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Early Childhood Memories -- A personal story

By Valentina:

Honestly I cannot be sure about what I will say, because of course there's no way of knowing what really happened to me back then, but I'll try to explain what I remember and my opinion about things.

I think my first "contact" with reality and people around me (I mean the first time when I really looked around me and cared) was around age 3 1/2, after I was sick with pneumonia. I was hospitalized for many-many long days and for the first time in my life I was away from my family, and the thing that made me "open my eyes" was the fact that nobody was coming to see me (my family). I remember very clearly that at first I didn't care, but I also remember that after a few days spent in the hospital I got very sad and frustrated. Not because I was missing my family, but because in the mean time I realized that the other kids get visits from their relatives and I don't. And it was nothing I could do about it, because I didn't know how to express my feelings in words. I think I just didn't have this concept (of talking for expressing something).

I believe that whatever treatment I got in that hospital, made me come back from who knows what planet :) I am not sure about this, of course, but I have always read with interest the posts about antibiotics and how kids seem to be more aware while on them. I think whatever happened in that hospital (the treatment) was the first step.

For me... I think the thing that works best is frustration. It made me many times to want to do things... it made me think... Thinking is very important!

When I was in kindergarten I used to sit in a corner, quietly, I didn't play with other kids, I didn't play without them either... I was thinking... I know I was stimming a lot while I was doing that, but that was the only way I could concentrate. (I liked to bite my lips - I still do that a lot - because I couldn't do other things) I remember I was trying very hard to not rock back and forth too much, because the other kids would laugh of me and I didn't like that. But when I was getting home... :)) I liked to hide under a table (that was my favorite place - the table had to have a long table cloth so nobody can see me) and there... I was thinking (and stimming a lot). It wasn't something nice, easy for me, but it was the way I could concentrate to think about what's happening around me, without having to worry about what other people would say. I think those were the moments when I was acquiring knowledge about being "normal". Thinking about it now, it's a little embarrassing because I was doing weird things... things that would classify me as a basket case now :)) but... I had no other way. I remember I was counting my movements... I was rubbing my face a number of times, I was shaking my left arm and then my right arm a number of times, I was biting my lips, closing my eyes and opening them a number of times... I was doing a lot of other things until I was getting crazy, really aggravated. And after my mind got tired like that, I could think better about the world around me. What did my mother say today... why somebody did something... what should I do to be different... what things mean... I remember the noises were such a big problem for me...It's a little complicated to explain and I'm sorry I can't remember more...

I was reading about the Son Rise program... interesting, but I don't think all the kids would like to have company while they are stimming. I, for sure, would not have appreciated the company all the time. It was annoying when somebody was watching me. And even if many times my family thought I have no idea about what's happening around me, I always knew. But I didn't care.

It's nice to have friends, company, but it's also necessary to take a break from them. Especially because I think stimming is so important. It helped me. I don't know about other kids.

The rest... I don't know... I mean I am not sure how to explain what exactly happened to me later... but I am sure the first important thing was the treatment that I got in the hospital. After that... I guess I was growing.. my mind was too... I don't know... Another very important thing that helped me was my need to understand things, to understand the logic of things. If something is not logical, I just don't get it, no matter how simple and normal it looks for other people, so that need made me THINK. Thinking helped my brain develop, go into the right direction, I guess...

I guess it's no wonder that I learned to count pretty fast :) LOL Also, in school, I remember I could memorize the lessons very easy. I have no idea why I did that (I could remember the lessons like pictures, I could tell where is that phrase and what page, the exact location). Also, I always liked the 3D geometry. It was easy to "see" objects, to rotate them in my mind...

I'm really sorry I can't tell you more... but I hope this will help a little in understanding and helping your child.I think for me it was important to be left alone. I did my "things" my way, in my own rhythm. And the fact that my parents were so busy and we were 4 kids... I think that helped some :) It helped also because I always had a model to copy when I didn't know what to do, how to act.

I don't know if I am still autistic now or not. I do have some "things" :) I live a normal life though... It wasn't easy to get here, but it wasn't impossible either.

Don't worry, your son will be fine :) He has a wonderful mother who's willing to do so many things to help him :) I am sure he will be fine. Just give him a little more time, and let him have (if possible) his own "rhythm". He will be able to develop his best skills. I don't know about the social part... I still have problems with it, so I can't say too much about it... sorry... The fact that I talk so much (too much sometimes) here, believe me, it doesn't mean that I can do the same thing for real, when I have to talk to people face to face. I always need time to think about what I want to say and I know many times I act really dumb because I get frightened. I don't like it. So I try to avoid it. Only much later, I think after 16-17-18 yo I understood that actually it's not such a big deal to talk to people, and... whatever happens happens, and I still have to do it because there's no other way. It's hard, but... I have better days and worse days... like everybody, I guess...

There are a lot more things, but I guess I will stop here... I am really sorry I made it so long... hope it helps a little :)


I also let my son stim as much as he needs and sometimes, I do it too with him. If he rocks, I rock too :) I like it. I need it sometimes. I help him do his lines sometimes... If he tv-talks I do too. I can't say I need to do that, but I don't think it's something bad. Maybe that's the way he learns how to speak, or maybe that's just something that HE needs to do. When he likes to have me do that, he laughs. When he wants to be left alone, he will just push me out of his room. I always let him alone. I am sick of hearing my family telling me that I should stop letting him watch tv. I will never do that, because that's all he wants to hear. If I try to read him a story, he gets aggravated, and besides he doesn't even understand the words, so what's the point? I will let him do whatever he seems to need, as long as it is not something harmful for him or for somebody else. He will listen when he will be ready, when he will want to.

I don't know what to tell you about why your son hurts himself. I used to do that... kind of... still do it some... My stim was to scratch my leg or my arm until I would feel the blood. I don't do that now anymore, but I do something else. I bite my lips; and sometimes, if I am really concentrated, if I try to learn something, to understand something, I can't stop. I need to feel blood. Until then, I don't even realize I do it. When I found out about what's happening with my son, when I started to learn about autism, about chelation, all the things in the world... at some point I was ashamed to get out of the house :) because my lips looked so bad, that even lipstick didn't help :)) Maybe your son is concentrating.... maybe he needs to understand things around him and they overwhelm him. Maybe a warm bath would help when he does that. Or doing something he really likes to do... Give him a candy :) or something good that would be stimulating enough to make him stop (if he's hurting himself). But I wouldn't just try to stop him. I think usually that feels bad for the kid. Frustrating.

I am really sorry I can't help more :(

I really don't know whether you should let your son stim or try to redirect it, but I wouldn't stop him if he is not hurting himself or others. Maybe he is just trying to get into this world... it's not easy, believe me... There are so many things that come so easy for most of the people... you can't even think about all of them... For me for example was really hard to understand why do I have to talk to people, with words. In my mind I had the feeling I can do it without words, I had the feeling people "read" my thoughts somehow. I don't know how to explain it better, I'm sorry... I hope you will take the best decision for your son. I was thinking... these kids are so lucky, because they have parents who care for them. I think that's great!


I am really glad if I helped in some way. I can assure you though that your son knows what's happening around him. It's just that it is not really stimulating for him. It is not interesting. I do remember my 7 yo birthday party :) That was my first one (and I think the last one LOL) I had two friends that came over, but they came only because they were neighbors :) not because they were actually my friends. As I said, it is nice to have friends, but not always.

Anyway, I was so happy that evening to see those two girls, that I got under the table and I didn't get out of there until the "party" was over :) That was MY WAY to show happiness. I was doing something that I liked, that was making me feel good. They tried to take me out of there, but... not a chance :))

I was never impressed about presents. If it wasn't something that I liked or needed... I would get so disappointed... Much later I understood that actually people cannot guess my wishes.That's why I never buy for my son expensive toys that I know he's not interested in. I buy all the time something that I know he likes. Some stupid looking cards that he can line-up will make him REALLY happy. His Christmas present was a magnetic board with small cards with numbers on them, that he could arrange in whatever way he likes. He was so happy about it, that he played non-stop for more than a week. He refused to go to bed without it. He is still playing a lot with it. I am thinking that maybe this way he will learn the numbers, so I guess his stimming lining-up things can be useful :)

I am sure your son is learning and he knows that he has loving parents


[My thanks to Valentina for allowing me to use her memories on my site.]

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