Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Madison's First Sleepover

Even though we have two kids on the spectrum, I don’t talk much about Nolan’s older sister Madison.  Mad (she doesn't care for “Maddie”) was diagnosed with PDD-NOS 2½ years ago, and, while we had our suspicions for some time before, she wasn't diagnosed until she was 6½.  Even though she has autism, honestly, sometimes it’s easy to miss.  Mad is smart, talkative, loving, makes eye contact, does well in school and is relatively independent.

But there are a couple places where her uniqueness shines through.  First of all, she has a nearly eidetic memory, and catches details of a situation at a quick glance.  Yet, while she can recall the weather and exactly what she was wearing on the day we bought our pet mice last year, to get her to remember the morning routine she has been doing for years or focus long enough to find a bright pink piece of paper on an otherwise empty dining room table, and all hope is lost.

Then, there are Madison’s social skills.  I’ll start by saying that Mad is in love with everyone.  In her eyes, there is not an ugly person on this planet, and everyone loves her back.  Why wouldn't they?  To her, all people are perfect and she considers every soul she meets to be a friend.  From our big, gruff, bearded typical Vermont neighbor next door to my boss she met one time in the grocery store, Madison loves all people.

But, to get her to understand the complexities and nuances of childhood relationships, to realize that not everyone wants to hear about her family all the time, or to make her realize kids can have more than one friend at a time, is a full time job.  She has “friends” at school, but not by the same definition we used as kids.  Don’t get me wrong; she knows when someone is being mean to her and there are some she does not like at all.  But we accept that Mad may likely never have a BFF.

Nevertheless, Madison had her first sleepover this past weekend.  We have known “V” and her family for a couple of years now.  We invite them to game days, and we have watched each other’s kids from time to time.  V and Mad are in the same class, and she is the closest thing to a best friend that our daughter has.  V knows that Madison is quirky and can get annoyed sometimes at her chattiness.  Even though they get along well together, I was leery about the event.

That was a pointless worry.  Madison and V had a great time together.  Sure, Madison chatted V’s ears off and had a tendency to get upset at the unfairness of losing a Wii game.  But, when I caught my little kid leading the play activities and had V following her every direction without argument, my apprehension melted away.  Her friend showed up at about 4:30 Saturday, and was still in our house 24 hours later, never once begging for us to rescue her or asking for amnesty.

We worry that she’ll never have long lasting relationships with kids her age.  If the past weekend was any indication, Madison doesn't seem too worried about it.


No comments: