You and Me Against the World - Raising a Child With Asperger's

A Mother's Love

My son has Asperger's and I can't imagine him any other way.
D, my son, recently told me about a surprisingly philosophical and religious conversation he had with his best friend. The two twelve-year-old boys had a discussion about reincarnation. They decided that you can keep getting reincarnated and end up with the same family over and over again, but sometimes they will be your Dad instead of your Mom, or your cat instead of your dog, but nobody has any memory of the life they had before. I was quite impressed as this is my understanding of reincarnation as well, although we've never had it come up in our own conversations before. Then after some consideration, my son added that when you get to heaven you can choose whether you want to stay there or go back to Earth. With those big brown eyes, he looked over at me in the driver seat and asked, "Mom, when you go to heaven, can you wait there for me instead of going back as someone different?" My heart swelled and my eyes welled as I made my promise to wait there for him with open arms someday. And I will.

Good vs. Evil
We are not a church going family, although we've been known to drop in once every blue moon. We are, however, a believing family. The balance of good and evil is something my son clings to as an Aspergian boy. He seems to have almost too good of a grasp on what's right and what's wrong - he's a real stickler for the rules. It's great, but a little embarrassing when he catches me doing something I shouldn't be doing. This also causes problems at school when the boys his age always seem to be doing something that isn't exactly above par - I had to teach him that some things you just need to let go and not tell teachers about, otherwise you'll quickly run out of friends and allies at school.

The good news is that he's not going to be falling for peer pressure anytime soon. It's not that he doesn't mind taking the high road, it's that something in his brain just doesn't allow him to stray from his very rigid understanding of right and wrong. It's a blessing and a curse I guess.

I think he'd make a good cop someday, but as a mother, I wouldn't want him to have such a dangerous job. Truly, it's up to him, but I know he has a bright future. Morals are a rare thing in people these days and I think that he will stand out as an honest and reliable person when he enters the work force. Although, sometimes too honest.

Daddy Dearest

For years I've been trying to explain to my ex what my son needs from him. He's even had notes come home from teachers asking him to help boost our son's self-esteem. The biggest complaint year after year is that when he's with his Dad, he is ignored. Sure, he's fed and told when to go to bed, but otherwise pretty much ignored.

You may be thinking, well kids exaggerate, but I've lived with this man and I too was completely ignored for four long, nearly silent years. I have no doubt in my mind that L, my ex, should be diagnosed with OCD, and Social Anxiety Disorder, and possibly even Asperger's. Despite that, it's hard not to think of him as an jerk given the fact that he chooses to ignore the ones who love him most, and this includes his parents when they visit as well. But, I know under that almost impenetrable surface is a really really good man with a lot of issues that were never addressed, medicated, or even acknowledge and it really isn't his fault that he is the way he is. It makes me fight for my son even more, to ensure I'm providing him with the interventions required so he can have the soft skills his father is lacking and.

My son, who I love and adore, has Asperger's which causes him to have social anxiety along with some quirky behaviours, just like his father. Daddy is afraid of germs, son is afraid of buttons (see post: Afraid of Buttons? ). Daddy is something of a robotic personality, son still just loves to be tickled (he's almost a teen).

They are both kinda different in their own way, but when ones differences negatively affects the other, what am I supposed to do? My son needs a lot of affection, reassurance, attention, and interaction from me because he misses out on a lot of that from his Dad.

Here's a recent email to his Dad from me:

He needs face time – NOT screen time. He needs to know he can talk to you about school problems, kid problems, puberty, everything! He needs you to make the time to hang out, he will not decide that he should get off the computer/game to have human time – that’s your job – limit the screen time. Make rules about screen time and stick to them. (I know we’ve talked about this before) Read together, TV and movies are a good way to spend time together and discuss. Get outside, walk to the store or Tim Horton's for a hot chocolate, go for a drive, visit your mom or brother...anything! You need to fill up his weekends with sustenance. He’s old enough now to decided not to go to your place at all. What do you think he would do if given that option?

I know that last part was harsh, but when I have to spend every second week building him back up, it's an option that I'm seriously considering. I know he's not being abused in the normal sense, but I consider emotional neglect a form of abuse in this case when it's affecting my son the way it does. I've had to agree to stand beside L at my son's basketball games to coach him on the appropriate things to yell out (positive, rather then negative remarks). Bless his heart, the guy is trying, but without me there to intervene, remind, and encourage, it just goes back to the way it was. Frustrating? Yes, very. My son is beginning to suggest they go on walks when they are together, which is fantasic - I always praise them both when I hear about this.

Step-Father Follies
Because my Fiance has two active and very social children of his own, he is a busy guy. And when his kids aren't with us, he's not in 'Dad Mode'. And because my son annoys him at times just as much as his girls annoy me, we end up with another man ignoring my son. So we are two for two in the male role model department. The nice thing though, is that we do get out together as a family so my son does benefit from the family bonding, which is becoming less and less now that the kids are getting older and have their own agendas which don't include hanging out with us parent types. Since my son does all his socializing online (gaming), he's home with me most of the time, while V, my fiance, is out taxiing his girls around.

So Now What?
I have my son in ongoing social skills classes, he has an ABA worker, among other programs and activites we are engaged in through various organizations and school.
We are navigating the Aspergian waters pretty well now, I would say. He takes supplements (see article:Suppliments for Asperger's Syndrom - Guess What? They Work!) and they are truly making life better for us. I attend parent support groups and am becoming more active in the mental health community. We carry on. We just keep going. That is the most important thing that I hope my son learns from me, is to just keep going.

"Problem Solve" is a term we often use. When there is an issue big or small, we problem solve to find the solution - it's a valuable tool that is becoming more and more ingrained in his defeatist personality. My son is quick to become upset when things don't go as planned and so providing him with coping tools is important.

Do you have any questions about Aspergers? Do you have a story to share? Please leave a comment!

Good luck out there,

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment