Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fevers, not Beiber-related

The plague has descended upon this house. Its amazing that i could scrape two thoughts together to actually come up with a blog post. Everyone here has succumbed to this feverish cough leading to a week+ of no housecleaning, a variety of take-out, and copious cough medicine consumption. And of course, it is easy to notice that when Benjamin has a fever, his behavior is excellent. In fact he seems more "typical" than usual.

Turns out my observation isn't in a vacuum. A few years ago a number of stories came out proclaiming that fevers seemed to actually benefit kids with Autism. I discovered this when I did a Google search last year when Ben had a freak fever and no other symptoms. There were a few articles that gave some sort of scientific explanation as to why a fever of 100.4 or higher seemed to effect the brain in such a way that magic things happened and kid with Autism were less sensory sensitive, made eye contact and other neurotypical behaviors. There were also a few other less-scientific articles that discussed this in terms I understood: fevers + autism= almost typical child. Or at least less "autistic-y."

And while I don't yearn for him to have fevers because I am a mother and want him out of my hair occasionally and they tend to frown on sending feverish kids to school, the Old Man and I have noticed some changes when Ben is sick. Now, the "calmer, more prone to snuggling" behavior aside (turns out being sick can bring that on) he has been giving dad more eye contact (he already gives me a lot), his sentences have been more experimental (using new words and phrases) and clearer (at least there is less jargon) and there has been very little scripting or stimming--not that I don't love hearing the whole dialogue from Finding Nemo when his father is chasing after the boat. Repeatedly.

Of course that doesn't change the fact that he was sporting a 102* fever for more than a few days, which frankly never sits well within my comfort zone.

I suppose it makes sense though--all science/mitochondrial/frontal lobe of the brain data aside. I mean, my own behavior is almost the opposite when I am sick. My sentences are incoherent (and that's before the cold medicine), I don’t' want to be touched or soothed, my vocabulary suffers, and I insist on watching the same movies I've seen before.

Does that mean having a fever makes me more autistic? or is it that fevers just bring on opposite behaviors?

The Old Man has also had a fever, but he seems the same…laying about, playing video games and farting. So maybe my theory doesn't really hold.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my next dose of pitiful moaning and bad movie-watching.