My son is going through a period of “lost information”. This happens every so often. School is out. Perhaps, that is the reason for it. Or this may be related to a growth spurt, diet or temperature changes, a potential increase in night seizure activity, a toothache he cannot express, or change in focus from within him. I really couldn’t tell you and he certainly can’t tell me.
We’re back to the facial recognition problem I posted about here. Shortly after I wrote that post, I saw an amazing change which I posted about here, when he showed me that he learned the names of all the peers in his kindergarten class.
He started “Summer Camp” with four friends. All four were from his kindergarten class. They were in the same classroom. With the same teacher. Yet every day that first week of “summer camp”, he failed 100 percent in identifying those he knew by name when greeting or saying goodbye in class. He guessed wrong names in front of his peers every time. Then, he would shout out names at random, as second, third, and fourth shots. Not the way to win people over.
And now, he knows no one’s name.
Yet, he still remembers the babysitters he had at age 1-3 before his diagnosis.
He does not appear outwardly upset by this. He has never discussed his peers. When I drop him off in the morning at the playground, he wanders off on his own, seemingly content, and talks to himself but it still hurts me to see it. He doesn’t seem upset to be alone. He appears oblivious to the idea of social interaction of any kind.
Over the weekend, he was playing with a car. He said, “It’s just like Daddy’s car”. He followed this by saying to me, “I want Daddy to come to your party.” My heart sank. [His dad did attend his party].
His birthday was at the end of May. He had a huge party. Many of his friends came. I had about 35-40 people in my house. I posted about it here.
I asked, “Do you mean your birthday party?”
“Yes. I want Daddy to come to your birthday party.” He looked up at me with those big eyes. I wasn’t sure if this was echolalia (he was saying it before his party) or confusion or what.
“Did you already have your birthday party?” I asked him, wondering if his sentence structure was just poor he was using future instead of past tense.
“Yes,” he answered. (Whew…)
“Who was at your party?” I asked.
“Daddy.” he answered. [Wait- what? He just asked for.... Yeah, this is just how it is.]
“J” he answered, who is the boy who called my son his best friend. (This is good, I thought).
“Who else?” I asked.
“Steve.” he answered.
There was a Steve at the party, but he was a guest of a guest. My son did not meet him. I had a sinking feeling I knew which Steve he was talking about.
“Who is Steve?” I asked.
“The green one,” he answered.
“Who is the green one?” I asked.
“Blue’s Steve.” he answered.
[Just so you know, Steve from Blue’s Clues, was not at our party. To my knowledge, he is not making a living by attending the birthday parties of small children.] Steve did throw a rather big soiree for Blue’s birthday and my son has watched this episode ad nauseam since he was less than a year old.
I asked him what he did at his birthday party.
He said he jumped. (Hope! We had a bouncy house!) He added that he jumped at Sky Zone. This was his friend’s party – last week.
I asked him where Tootles’ party was at. He said Sky Zone. I said no, that was your friend’s party. Where was your party?
He said home. (Yes!)
Then I asked what he did at his party. He said “Ate cake.”
“Blew out candles.”
What else? (Ahem – bouncy house – the one we mortgaged our real house to rent? The one that he spent all weekend in…)
He did not know.
I asked him if he had a bouncy house.
He said yes.
I asked what color it was. (color is his favorite topic).
“Blue?” “Purple?” “Green?”
I sat down with him at the computer and we looked at the photos from the party. I asked him to name names. By the time we were finished, he was about 80 percent correct on his own. When we started he was at zero percent. His party was 21 days ago.
I just don’t know how he is wired. My dad had wiring diagrams for electronics when I was a kid, all over our house. I could use that kind of diagram for my son. I wonder where and how the input goes into the brain, is processed, and either discarded or stored.
There is stuff in his mind that is instantly retrievable. He knows makes and models of hundreds of vehicles by sight. He knows the names of adults he saw once or twice from the time he was not even a year old. He know television and movie characters. He recalls every toy he’s ever owned.
But he forgets the faces of his peers less than a week after school is out. Less than 30 days after his birthday, he’s forgotten everything about his party. Why?
It’s like he’s driving, and this is his blind spot. I don’t understand it. I doubt I ever will. I just accept it and work on ways to re-input the info. At least what was once gut-wrenching for me, is now just a downer I’ve come to accept. I guess you could call that my progress.
I see the hole. While I used to cry dramatically over the gap, now I just sigh, and look for tools to build the bridge around it.