Giving up is not an option
Facing challenges as a parent of an Asperger child.
"We just want him to enjoy his experience here as a student" is what we were hearing. Of course when confronted later on, it was miscommunication. Maybe it was. What we heard as parents was: give up, he can't succeed, so let us make life easy for him. We can't. Life is not easy. It will NEVER be easy, not for us, not for our other children, not for anyone and certainly not for someone learning to navigate the world with Aspergers Syndrome as his partner through it all. We were assured that it was not an academic issue. Amazing, that after all these years educators still think that we are unintelligent people. That we have not taken the time to educate ourselves about the disorder that our child and our family is living with. We are QUITE aware folks that Aspergers Syndrome is NOT affecting our child negatively as far as academics. If we were uncertain of that fact, we simply have to take note of his report cards, state exam and regents scores over the past 11 years and that will clear things up for us. Excuse me, I am fluent in sarcasm, so it will brim over in this hub, bear with with me.
Our son is succeeding in school with a 97 average. He has difficulty in school because he, like many other teen boys, does not WANT to do his homework, nor does he want to put any extra effort into his classwork. Wow, it MUST be his Asperger Syndrome!! I have never heard of a FOURTEEN year old boy not rushing home to do his english essays instead of trying to play Wii or Nintendo DS. Clearly there is something seriously wrong with my son. 97 is just not a good enough average. He should go to a different program where he will not have to do so much work and have alot more fun.
There's another point. He indeed does have a diagnosis of Asperger Sydrome. If these people with Masters Degrees would take a breath and read a few books or go to the internet and google Asperger Sydrome, they would note that Aspies typically do not care about socializing with their peers. My son wanting to go home and play video games or surf the internet rather than join in a loud group activity is quite normal for someone with his diagnosis. In fact anyone who knows anything about Autistic Spectrum Disorders at all will KNOW that loud noises, alot of talking and other distractions are cause for meltdowns which are a huge "no-no" at school so why in the world would they look to start that?
What exactly are they saying here? I will clarify since we have been dealing with this since the very first hand flap and non eye contact my son showed the world. They are scared and ignorant. The world generally is. The autism word is frighting to most people. I know, I was terrifying for me to hear, say and admit that my son was a part of that world. It has had a negative connotation for SO long that it simply cannot shake it. It is all about them not understanding.
My son is in an honors program and rightfully so. He is brilliant. He has the capability to read a book and memorize it with comprehension mind you. He can tell you times, dates, places and events that occurred all throughout world history if you ask him. He knows EVERYTHING there is to know about the US Presidents, and I mean everything. Their wives, or lack of, their Vice Presidents, where they are buried, anything. He knows all sorts of trivia about baseball, basketball and football players. It is truly amazing. Once he walked into an honors math classroom. The teacher had four boards worth of an extensive math problem written. It was to take the entire class time to work on. He looked around and promptly told her the answer. She was quite furious rather than being amazed. This is the ignorance of it all. He is a PROBLEM to them. He always has been. He does not fit in the neat little mold that the education world has set up for our kids. But really, who does? Also, who would truly want to? That would take away all the creativity and individuality from our world.
The bottom line is that it is too much work to know him, to understand him. This is can attest to. I am totally exhausted. Physically, emotionally, mentally. Understanding him is VERY hard work. Having patience for him is even harder work. He may have a diagnosis, but he does not fit in a neat little box. He is extremely unique. If you figure out a part of him, he will switch course on you and adjust so that he can have that safety zone of mystery around him. A place the neurotypical world cannot pierce because they do not have the ability to understand.
I admit freely, I am one of the many neurotypical who make several mistakes a week handling him. I am not fluent in Asperger, though fluent in sarcasm. I should be, but I am not. I don't get where he is coming from, I have to sit back and think about it. I have to try to read him when he is almost incapable of reading me due to his neurological differences. It is a daily struggle. It is draining. Trust me, you want to give up. You want to run away. You want to just say "forget it!" and go like every other parent and watch the other two kids play sports with nothing on your mind. But it can't happen. It won't happen. He is here, he is part of our lives. Mine, my husband's, my other son's, my daughter's, our parent's and all who he touches. We are his advocates. We MUST help him assimiliate to this world that he has the capability of living in. The ability to shine in because he is so intelligent. He CAN make a difference. Every person who doesn't understand that needs to learn about Temple Grandin. If you do not know who she is, Google that name as soon as you stop reading my hub. Watch the HBO movie about her. Awareness. That is the answer. Giving up is NEVER the option. Making it easier for him would only tell him that he is not worth fighting for. He has the ability, why would you subject him to sitting in a corner playing video games or staring out the window? Why take a child with a 97 average and remove him from honors classes because he is not having fun? Huh? I am confused. But I will never throw in the towel. We are a force to be reckoned with and every educator who has ever met my child is quite aware of this after they get to know us. It is simply not an option to give up.