Thursday, January 20, 2011


We saw our beloved developmental/behavioral pediatrician again recently. We've gone as often as monthly and as little as quarterly, for thirteen years. He's really good about celebrating our progress (which is gigantic) and pointing out our next goal or two. We are supposed to start getting Rojo as independent as possible, starting with going into a grocery store together, sending him off on his own to get milk, coming back to the cart and then going back for something else, etc. There is a little store in our neighborhood just a few short blocks away. The goal is that someday I will be able to give him $10, send him with a short list, and have him come back with everything on it (with as much help as he needs once in the store). This is a long way from happening, but we are baby stepping it now. At this point he is not willing to separate from me in the grocery store, but I can get him to find something in the aisle while I'm in the same aisle looking for something else. Like I said, baby steps.

The other thing we are supposed to do is get Rojo to express his opinion. The doctor explained to us something so obvious, yet I'd never thought of it in these terms: opinions use both the left and right sides of the brain. They take fact (left) and cross over for feelings (right), and make the two hemispheres work together. Right now when you ask Rojo what he thinks about something, he's likely to say, "Good." It's very hard for him to expand - to offer an opinion on anything. It's not hard to get my daughter to offer an opinion on literally, EVERYTHING, so it's comforting to know it's a wiring thing and not a bad parenting thing that is giving him such trouble.

This new task has helped to reshape my views on my own opinions and those of others. When I totally disagree with others' opinion I am a little better at saying to myself, "That is just their feelings mixed with some fact," instead of dismissing them as just plain wrong. The tricky part is when I agree with their opinions to realize that then, too, it is simply their feelings mixed with fact. It is not pure fact. It is not pure feelings. It is not pure, at all. It's an opinion. Nothing more, nothing less, but very worth considering, always.

* Photo from

8 comments: said...

Interesting. And of course some opinions require more consideration than others.

Wanda said... opinions are always pure! (Ha.)

Courtney said...

It would never occur to me that anything in your house would have anything to do with "bad parenting." You are a heroic parent.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

That is a fantastic definition of opinions. And I'm thinking of you with the baby steps. xo

Elizabeth said...

That IS fascinating. I'm wondering whether left brain people and right brain people, then, are either heavy on the fact or the feeling in their opinons?

Deb Shucka said...

I'm with Courtney - it didn't even cross my radar that any of this is bad parenting.

Isn't is interesting that we need to mix emotion with raw data to form an opinion, to make our brain work as one unit - and that it's easier for some than others. I'd never considered sharing opinion as part of development.

Sending you prayers.

Amber said...

Wow, that is an INTERESTING way to think about it! That sheds light.

...But really. What about when people are just dip-shits? You don't mean them, right? ;)


kario said...

I think Rojo is terrific at offering his opinion on things spontaneously, just maybe not when asked. I'll bet he has all sorts of ideas about how things in his daily life affect him, but when asked, it may put him on the spot to the point where he has to more formally cross that line between "brains."

Can't wait to hear about some of the escapades at the grocery store!