One Way to Deal With Perseveration
A local autism organization contacted me yesterday afternoon: Channel 2 was doing a story on vaccines and needed a "pro-vaccine" parent. Thinking about how, after stating that "more and more of the scientific evidence refutes a link between vaccines and autism," I was going to have to figure out how to say really really fast that "what we really need are more services, schools, and supports for individuals on the autism spectrum," I said I'd be glad to. It seemed that I could be interviewed at work tomorrow (i.e., today), but when a producer from the TV station called me about "vaccines" they told me they would interview me around 5pm.
That is, they'd be sending a crew over at 5pm tuesday afternoon and I'd be on the 11pm news.
It was 4.11pm when I heard that. Rapidly adding up that 5pm was not an hour away, that they wanted to come to our house, and that it was Charlie and me here as Jim teaches all day on Tuesday, I said, can't do that, that I could do tomorrow. At which the word was "Oh. Bye."
Ok by me. It certainly didn't seem like the (breathless) producer was going to hear about our main concern: No filming Charlie.
Charlie's and my afternoon proceeded with its usual excitement: I finally got around to filling out a claims form to send to the insurance company. I wrote a quiz for my elementary Latin class. Charlie announced "garbage dogs, garbage CDs" and, cheerily and very studiously, attempted to shove the two stuffed dogs, the big black beat-up case of CDs, and a water-stained faded neon green backpack into the kitchen garbage can. After trying a few configurations, he put the dogs and the backpack on the floor, picked up the bag and shook it so everything settled, tied it shut, and asked for his socks. And dumped the whole thing outside.
Two hours later, he put the backpack into the now-mostly-empty garbage can, and dumped it, too.
Yes, I do think there is something going on about Charlie and the music that he gets overly into—obsessed, you might say—and his deciding to throw it away, as he threw away his iPod a few months ago. My mom and dad got him an iPod touch for Christmas and I've yet to set it up with music and all that for Charlie. Based on this dumping business, I'm thinking it might be best not to put any music on it at all, lest I want to continue digging through the garbage to find the latest discards.
That said, I actually feel pretty proud of Charlie for taking the initiative to get rid of things that Jim and I have certainly noted are obsessions, and obsessions that—when Charlie has "too much" of them (listens too much to the same CD over and over in the car), neurological storms, all too often of a banging and fierce nature, can result. The tough thing is getting—convincing, persuading—Charlie to let go of things that, while he might smile about them at first, ultimately do him no good.
Would that we might all leave behind our perseverations. In discussions about autism, I'd say the vaccine issue is quite devolving into such. Now that the 1998 Lancet study linking autism and the MMR by Wakefield et al. has been retracted by the journal, one wishes that we could, yes, move on. But, as we know too well, it's hard to let go of the perseverated upon.
I'm not saying we have to throw the whole issue out with the proverbial bathwater. But I think it's accurate to say that a great deal of time, energy, and ink (actual and digital) has been expended on "the v word," with many "behaviors" presented among various parties. Seems like some just can't let this topic—interest—ok, obsession—go.
Giving it up doesn't mean we won't cease to consider the causes of autism in all their potential multi-facetness. But the time is overdue to let go, let be and reconfigure.
(I kid you not: As Charlie and I exited the grocery store, I saw a minivan bearing the bumper sticker "New Jersey Needs Vaccination Choice!".)
More than a few of the CDs in the dumped case being ones that Jim and I actually like, I did retrieve them. But I left the case in the garbage can.
High time for a new one.