Tuesday, November 11, 2008

get the word out.

as many of you know, sean has asperger's. he also has ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and OCD tendencies (obsessive compulsive disorder). the OCD isn't full blown because he isn't completely compulsive about things, but it can manifest itself at any time (when he's nervous, he'll pick his lip or his fingers, or anything else to bleeding).

here's what i propose. the biggest problem sean is having at school at this point is a lack of understanding. students, staff, and even a few teachers (i won't go into which ones, but i have my ideas) think he can control all of his behaviors, and just needs a good kick in the pants. what they fail to realize is that the last word in all those alphabet soup diagnoses is DISORDER. not working right. i don't wanna say that sean is disordered, but what he is is different.

i propose that we get the word out. if more people knew what asperger's was, and how it works, there might be more understanding. sean is a brilliant young man. he blows everybody out of the water in his biology class. there is actual discussion of putting him in honors chemistry next year, not because his grade in biology supports it, but because of what he says in that class. i'm sure i've said this before, but he has a college level chemistry book that he asked for a few years back. HE UNDERSTANDS IT. he understood it when i bought it. he and mark will go through it, and try and figure out what would happen if you combined this element with this element. also, his IEP teacher thinks that if he's in an AP class, the kids there have a different level of maturity, and be more tolerant of how he is (which is what he's getting in his biology class. the teacher is fantastic, and i've been told there's a group of kids in there who help sean as much as they can (not with homework lol, but other ways) and missed him while he was out of school).

most of all, if more people accepted sean for what he is, different (and not really all THAT different), he might be more accepting of himself. i know there is a small part inside that says "what the hell am i doing." he's told me. he knows when he's done wrong, but just can't stop sometimes. i just wish the life lessons in socialization were a little more gentle (unlike the young man who punched sean after sean kicked him for getting in his face because "you're weird.")

i have a new motto in life.

Normal is the setting on a dishwasher, not a description of people.


Yvonne said...

Well said - some of the most challenging and rewarding young people I have worked with have Aspergers and some of the other alphabet disorders.

Celebrate his successes

Ann-Marie said...

Amen sister!
I have a friend who has Asperger's and a friend whose son has it as well.

I think there is a lack of awareness on what it is, and what it isn't.
Your son sounds amazing.

Here is a link to my friend who recently swam across Lake Ontario to raise money and awareness for Aspergers:

He now has a PhD in Ocean Sciences and works at a University.

Kathy said...

People can be so mean. My nephew (18 & a senior in high school) has Asperbers and it's been a long ongoing battle for him and his parents. but I remember talking to my girls at a certain point because I didn't want them to be mean or rude to him, but at some point they would realize that he is different in some ways. My older girl just said, that's Jake, and the younger doesn't really see a difference at all. But it is difficult for my sister because her expectations for her son are different than mine are. While my nephew is smart in some areas, we are trying to aim towards self-sufficiency and a way for him to be happy and to find something (other than sitting in his room playing video games) that he can find a passion for.

Kids (and adults) can be so mean and it's hard to protect them from it all. He gets mean comments on his MySpace page and on AIM and he complains that no one gives them their real online names. We live 4 hours away from him, and I've asked my girls to include him in their online talking to help make him feel part of a group and some of the conversations are pretty funny.

Your son sounds wonderful and talented. It is such a huge struggle getting them to adulthood and happiness in any situation, and yours doubly so. Good luck

Anonymous said...

Very well said! *clap clap clap* My son is about to add more to his alphabet soup this month. It's a challenge but the more we talk about it out in the open, the less it will be a stigma for these kids.

Hugs to our Aspies!

PS, we've started talking to our son (just turned 9) about how his brain thinks differently. I'm tired of whispering quietly to teachers and others. I'm very thankful our district is VERY helpful for our kiddos.

Maryellen said...

I have a biology degree but worked in Chemsity for a long time and I'm married to a chemsit. As a whole I would never classify anyone with a science degree as "normal" Perhaps the upper level science classes are his thing what about math and physics too. He may find his niche and learn to find the cure for cancer. Oh my sister was a nuse in a big New york Hospital. the researcers with all the derees not normal either.

Vironbob said...

I have a 5 year old that is in process of being diagnosed for aspergers. I'm terrified for him.

My heart goes out to you and your family.

Mrs. H (aka MrsAych) said...

He sounds like a terrific kid and so much of what you and he are dealing with sounds familiar to me. My daughter has Asperger's and school was (to understate) a challenge. She's almost 22 now and people are more accepting of her eccentricities now that she's an adult. You are a fantastic mom. Keep fighting for him and it will all turn out in the end. :)