"I'm not much good at socializing"
My son, now 11, is becoming far more aware of himself; what he's good at, what he's not so good at. It's actually lovely to have conversations with him in the infrequent times when we are on our own and all the other noisy ones are out of the house. We had this chat the other day.
Him: "I'm not a very sociable person. What does sociable mean again?"
Me: "Sort of getting on with other people. Why do you think you aren't sociable?"
Him: "I prefer to be individualized. I get on better that way."
Me: "Do you want to be more sociable?"
Him: "No. Not really. It's too noisy. Other people have good sociable skills. I don't have them."
Me: "What are your skills?"
Him: "Spelling, maths. YOU KNOW. All that stuff."
Me: "Yes. I know."
Him: "So why don't I have good sociability skills?"
Me: "Um. I think it's the way your brain has developed. You just found it harder than other kids. Is it worrying you?"
Him: "Other kids have developed their sociability skills but I haven't."
Me: "As you get older you'll get more of them. I'll help you."
Recently he told some children at school about "his autism secret" as he described it to me. And yesterday he told them that when he was little he'd had ADHD as well.
"Did you have ADHD when you were little?" he asked me.
"No. I didn't. But your uncle had something a bit the same," I said.
He's really turning over in his mind how he copes with life and the things he finds hard and easy. It's lovely to see him think about things. It's especially lovely to see his self-reflections make him want to change some of his behaviour. For example, THIS HAPPENED!
Me: "I really want to work on getting all this stuck poo out of you guys' bowels in the next few months. Once we can get it out it won't sit there putting poison into your bodies."
Him: "Poison? Is there poison in there?"
Me: "Well, it's not good stuff. It shoudn't be in there and it's not good for you, so yes, it's like poison."
Him: getting a little upset. "Well, you should have made me eat healthy things when I was younger. If I'd learned to do it then it wouldn't be so hard now."
Me: "Believe me, I tried. You just screamed your head off the whole time."
He then went away, had a little think and came back ten minutes later.
"Mum," he said, coming down the stairs, "as reluctant as I am to say this, I am going to eat vegetables from now on."
I nearly fell off my feet. "Okay," I said. "Sounds good." WHICH IS THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR. We've had one mealtime since that little exchange and yes, he ate vegetables. So maybe, just maybe, there is change on the way.