it wasn't abnormal to turn over our own stroller so that he could spin its wheels. However, there were perhaps some red flags when that child started zoning in on other people's public...while the strollers were still moving...with kids in them.

Yeah, deep down, I had a feeling that this was not healthy.

Not long after, our son entered Early Intervention in New York State. We were told that he had possible speech and sensory issues, but it was only a matter of months before autism was mentioned.

All the while, our son continued to spin the gears and wheels.

What once was my salvation suddenly seemed so taboo to me. Spinning. It was one of the hallmarks of autism--right up there with lining things up in a row. I was scared. Could he have autism?

Some people with autism like to watch things spin because of the feeling it gives them. That feeling which might make my husband and me dizzy or sick to our stomachs can actually ground our sons by giving them a visual and spacial input needed for their sensory systems.

Spinning. Dear Lord, what was happening to our child? At that time, everything he did seemed foreign to me.

Our son was diagnosed with autism just a week after his second birthday. For a long time, I couldn't stand to watch him spin things. To me, it was an affirmation of all that was wrong in our world.

Spinning. I'm not exactly sure why, but it got worse before it got better. As thirty hours of in-home therapy began to intensely treat his deficits, he would spin everything he could. All the while, I felt as though our would was spinning out of control.

Spinning. When did that thinking stop? I just don't know. The spinning sure hasn't. He's a pro. That child can spin absolutely anything.

However, now when I see it, I don't cringe at the sight for fear of what disability it portrays. Somewhere along the way, I started seeing the ability he has for it.

Perspective is a beautiful thing.

NaPoBloMo July 2012 Challenge. Blogging my way through the month of July. I wonder if my kids miss me?


  1. Omg. You have kids? And they might miss you? LOL

    I really live this one. It takes me back to the time before I knew you and gives me a glimpse of the baby days. Spinning. Like a carousel and a vacuum's wheels and on and on. Makes so much sense. Like rocking makes sense when you think of calming a busy mind.

    Thanks for doing this one. I have so much to learn.

    1. I remember a woman coming into our house from the agency we chose to provide our Early Intervention autism support. He went over to the gear table, and I held my breath. I was in full denial of his diagnosis.

      She casually said, "My kids have gear tables, too." God bless her for that! I remember thinking, yes, yes, this love of spinning COULD be normal. I know it wasn't, but at that time, I really needed it to be. I think I needed reality in small doses.

      Poor young moms to autism...:) Glad I'm not there anymore!

      Thanks for reading, Jo!