My son Patrick hears music in colors and perceives numbers in unique ways. He describes seven as an aggressive number. Six is soft.
His passion is music. He sings in a powerful baritone voice, booming with emotion, and spends a great deal of time listening to his favorite composers. I visualize my son living in a kaleidoscope world of rich, bold colors and soft, gentle pastels, a world of music and magic, a world I can only imagine.
I often wonder if there are other mothers out there who have experienced guilt at not recognizing that their child was different. My son diagnosed himself with Asperger’s Syndrome as a sophomore in high school and later his diagnosis was confirmed by both a psychiatrist and by the Georgia Regents Center for Learning Disorders. He’s presently working on a degree in music.
He woke up this morning and headed straight for me, to ask how I slept and to tell me about a new song he’d heard. Before the day is over, he’ll have pulled up the song on the computer for me to hear.
His motor skills are poor. He was unable to balance a bicycle as a child. He never could learn to skate or use a skateboard. And catching a ball is difficult. How did I miss so many clues? I’ve only listed a few of the many clues he left trailing behind him. Patrick’s father and I separated when he was about four years old, and I worked hard to support my two children.
When Patrick couldn’t learn to ride a bike, I thought it was somehow my fault, that he needed his father who lived a thousand miles away. At each hurdle, I made excuses, thinking I was somehow to blame. I pushed him hard and loved him deeply. He started taking piano lessons many months ago. I worried, knowing his motor skills are poor, knowing his penmanship is not much better than scribbles. But he’s doing well, learning to play, and he enjoys it. With music, he is able to overcome many challenges. Music holds a secret for him.
I asked him this morning if I could start writing about him and how Asperger’s affects his life. With a smile on his face, he gave me his permission to dig into his world. Thank you, Patrick for letting me share your magic.