We had always had trouble with Nolan sleeping. He also seemed quite a bit more sensitive to smells and loud noises than his older brothers had been. He was in 1st grade, and since his mother was a teacher at the school she was able to observe his behaviors. She would observe during recess, Nolan playing by himself, and not making any friends. The school psychologist observed him for a couple of days and unofficially diagnosed Asperger Syndrome. After the initial shock, a little crying, a bunch of reading and internet research we found it wasn't the end of the world to have a son on the autism spectrum. Over the last 7 years we have realized that Nolan is normal kid that is a little quirky and a little annoying at times. Knowing every country flag, what country every NHL player comes from, or even every hockey stadium’s name isn't necessarily useless information, it’s just quirky.
Nolan is a blue/white belt in Te Kwon Do, and he wanted to be photographed wearing his TKD gear. This endeavor has really helped Nolan socially and confidence wise. Unfortunately, they spar in TKD and since he doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body he usually "gets pulverized" as Nolan says.
His mother and I realize life for Nolan will probably be more challenging, but he will be OK because he gives every new challenge all the effort he has. Nolan is the most kind, gentle, thoughtful kid I've ever known. I don't believe he has ever had a bad thought about anybody, and wonders why people do bad things to each other. His classmates think Nolan is just shy, but a little eccentric because of the weird stuff he knows. My hope is as they all enter high school next year, some of them will try to get to really know Nolan and get to see what a good friend he could be if given the chance. I wouldn't change a thing about Nolan, he's a happy kid, a great student, he brightens my day and sometimes it’s nice to know what country a certain NHL player comes from.
Brian, father of Nolan