|Tobi with her little cousin.|
We've always been aware of Tobi's vivid imagination, but we always thought it was just that. A vivid imagination. Well, so what if when she's asked to write about how her summer vacation went she mixes real events with something she saw on tv. What's the big deal if she talks like something that's not real is in fact, as real as she is? Don't kids do that? We didn't think it was an abnormal amount of imagination. Imagination is awesome! Why be worried about that? Why were her teachers bringing it up excessively?
This past IEP meeting took some of my blinders off, I think. As I've said before, we've always known our little binga was a quirky ball of energy (and not necessarily healthy energy), and she's been seen for various diagnoses since she was yay-high. The word 'aspergers' has been floating around her for years. But when you actually get the diagnosis, see it on paper, read more about what it is, it's like your zipper being opened and you can't hold everything in anymore.
|Tobi has learned to shade with tissue.|
Her tears are real. She's distraught. Tobi is holding onto me and sobbing. She actually explained it to me that one of her heart strings had been pulled. The reason was a bittersweet one and one I could only distantly understand. I like to think that I have an expressive imagination. It helps me to draw and write by giving my characters life. I put emotional investments in my creations and the creations of others that I read, write with, watch on tv. But I know that they aren't REAL in the strictest sense of the word. I know that in reality, that actor wasn't just horribly taken from the world. I know that dog was trained to limp; that a great turn of phrase and a skilled writer has made me feel a connection between me and the character I'm reading about. But I know it's not REAL.
Tobi forms strong attachments to things. Very often it's things that you and I would understand aren't real. I can tell Tobi until I'm blue in the face that the animation she just watched, the one that is making her nose stuffy and her head hurt, isn't real. It didn't really happen. But to her, Spike the dragon really is growing up and can no longer live with Twilight the unicorn. It's as real to her as can be. My saying "but, honey, you know it's not real right? it's just a cartoon" gets me the reply, "I know, but-". She may know it's a cartoon, but it's still REAL. Who am I to say it's not? I tell her Santa Claus is real, don't I...?
At the IEP meeting, we were told that Tobi talks about imaginary things as if they are really happening, as a part of her life. She combines reality with fantasy and this is how she sees the world. I find it both amazing and terrifying. As she grows older, this way of seeing the world is going to be less and less acceptable to the mainstream. How will she ground herself?
Spaghetti dinner. August 4 is coming up on us quickly and it's going to be just one of many fundraisers to help fund this service dog. I am optimistically confident that we will raise almost or near half of what we need for the $1000 deposit to the trainer. That's half way to getting a puppy picked and pictures to show Tobi. That's going to be a big step. Seeing that puppy's picture, naming it. Getting to see videos... I know we'll have so very much more to raise after that, but I think once the deposit is down, the puppy will become REAL, and the ball will gain momentum and things will really start rolling.
Please, support our efforts to help bring this husky into Tobi's life for real.