Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Sunday, 17 April 2016


I usually can pick up on when R wants to ask me something. He will hover around pacing and glancing my way until I stop what I’m doing and look at him. 

R:  I need to go to Wal-Mart.
Me:  What do you need at Wal-Mart?
R:  A sock is missing.
Me:  What happened to your sock??  
R:  I need 12 of them.
Me:  How many do you have?
R:  11.

Knowing he did laundry yesterday, I located the missing 12th sock on the floor beside the laundry basket.

He seemed somewhat relieved but still a little agitated. G took out all the socks from R’s dresser and R organized them into 2 piles in a specific order that only he knows.

He still looked perturbed.

I suggested we wash the errant sock.

He thought about it…hesitated…then agreed to washing ALL his socks.

He thought some more.

He was not happy. Washing was no longer an option. He made it clear he needed to go buy new socks.

G tried to persuade him otherwise. R would have no part of it. I could see his level of anxiety rising. I intervened before we went into crisis mode.

Me:  Would it make you feel better to go to Wal-Mart?
R:  Ohhhh-kay.  *relieved voice*
Me:  Ok.  You can go after papers. (He delivers the local paper on Sunday mornings.)
R:  I’ll put them in your laundry.  (Translation: I don’t want them anymore. Once they’re in your laundry basket…they are yours.)

It is not uncommon for individuals diagnosed with autism to have coexisting conditions (disorders or diagnoses that co-occur). For example ADHD, OCD, tic disorders to name a few. Why yes, R has all three.

The other day my sister had mentioned an article she had read about OCD and how it can affect kids. We both had a light bulb moment. You see, as a young child I had some obscure obsessions. My need for order, symmetry and precision  and the resulting “temper tantrums” that I had almost every single day from as early as I can remember until around age 10 definitely interfered with daily life

I remembered how my socks had to be pulled up evenly.
I remembered how my shoe laces had to be equal and laying straight across as opposed to crooked.
I remembered how my shirts had to have equal amounts showing on either side of the neckline before putting them away in my dresser. 

Growing up in the 1960’s, OCD was not as understood as it is today and instead I was prescribed “crying” medicine (as my mother referred to it) for those times when my behaviours were too much to handle. I found out later it was a “mild” (also as my mother referred to it) barbiturate. Yes. Really. 1960's. Enough said.

Now normally when we have these types of “situations” with Riley, I would write them off as characteristics of his autism. Only this morning I remembered how I felt all those years ago. I have always known Riley had traits of other disorders but this was the first time I think I truly understood and could relate to how he felt.

Obsessions, for whatever reason, may not make sense to anybody but the individual. And if something as simple as buying new socks meant all would be okay in Riley World then new socks it would be. Besides, the last time he bought new socks was almost a year ago