Thursday, March 31, 2011

...temper tantrums, social skills, funny little compulsions and the like...

...Little Man was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was three.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around it.  My main goal was to get him whatever services he needed to make him "normal".  Mike was almost in denial of the whole thing.  He thought we were blowing things way out of proportion and all he needed was a little more discipline. 

Yes, I am the mother in Target who you were looking at when her child was "misbehaving"...when it was really more like he was reacting to the sound of the vacuum cleaner that the associate was running in the Misses section.  Yes, I am the mother who you saw on the corner of the parking lot, waiting patiently and hoping not to be late to the doctor's appointment because her child was stepping on and off the curb 50-some-odd times because he "wanted to get it right".   Yes, I am the mother who you are in line in back of at McDonalds, hoping you are being understanding about the delay in getting to order because her child is counting and counting, trying to make the right decision of whether to have chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger for dinner.  I am even the woman at Walt Disney World who you rolled your eyes at while waiting in line to see Buzz and Woody, because her son had to stop and make sure that Woody was going to sign his autograph book on the "right" page, because he dropped his book and lost that page.  There are all sorts of little "tics" that Little Man has that I have grown accustomed to, or have simply gotten used to over the years.  I give you a small smile, hoping that you are understanding, but knowing that you, like my husband USED to think, probably think that my child just needs some more discipline.  Asperger's is an "invisible condition".  To see my son, he looks like every other average six year old...but I know that he has a definite different way of doing things.  And that is okay.

Little Man has had Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy since he was about two and a half, when we realized that something was just "not right".  He was able to start preschool at our school district at the age of three.  He has absolutely flourished.  He is now in kindergarten, still working on Speech and OT, but also has a class for "social skills" and has the resources to use if he is feeling overwhelmed or has a meltdown.  He has a great team working for him.  I am glad that I was so vigilant about getting him the services that he needed, and I am glad that Mike turned around.  I just explained to Mike that we would rather have him take full advantage of all of these services that DH thought he "didn't need" than to let him fall through the cracks.  I was determined not to let my son become a "Lost Boy".

This is not to say that we still don't have our struggles.  Just today, at swim lessons, Little Man threw a kickboard and had a temper tantrum.  The swim instructor, who is very good, but very young told me that he had to "work on his tantrums". Part of me wanted to stand up and shout "you don't son is on the Autism Spectrum...he can't alway help how he acts...please be understanding!!!".  I didn't.  I told her that it is somethig that we are always working on, and we would continue to work on.  I told her that he really loves coming to swim lessons, and asked her what he did well in today's lesson.  I did my best to make a "bad" situation good.   Little Man and I came home and discussed that it is never acceptable to throw a kickboard, that it is simply not safe.  We also talked about listening to our swim instructor and trying our hardest.  I learned that Little Man was frustrated because he is the youngest of the three boys in his class, and he is not always finishing first, or even finishing at all.  He sometimes has to start a lap over because his feet touched the bottom of the pool.  Wow.  I explained to him that he is still learning, and the older boys have had more experience.  I feel better being able to talk things out with him.

I know that there is no such thing as "normal" really.  Everyone has their own way of thinking and doing things.    Asperger's is not something that Little Man will outgrow.  It is something that he will learn to cope with.  I am STILL trying to learn as much as I can.  It is a new experience every day.

As far as MY own struggles go...I am still coping.  No nap yesterday (yeah me!!!) and managed to get a few things done around the house.  Unloaded/loaded/ran the dishwasher.  Did a load of laundry and folded about half of the eight baskets of clean laundry.  Does not sound like much, but to me it was the world.  I also worked four extra hours at school last night, working at the before/after school program registration.  Not that it should be an excuse for not getting more done, but that was a chunk of my evening.

Now to get off this computer and get a few more things done today.  Thanks for listening, because I am sure I did not make much sense in this ramble!!!

Love to All.

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