a reply to: ketsuko
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you, kets.
Tae Kwon Do has helped my son tremendously, it has done so much for him both physically and mentally; his personal heroes are Bruce Lee and Ip Man,
one of Bruce Lee's early mentors. For Christmas I got him a book Bruce Lee wrote and it has turned out to be one of his favorite gifts ever.
Autism, as far as can be discerned does not usually have a physiological cause, rather it seems to be a difference in the 'wiring' of a person on the
spectrum's brain as it were. In my son, there is a probable physiological causative factor; there is one suture joint of his skull, in his forehead,
which was fused before he was born. This resulted in him having a triangular shaped appearance to his head if you looked at him from above and a
vertical ridge in the middle of his forehead running to the crown of his head looking at him face on. This has become much less noticeable as he has
grown, but was quite distinct when he was younger.
As a result of the oddness of the shape of his skull, there were areas of his brain which had a little less room than normal, while at the same time,
other ares of his brain had extra room. At one point we were referred to a neurologist somewhere in the Houston Medical Center, I don't recall
specifically as it was near 20 years ago, but I do remember taking him to have several scans done of his skull to image his brain and make a
determination if they though performing surgery on his skull might make a difference.
He was pretty young, but into his toddler years so we were talking brain surgery on on our youngest child (at the time) and it was some seriously
heavy things to try and process. In the end we, along with the neurologists, determined that the risks were greater than any reward that might
eventuate. His speech was delayed and for a good time when he did start talking (and it seemed like he grew an impressive vocabulary all at one time)
it seemed he didn't understand the purpose of a question and he wouldn't respond to a direct question, but would rather have further discussion on the
topic upon which the question was based.
This is when we started considering that we might have a child with autism, and he was eventually diagnosed, I think maybe 2nd or 3rd grade as
Developmentally Delayed Not Otherwise Specified. My wife and I would regularly meet with his teachers to discuss his IEP as mentioned in my previous
post; he was mainstreamed and kept in with a regular class and he eventually graduated with honors from the
Chinese National Honor Society.
I couldn't be more proud of him.
Even though we could sense some developmental delay in some areas as he was growing up, we could also discern some advances in others; this is
something that the several of the specialists we spoke with told us we could expect as our son matured. One example of his advanced development was in
his balance and sense of direction; he seemed to have extremely accurate proprioception. We had gone on a vacation to San Antonio, (a favorite
vacation destination of my mine and my ex-wife's family as we were each growing up and we continued the tradition with our family) and by the second
foray into the city for some site seeing, we could ask him which way to turn at any intersection and he would take us right back to the hotel. He was
maybe 4 or 5 when he did this.
Tae Kwon Do (as does any martial art) makes use of proprioception. Our son taught himself every form in his style by the time he was on his yellow
belt; that's the 2nd belt of 9 in his style; we believe, as a result of his advanced body awareness, sense of balance, and direction. Hundreds of
precise movements in order, and he knew them forward and backwards. His instructor said he had never had a student as apt as he was and has him
working part time at the Dojang teaching younger students, who absolutely adore him.
The parents in this story has many more challenges than my ex-wife and I had in raising our son and my heart goes to them in enduring what they have
at the hands of the institution of education to which these parents entrusted their son. We got fortunate in that none of our son's teachers or any
other school official ever thought it appropriate to issue a "most annoying student" award, or rather maybe I should say that the schools got luck
none of them thought to do so, none of the parents I met while I was still married ever would have stood for any student getting such a thing, much
less someone on the spectrum. The reactions would not have been pleasant, especially if it had been our son as not only would they have had to contend
with my ex-wife and myself, but her parents were both retired teachers having multiple decades each of teaching experience so, hell would have been
raised for a certain fact.
edit on 10-6-2019 by jadedANDcynical because: (no reason given)