Did you know that The Apollo astronauts’ footprints on the moon will probably stay there for at least 100 million years?
Me neither. I didn’t know until 0530 this morning, when my eldest son, Matthew, awoke me from my slumber with this fact, which he had found on www.mashable.com when searching for facts about Space.
Matthew was diagnosed as having a condition called Autistic Spectrum Disorder when he was five years old . Autism is a registered disability, but at a glance you would not think that there is anything wrong with him.
According to Wikipedia “Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.”
Like other children on the Autistic spectrum Matthew’s cognitive system is a bit like the M25. On a good day it functions absolutely fine. However, on a bad day it gets completely jammed up. It is those days when being a parent of an Autistic child can be a challenge.
Perhaps a simpler way to describe Matthew is that he is not “Neuro-Typical”. As Temple Grandin once explained, Autism is a neurological disorder (I hate that word!). It’s not caused by bad parenting. It’s caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain’s computer cables that hook up the different brain departments.
That’s not to say that having an Autistic child is all bad news. What my son lacks in skills like co-ordination he more that compensates for in other abilities. My son is Awesome just the way he is.
He has a very logical thought process, which can be very refreshing in this very confusing world. He also is blessed with a photographic memory. I say “blessed”, but this trait can be nuisance. You cannot use sayings such as “in a minute” or “maybe tomorrow” when answering a question. Broken promises often come back to haunt me….
Matthew has a thirst for knowledge and facts. It really is like living with a never-ending fact machine. Which is a good thing. Not only do I get to know “interesting” facts about space, I have also learnt some things about myself since become a parent to Matthew.