Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life... it has a habit of just happening, doesn't it?? Our Journey..

So my job is one of the coolest. I get to stay at home with my kids, enjoy being a mom, witness all of their "firsts", and blog about products or companies I like, love, or recently tried and think is pretty cool.

For my loyal readers that have been around with me for awhile, you may know that I have a son who... well, is quite a different boy. We've had problems with him at school, and switched him several times trying to find the right placement for him. I've never felt that he was being academically challenged, and he wasn't getting along well with his peers.

As a mom, you always know when something's "off" about your child. It might be something like the way he says certain words, or the way he learned how to take apart the VCR by the time he was three, or the way that he doesn't look you in the eye when you're talking to him. We've always known that Alex was "different". In kindergarten he was tested, and they found him to be 'gifted'. I delved into the world of giftedness, trying to understand the positives and the negatives of having a gifted child.. how their minds work, the way they think out situations I'd never dream up in a million years. It's been quite the journey, and the learning experience.

For the most part I've learned that society sees gifted children as "smart". They don't realize there's a whole list of underlining difficulties with writing, and learning styles, the speed of absorbtion during learning and thinking outside the box. Our state sees giftedness as a qualifying ESE program, but it has limited support, and the children often don't get truly needed services or programs. Most just get extra work and are encouraged to fit in the box.. survive with the monotany of the "normal" school setting, and parents are left trying to find more ways to enrich their child's growing mind. I still believe that this is a situation that needs to be changed at a state, and perhaps even a national level.

I've personally been fighting with the school because I've always felt that there was some sort of a processing delay happening in Alex's head. His mind moves 150 miles per hour, but his mouth and his hand (when writing) doesn't. In fact, it's difficult sometimes, (unless he's 100% versed on the topic of interest), in having the patience to sit and listen to his opinion on the topic. Sometimes, it's REALLY difficult.

The school kept telling me that it's "one of his gifted quirks", and that he may grow out of it. This year, he started having behavior issues- which he had never had, to this magnitude, EVER- and we were even seeing it carry on at home. It worried me.. I requested in writing, (from the advice of a friend who was sick of me verbally requesting it), a psychoeducational assessment. It was finally granted.

Twelve very long weeks later, we've got a diagnosis.. or at least a highly probable diagnosis. My son has Asperger's Syndrome.

As a mom, you never want to hear that your child has anything- even if it's a fever or a bad grade on their test, never mind a possible life changing "Syndrome". While I understand- please do not get me wrong- that if anything, this 'diagnosis' will help him in ways I've been craving the school to help him for three years, it's still very hard to digest.

So I do what every computer-literate person does.. I googled it. What is AS? How does it affect my child? (It's wild to see the progression through the years, reflect on the early signs and symptoms that I missed, or misinterpreted.) How did I miss it? Then I begin to question my parenting.. Every choice I made. Suddenly, I feel like the worst mother ever, when I know I haven't been anywhere close to it- ever. Everything became clear to me, like a rebirth, seeing why there was a conflict here, or why he had an interest in this, or why he doesn't seem to "get" some things that instinctively my daughter, and his peers possess. He doesn't have the skill. He needs to be taught it, and carefully molded, so he has a better understanding of all of the "WHY'S" he's been asking since he could talk.

I'm excited about what this diagnosis means for him. I'm excited and optimistic that next year, in third grade, he may actually be given the opportunity to be amazing for the first time in his life, in a school setting. I'm hopeful for school personnel that will understand him, and work with him through his defecits, his weaknesses, and his strengths.  I'm eager to see the way he interacts with peers that are "like" him, instead of completely surrounded by neurotypical peers that just don't get him. I truly hope that no other parent ever has to go through the very rocky, extremely bumpy journey we had to endure so far, but I know that this new section of our journey is going to be a new learning experience for all of us.

We've turned a corner, and are excited about what the world has in store for us.


Debbie Stanton June 11, 2011  

What an amazing journey... it was very touching.. my nephew was evaluated at 3rd grade also - but was borderline for AS so not diagnosed. It did help to understand how his mind works differently, etc. wishing you the best in your journey...

nike air max, September 23, 2011  

thank you


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