Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are often called “little professors” because of their high intelligence, strong verbal skills, ability to relate better to adults than to same-aged peers, and impressive knowledge about their “special interests.” When my seven year old son was recently evaluated, the doctor said he is a “textbook aspie.” I agree. Basically, if you look up Asperger’s in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Lennon’s handsome face.
Lennon’s special interests began by the time he turned one. He was obsessed with whales (and other sea creatures, but ESPECIALLY whales). He could point to every whale in his animal encyclopedia and tell me all the species names. By age two, he could draw recognizable whales. He talked about them constantly. Marine life is still an interest of his, but he has moved onto other interests throughout the years as well. The current big one is Minecraft (like most boys these days).
Lennon has always been an “old soul.” He has always seemed wise beyond his years. When he was born, he had trouble breathing and was whisked away to the NICU and hooked up to all kinds of machines and monitors. I didn’t get to hold him until the next day. When I held him and he opened up his huge brown eyes and looked at me, I was blown away. He seemed like he had all of the knowledge in the entire world in those eyes. That may sound crazy, but that is what I thought. I could tell he was special. As he has grown, he has shown us more and more just how amazing he is.
When he was little, he seemed incredibly frustrated to be trapped inside a baby’s helpless body with his adult mind. Here’s an excerpt from his birthday letter I wrote for him when he turned one (a yearly tradition I do for each of my kids on their birthdays):
“You would always study everything we did, and I could see the wheels turning in your head as you contemplated how you would someday accomplish these “big boy” feats. You had a strong need for movement. For your first few months we had to provide this movement for you, either by rocking, walking around with you, wearing you, bouncing on an exercise ball, etc. You would not allow me to sit down EVER. Even if you were sleeping, you would wake up and cry if I sat down or stopped moving. Around 4 months you began your quest for independent movement. You started rolling all over the house, trying to sit up, and trying to crawl. You were incredibly frustrated until you figured out how to crawl in the proper hands and knees position at 6.5 months. Then there was no stopping you! Within one week you learned to crawl and then began pulling yourself up on everything and cruising. By 8 months you would pull yourself up and then let go and stand alone for a few seconds. A week shy of ten months, you took your first steps. Within a few weeks, you were walking everywhere and the adorable crawling phase of your life was over as quickly as it had begun. We just watched in amazement as you accomplished all these milestones in quick succession. With each new skill, you became a happier and more content baby. I loved the proud look you would get when you’d learn something new.”
Lennon also spoke early, in true “little professor” style. By 18 months, he was speaking in full sentences. We could carry on conversations with him, and it was just like talking to another adult. We have always talked to him truthfully about anything he asks about, including “adult” topics such as sex, death, religion, war, politics, etc. He stopped believing in Santa around age four or five. He asked if Santa was real, and when we responded with, “what do YOU think?” he simply shook his head, and we confirmed it. I was a little saddened that he learned the truth so young, but not a bit surprised.
It seemed almost like he was never a child at all…
But, once in awhile, he reminds me that even though he’s mature, even though his brain works differently…..he’s still a seven year old boy.
I found this in his room today. It’s a diagram of poop, including a visual of poop exiting the buttocks. Hah!