What If He Has Something That Hasn’t Been Defined Yet?

Shane is perfect, just as he is. I really don’t want him to change.

But I don’t want him to suffer. And I think he is going to suffer, if we don’t figure out exactly what is going wrong in his head, and how he can work around it to successfully proceed through life.

Thinking about Shane’s “issue” is quite frustrating, because I’ve tried all the regular channels – and been told repeatedly that I shouldn’t worry about him.

But I do worry.

I asked the pediatrician about Shane during his annual physical. I told him the story of Shane literally tossing the light bulb and smashing it on the garage floor, when my husband said “just toss it” and meant for Shane to discard it. “There are other things, too,” I told the doctor.

The doctor laughed. “Quite honestly,” he said, “he’ll probably just outgrow most of that.”

I trust my pediatrician. He saved Dylan’s life, when Dylan had rocky mountain spotted fever. But if Shane is “tossing” a light bulb across the room at age 10, how long should we wait for him to outgrow his tendency toward the extreme literal?

I also spent some time with the special ed staff at school. We called a meeting to discuss Shane’s odd needs. He’d already been through vision therapy, but he couldn’t spell anything – and I thought we might need to alert his future teachers that he was, actually, quite brilliant. He simply can’t spell.

His teachers – and the special ed staff – didn’t need to be told that Shane was brilliant. They had his paperwork there as proof. They talked about how carefully he followed instructions. They talked about his high test scores, his good behavior, and his advanced-level thinking.

The reading resource specialist spent the entire meeting reading Shane’s journal, raving about its contents. “His writing is superb!” she said. “If only all the students could write like this!” She gushed over his writing until even I felt silly for holding that meeting.

But then I think about that crazily assembled envelope again, about him tossing the light bulb across the room. And I remember the many times I asked Shane something incredibly simple, but he had absolutely no idea what I was saying – and he tried so desperately to understand what I said.

And I wonder: how long before Shane’s problem affects his school work? Will it happen in middle school? Is it getting worse or better? Is he really going to outgrow something that feels so much like a part of his personality?

I wonder how much of my concern stems from Dylan, with his classic ADHD, his GT/LD profile, his extremely rare reactive airways disease and rocky mountain spotted fever. I think about how Dylan’s handwriting issues were so severe, Shane almost didn’t even get diagnosed with vision processing disorder because he wasn’t as bad as Dylan.

And then I wonder if Dylan has vision processing disorder, and not ADHD at all.

Then I think about my friend whose grown son was just diagnosed – at age 29 – with high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome. Is it possible that all the times I took the Asperger’s quizzes online, the results just didn’t pick up Shane’s specific variation of Asperger’s?

What if he has something that hasn’t been defined yet? What if he suffers alone for decades, just because nobody knows why he can’t put an envelope together the right way?

Or what if his problem emerges as something physical, much later in life?

And what if there’s nothing wrong with him at all?


  1. Kirsten says:

    Somehow my blog is no longer letting me know when I have comments. Thanks for all of these! I learn as I go.

  2. Lorrie says:

    And what about the concept thT everybody is an individual and no two humans are exactly alike. Shane is Shane, just as you are you Kirsten. Everyone has troubles/ difficulties. What makes them successful or not is how THEY deal with the issues that are presented to them; not how well we, as parents, fix it for them or save them from it!

  3. Kirsten says:

    Yeah, true… but what if I am genetically deficient in some way?

  4. Janet Moore says:

    Hey! You did those same things. Beat by hand? My fifth head? He’s a perfect Shane.

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