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The Wisdom of my Little One
His name is Johnathan. My son and moral compass. He was born on October 28, 1996.A quiet fellow with the wisdom of an old man. Being the youngest of three and the only boy, he became our little ray of sunshine.
When he was 3 years old, his preschool teacher told me that there was something odd with my son. " He does not interact with others, he is too quiet, too organized" -What!? - "We suspect that Jonathan might have autism."
The day my heart broke into pieces
"He is not Normal Anan". As I heard these two women talk, I was having an out of body experience. How dare they say that! Since when a child that is completely independent, quiet and incredibly smart is abnormal?
As a mother those are the wretched words that tear at your heart. I looked at him and wonder if I was missing something, maybe I was too close to see. I took him home and sat him on my knees asking him if something was wrong. If he was feeling ok, and why he did not play with the other kids. His answer shocked the hell out me. - " They are not like me, they are just kids."
"Why don't you participate in class then. Mrs. M.... Would love for you to participate."- " I have nothing to say. I already know all of that, so why say it again."
The house of cards
Ok then. You got to remember this is a 3 year old baby! By the time he was six, he already was in first grade having the same feedback from the teachers. He is too quiet. We had a meeting with all the teachers and the principal of the school regarding his odd behavior.
When she asked him directly to the why he refused to participate in class and "play" with the others, he looked at me and then at her and just sat there. I knew that my son was different, but I also knew that he could speak and understand. How was I supposed to prove it to these people?
Of course he was placed in special Ed. And also therapy. One day I was called to the principal's office (I worked in the same school that he attended as a teachers aide). She escorted me to my son's classroom, to my surprise there was no one there but the teacher and my son.
This is something very similar to what I encountered. He got all the card decks in the classroom and made something very similar to what it is presented in the video. I was a little surprised and of course I knew that this was far from over.
Later on I decided to get to the bottom of this matter on my own. I got my hands in everything I could about Autism and other conditions. One day a friend of mine said to me, - "I think Jonathan has Asperger's" I had no idea what that was.
The first thing that came out of my mouth was, -"But he is a straight A student!". Needless to say, that he started to laugh at my stupid remark. Then he proceeded to explain.
In a nut shell this is what he said...
The new normal
Johnathan has an amazing way to see life. Believe it or not, when we have a problem, he always has a solution. He still does not say much, but when he does, is like a 60 year old college professor speaking.
He loves music and history. And most importantly, he never complains about his lot in life. Even if that means to explain his condition to those that don't understand. Also, he has an incredible sense of humor.
I remember when the show " The Big Bang Theory" came out. Everyone that knows him started calling him Sheldon!
Yeap. This is indeed my Johnathan
Like I said he has an incredible sense of humor. Many people would find it offensive, but in his case, he embraces the similarities between the character and him. Actually, it has helped him explain to others why he does what he does. We love him so much. And I have not met anyone that doesn't.
As a matter of fact, he is the smartest person we Know. As a 15 year old, and a sophomore in high school , social interaction becomes key to a teenager's development. Even though kids with Aspergers can be socially awkward, he has found a middle ground to connect with other kids.
I remember when my oldest daughter advised him on how to make friends, it cracked me up. -" Just act stupid, don't use big words and when in doubt just nod and look annoyed."
We are very proud of Johnathan. He is always trying to help others and challenging himself to be a better person. Over the years, he has really come out of his shell. By speaking out, and volunteering at school and our community, he has inspired many to give back.
He practices what he preaches, and is looking forward to attend college and study Political Science. I hope that his story inspires other teens with Asperger's. So they can see that it is ok to be different and to embrace the uniqueness of being special.
My son told me this while watching a tv special on bullying...
" I will never understand why people do what they do and say what they say in order to hurt others. But I do know what it feels to be hurt by someone that don't love himself enough to see me as an equal. That's why I have to teach them how to see the light that everyone has inside." -Jonathan age 12.