Twice in the last 24 hours I've been asked to describe Rojo to people that know of him, but don't know him. I'm a flippin' writer. I'm his own mother, for God's sake, why is this so hard?
On paper Rojo is/has this:
* 13-years-old next week
* Somewhere on the very broad, very vague, very unhelpful in understanding him, Autism Spectrum
* ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is so poorly named it's laughable. The boy has an ABUNDANCE of attention, not a deficit - the problem is he pays equal attention to every single thing vying for his attention. The hyperactive part is fitting.
* OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, although the argument could be made that this is part of the "fun" of being "on the spectrum")
* Auditory Processing Disorder (disconnect between what is heard and what the brain understands)
* Sensory Integration Dysfunction (both tactile defensive and seeking - it's complicated)
* Poor motor planning both gross and fine (rode a bike at 12, handwriting is laborious, forget about ever tying a shoe)
* Unofficially learning disabled (by definition this is a gross discrepancy between intellect and performance - because we have no reliable method to test his intelligence, this will never be proven)
Some of the things he cannot do at this time:
* Fully bathe/shower by himself
* Prepare his own food (even a sandwich, although he does open a mean bag of chips using scissors and several attempts)
* Listen to teacher directions and get to work, he requires an aide to reinforce/repeat what the instructions are, and help him stay on task, as well as help to modify as needed
* Tie, button, snap or buckle, which means on school days he needs help dressing - summertime T-shirts and basketball shorts he's got covered
What the tests/diagnoses/report cards don't say:
* He's fully enlightened. He has no ego. None. He loves everyone, has no judgment, only compassion, and is incapable of having an unkind thought or speaking an unkind word.
* He is always in the now, with no regrets and no looking back. He has positive expectancy for the future and looks forward to the simplest of pleasures/activities, and none are beyond the next 24-hours or so.
* He never complains. Never.
* His sense of humor is highly developed and his comedic timing is dead on.
* He's incredibly empathetic, he sees/senses when others are upset and "holds space" with them so beautifully, I wish he could teach classes on how to do this. He just knows intrinsically how to be with another's pain, not fix it, not make it go away, just be with it.
* He is well loved by all: teachers, classmates, kids in other grades both older and younger, and of course, his family.
* When he smiles his dimples dig in, his eyes twinkle, and his pure, unadulterated joy washes over everyone in the room.
And that's just for starters...
(Photo of him playing the "Yelling Game," I think in this one he "is" TD Jakes.)