Monday, March 29, 2010

Learn About Yourself

Jared is preparing a presentation on Autism - his Autism.  He's going to present it to his class this Thursday.  World Autism Awareness Day is the following day.

We have been looking up information about Autism on the good ole Internet.  We've been reading about symptoms and characteristics that kids on the spectrum may have.  He's been amazed.  He won't retain it all right now, but he gets what he does retain.  He recognizes himself in some of the descriptions and feels fortunate not to see himself in others.

I've seen a sense of empowerment welling in him as we talk.  I see confidence to share his struggles.  I see understanding.  I see a sense of hope.

My hope is that the classmates who know his struggles and support him feel a renewed desire to stay the course.  I hope the fence sitters have a better understanding and perhaps one or two of them will want to become supporters.  I hope the ones who don't care and will continue to be mean will be held to a higher level of accountability.

My biggest hope is that Jared will find pride in who he is and not be ashamed of his challenges.

As we talked last night we talked about how some kids have to live with their parents forever because they are unable to take care of themselves.  He said, "Well I can't live at home forever.  How can I go to school and find a girlfriend and get married if I stay with you?"

Jared, honey, I want that for you so much.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Awareness

"Mom, are some of my challenges because of that Autism thing that I have?"

This is a question I have been getting from him on a regular basis lately.

While I knew that I would be dealing with these things at some point, I am surprised that it started already. Just a few months ago he seemed not too concerned if not almost oblivious to the whole thing unless things were not going well.

I took advantage of the moment and sent Jared off to talk with our therapist at mental health. We really didn't think that Jared would be asking so soon and thought we would have a few more years. The reason behind that thought was Jared's tendency to let things go and not always pay attention. But one thing about Jared - he never ceases to amaze us.

Jared's therapist and I didn't know how much he gleaned from their session together. With his ASD and ADHD combined it's hard to tell what he absorbs. He did get something though.

In church on Sunday, his teachers were talking about our bodies and how they are not perfect. Some are born with limbs that don't work right, or brains that don't work the same as others. At that point Jared piped up and said like my brain and my Autism.

Well, there you go, folks.

On a side note, I weighed Jared the other day and was amazed and delighted to see that he gained about 20 lbs over his 5th grade year so far. He's been chubbing out, which is a sign with our boys that a growth spurt is not far off. With the ADHD meds he takes I worry about his weight and growth pace and puberty timeline. At the moment it's looking pretty on schedule. I hope I am right and the signs indicate I am.

And with those advances comes the hormones and I think I need to find a good book and/or seminar to help me learn about ASD and the adolescent.

I can also comfortably answer Jared when he asks if his challenges are due to Autsim, "Some of it. A lot of it is just because you are a regular growing boy."