Labels are coming off

I had a conversation today that was a confirmation of what I have been thinking lately. We are going from a family of children with “challenges” or special needs to a family of quirky kids (and adults). A friend of mine told me that she doesn’t see what I am talking about when I mention the issues we face and I told her that I have been thinking the same things lately. Things are changing.

We have always known our kids are all very different from each other. Some of them have taken longer than the average child to catch onto some things. Others have done those same things sooner than the average. We first sought “labels” to get support for the issues we saw. I didn’t want to live by the labels but it definitely helped me understand some of the needs our kids had.

In the last year, I have seen J-man mature and grow as a person. I have always seen his potential and I believe he is now coming into that. He is a unique and wonderful personality. His emotions, though they run deep and sometimes wild, have become more mellow and mature. He is letting go of me as his safety net and is now standing on his own feet, so to speak. Like a young bird learning how to fly he has made the choice to leave the nest in a few circumstances and the change I see is spectacular!

Honey Bear (our youngest) struggled with hearing and sight for the first few years of life. While this may have slowed her down a few steps, she is rapidly gaining ground. Her sense of humor is by far the best quirk about her. Someone said today that she’s always smiling. It was so great to hear something that I hadn’t really noticed. I know she has a great sense of humor about her but the smiling I didn’t notice. Maybe I am used to it.

Although Ninja has always had quick reflexes and a strong body, he’s struggled with sensory issues. He continues to struggle with some of those sensory overloads but has sought athletic excellence as the summer months roll along. That kid can make baskets that would make a basketball player weep. He can hardly wait to do slam dunks, although he may lack the height in the end…but you never know!

Belle was obviously a bright mind from the start. I used to think she was bored as a newborn and I was probably right. I would wonder if in her head she was thinking “I can hardly wait to read or walk or do something!” She and I are both strong willed so we would clash, but recently we’ve created a bond that is amazing for me. I didn’t think it would ever happen. We’ll see what the teenaged years bring.

It is exciting to see kids overcome adversity as they grow and mature. Life always seems to throw curve balls but I am thankful I have the family that God has given me to go through life with.

Coming down from Summer Camp high

I forgot how much that kid can talk!  He was only gone five days but I guess it was five days that found my other children able to actually get a word in edgewise. I knew something was different.

Despite J-man having a few issues that I thought may make summer camp a difficult experience, he had an absolutely fabulous time! He can’t stop talking about it, telling me the same stories over and over with a few new ones tossed in every now and then.

Apparently, what made it fun was that his whole cabin loved talking about farts. I mean, what 10-11 year-old boy doesn’t? I think farts are funny and I’m a forty-something woman. I come by it honestly. My whole family thinks bathroom humor is hilarious. The irony is that now that I’m a parent of a fart-loving boy, I have to pull the plug on potty humor when it gets out of hand, which is pretty much always. It may seem to my boy that I am a farty pooper, but it simply isn’t true.

When I dropped him off at camp, I “warned” the cabin leader that J-man could get carried away with potty humor so he could tell him to cut the crap if needed. The adult-looking camp counsellor was all “Oh, I will…I’m not afraid to tell the boys like it is.” What he didn’t know is that J-man is an inherent truth-teller that tells everything. This character trait has bit me in the hind end  a few times. The cabin leader was totally in on the action.

Pillow fights and fart talk. That’s what Bible camp is all about, right?

I asked if he learned anything about God. He said he did, although the cabin leader did have to call in the Head Director Guy at one point to tell the boys to knock it (potty mouth) off during Bible time. Probably didn’t help that the Director Guy was totally down with some of the humor and instigated a time or two. It’s hard to play both sides of the humor mill. Trust me. I’ve tried. The Director Guy was just shooting himself in the foot by being “cool”.

Why was I so worried again? Oh yeah. I thought J-man would miss me. Riiii-ight.

Turns out he was crying tonight because he couldn’t go back to camp right away. He missed the guys so much. He’s already asked me 5 times if he can go back next summer.

Moment of dread

Yesterday I was having an intense conversation with a good friend when the call waiting (generally a nuisance feature) indicated the camp was calling. The camp where I sent my son this week. My heart did a triple take and I told my friend I needed to go b/c it was the camp. Immediately, she understood and hung up. I could not figure out how to hang up and pick up quickly enough as my fingers trembled a bit.

“Hello? Is this Judy?” Said the voice.

Inside my head I am wondering how bad is it that they are trying to contact my Mother-in-Law? She was one of the emergency contacts on the form.

“No this is Marcy, Josh’s mom.” I replied, keeping my cool.

“I was told to return your call.” Said the voice again.

“My call? You mean the call from last week?” I breathed. She was not calling that my child was maimed in any way.

“I was just given a message to call you.” She said.

“Well, I think it was about the registration and that we wanted to know if he was accepted or not. I think we worked it out last night. He’s there.” I was so relieved and a little annoyed at how after-the-fact it was for her to be calling. Truth be told, I was a little put off that it wasn’t an emergency and my heart had raced for nothing. Well, except that my child was apparently unscathed thus far.

“I thought you were calling because J-man was hurt.” I said.

“Oh no!  He’s just fine and doing really well!”

Ok then. I guess I could have just kept talking with my friend about a really important life event.

**So happy she called just to accidentally tell me that my son is doing well at camp!**

Stepping into the next stage

Klein Lake, Near Panther River, West of Sundre
Klein Lake, Near Panther River, West of Sundre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life passes by much too quickly these days, and my wish to slow the pace, increases.

One family misses a child tonight and they won’t get to hold her again. My friend’s niece passed away from an accident and their family will never again see the beautiful smiles that radiated from her. They will have a hole in their lives and family unit that she had once filled.

My heart has been reminded of my own loss, as I remember my own brother’s passing from an accidental drowning and how that placed a space in our family…and empty place. Our family forever changed by a moment.

I miss a child tonight. It feels like there is a hole in our little brood tonight. The likelihood of his return is likely and yet the terror that tries to infiltrate my heart is hard to fend off as I have these thoughts of loss so very present in my heart.

I came home and there was evidence of him on every corner. His collection of holes under the trampoline indicate the love for his salamander, who is given fresh earth worms every morning. His dirty sheets are reminders that I really need to teach him some responsibility. His lonely sister is indicative of what kind of older brother he is.

I cried. I am not afraid to admit, a piece of fear that I may never hug him again always tugs at my heart when I have to let him go, bit by bit. From my experience of loss comes the temptation to fear when I have to let him try and do things on his own. Not because he has always wanted to, but because I knew in the end it was good for him.

When I let him go to preschool at 3 yrs. old for 3 days a week, friends thought I should probably have kept him home closer to me and not send him away too soon. That preschool was the beginning of a very good thing. They helped him immeasurably…and me as well. But I cried. For weeks, as I dropped him off in the mornings, I secretly cried. I wanted to take him home. Protect him from whatever was happening. Make him feel safe.

When he started Kindergarten in a new school, I cried. I knew he would be confused because it wasn’t the same place that he had gone to school and there were all so many new things. Good people surrounded him and made sure that even if there were moments that were scary, he was safe.

I have been the person he goes to for information on what the world is saying to him. I am his interpreter for many situations. I can guess what he’s thinking, and reassure him. I can tell him what certain events or social situations mean and calm him down. I can talk him down from the proverbial emotional ledge. I can remind him to do things that he forgets to do.

There were a few nail biting moments this week. Our J-man was SO looking forward to camp and we had not received a letter confirming his registration nor gotten a call. I left messages and emails hoping to know whether or not to send him. By today, we just decided to pack up and go for it. He was as ready as ready does. We went to the camp, and sure enough they had not registered him. He was on the waiting list. Since he was there…they found the ONE extra bed they had open in a boys cabin. Answer to prayer, OH MY!! Thanks be to Jesus, who knew my son’s heart was ready for this. I asked J-man what he would do if they couldn’t find a spot for him. “I’d DIE.” Well, that won’t happen because you got in!!!  Yay!  Scary moments though.

This week I will miss my boy so much. He is my buddy, my pal. My incessant source of conversation. But I know this is the right thing for us to do. He is growing up and this is such a big step in his development. He may not clean his glasses for a week. That’s ok. HE may not change his clothes for a week and maybe never shower or put deodorant on. He may make farting or meowing noises and I pray that kids don’t laugh at him.

I hope he finds community there. I pray he is accepted for who he is and loved and taken in. I pray that God will be there in his times of anxiety, of which there will be many moments, I’m sure. I pray that he will meet God there and that his heart will be taken by the wonder of the Creator. May he be encouraged and strengthened in his faith as he branches out in this bold step of development.

What others see as a regular thing in childhood (going to camp), I look at with wonder. Has he come this far already and is he ready for this? Be still, my mother heart.

We were sitting on the lawn of the camp and I asked him if he was ready for me to go. He said “Not yet.” meaning that he still needed me but sometime very soon he would not need me. Within minutes his counsellor called his name to play basketball…I was on my way.  We were both not totally ready but there was the moment.

“I love you, son.”

“I love you too, mom.”

And we both stepped into a new stage in our lives.

The big UGLY cry

Simple white toilet brush
Simple white toilet brush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does it look like when a mom of an Aspie and three strong-willed kids goes off the deep end.

U.G.L.Y.

I have generally thought of myself as someone who has built up a pretty solid repertoire of patience. When the kids get crazy, the Momma just laughs at their antics.

Until she doesn’t.

Then it gets ugly and fast. Then there is wailing, gnashing of teeth, threats of running away, and a reminder to go to the therapist ASAP! There may even be nasty, red-eyed, blotchy-faced-crying-under-the-covers casserole, as a tasty side dish, to the meltdown. How do they do it? Those stalwart moms who never break a sweat. You know, those therapeutic moms who have way more on their proverbial plate than I? Oh yeah, they get dreadlocks, tattoos, sing Kum-bye-ya and go for vacation in Florida in winter. Just kinda kidding.

So I lost it.

It was not an unexpected sort of place to get lost in. I had really sound reasons for losing my nut.

Then we hugged, kissed, said sorry all around and I went to bed. I cried some more, because I needed it. I slept a little, too, because I had lost a lot of sleep the night before.

Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves, which I have pretty much not done for YEARS. Moms take care of a lot of stuff and crap. Sometimes the stuff is thrown at me and sometimes the crap backs up the toilet.

I usually love ball season, but I had all four registered in some sort of ball before I could holler a what-for at myself. I enjoy getting out of the house, finally, after a lifetime of winter broke about end of April. Any excuse to sit in the sun and watch my little peeps play ball is a fun way for me to spend my time. That is, until I realize, with the hubby coaching our son’s soccer team, I would be driver extraordinaire for the other three. That became complicated on away games as Momma just can’t be in 2 places at once. Tried it. Failed.

As ball season commenced so the appointments to Dr’s, therapists (OT, SLP x2, psychologists for both son and I, message for the mess I made of my back, chiropractor, psychiatrist for medical/mental related meds for son), birthday parties, field trips for 3 kids, church responsibilities….the list seemed to get a shot of steroids and intimidated me every time I looked at it. I honestly thought that if I didn’t have a nervous breakdown by the end of the month, I would have gained another victory.

My eyes may be swollen from the tears that passed through them, but the victory is that I waited until JULY to have a meltdown. As monumental and scary as it was. It told me to please take care of myself. Be diligent in self-care, with as many things that I am trying to juggle.

What started the mayhem may have begun the  night before…You know you are in trouble when the toilet brush looks like it was used instead of a plunger. Bad day ahead, mate! Do not even try cleaning the toilet brush. I tried. It was not pretty.

There must be some parents reading this that think that I must not be spiritual enough or must not be consistent enough with discipline or may think I am a bad mom because your kids have never told you that they hated you, thrown things in your direction, slammed the door for the bazillonth time, yelled at me “MOM YOU ARE GROUNDED AND I AM RUNNING AWAY!” before the age of six…well, you must have super compliant children. Hold them close and say a prayer for me. I have THREE strong-willed children that give me no end to scary stories (birth control to the masses, just read my future book) and an Aspie who loves to please me but is entering puberty so is pushing every boundary he previously did not think to push.

As I look back at the meltdown of epic proportions, I cut myself some slack. I have a fairly demanding job here. I am humbly and with internal and spiritual strength trying to grow my kids into adults that are loving, kind, generous, helpful, respectful human beings who shine the light of Christ to those around them.

Those low days will happen. I just hate it when it does.

We all need a little mental break here and there. I should be good for a while 🙂

Finding something that works

When we started Home Educating half-time in Gr.4, I received my first piles of curriculum. I had been warned that the stacks could be very large, and so I didn’t let it get to me. I put them away and just got a new book or two when we needed it. For the most part, there was some transition but our entry into the home schooling thing was fairly calm and steady. We noticed, right away, that J-man was calmer and happier. His anxiety levels evened out and (after a minor crisis in the typical month of November) we carried on with the given curriculum almost to a “T”.

There were moments where I thought the amount of work in the curriculum was excessive and the projects, ridiculous, but overall we accomplished much.

This year, we figured that we would do a blended program. Since the Social Studies aspect was heavy on the workload and the projects were massive we would go Parent Directed with it. Grade Five has been all about Canadian history and geography. I love that stuff so I thought I’d be good at getting that done at our own pace. With Science, we stuck with the Teacher Directed program. Although I pretty much loathe Electricity (sorry Dad) and don’t care much about how it works, we stumbled through it but made it anyways. We finished it all in APRIL!!  Woo hoo!

When we pulled J-man out of school completely in March, I knew that LA and Math were going to fall on my small shoulders and with dread I straightened them out to face it head on.

The curriculum for Grade 5 arrived. I wasn’t worried about the stacks, seeing as though the teacher (who directs our online program) was going to communicate with J-man’s former teacher as to where to start. I knew we could start about 2/3’s of the way through…and I was wrong.

The teacher, knowingly, suggested we start at the beginning and see what he had mastered. These are the two subjects he hates. These are the two subjects I am not comfortable teaching. You can imagine how it went when I took the 5 different texts/books out that I needed for each lesson. Not well. We cried and tried for a while, but decided that this just wasn’t working for us.

The problem was that we had assumed that Math and LA would be manageable but the way the curriculum was set up just did not do J-man and I any favors. It was complicated and confusing.

I am so thankful for a teacher (she works with a real classroom and with online/home-based students) who is willing to talk options. She was so encouraging and helpful. She told me that she thought it would be best if I went Parent Directed. I could pick how fast he went through, I could pick the curriculum that worked and I could go to her if I needed help. This was the relief I needed. She had basically summed up all I had thought and affirmed me in the direction we needed to go.

I have made do with work sheets that I’m finding online. I wanted to check what J-man had done this year and firm up the basics. He has struggled with his basic skills in both Math and LA.

I found a Math program, online, that I have ordered. I can’t wait to see it.

For LA, I am going to use the curriculum given to me by the School Board. I am just going to go at it from a different angle. Next year, I will be searching for something doable for us and that fits us better.

I am not a huge proponent either way for Home Education or Public Schooling. I think that each parent needs to do what is best for each child. For us, it means that I teach one child at home and send the other three to school (for now). I am so great with this, you have no idea!

Finding what works for your family is really the trick, though, isn’t it?

Special Abilities

super hero
super hero (Photo credit: demandaj)

Leaping out of tall buildings, shielding the pedestrian from an oncoming bus, elasto-arms that grab babies out of incoming trouble, x-ray vision. Those are some very awesome superpowers to have if we could have them.

As a mom, I believe I have some God-given gifts that allow me to predict when someone will have a meltdown, so I prevent it. I can see behind my head to the trouble  brewing behind (which is me peering to the window to see the reflected image of my daughter about to punch her brother in the face), I can produce a meal before I even hear the “I’m hungry”…also, I have the sudden appearance of fairy wings which allow me to become the Tooth Fairy and flit around their pillows before I deposit that coin. Oh, I have so many special powers. Mommy powers, I call them.

I was invited to a luncheon where I learned more about how a certain organization has helped Albertan parents dream big dreams for their kids with “special abilities” (instead of disabilities) and I liked the term very much. So much so, that I am going to spend the rest of my time telling you what my child’s special abilities include. As a caveat, I think my children, whether they are the ones with challenges or whether they are neurotypical, have some special abilities written into their make up.

J-man has the special ability to make people laugh at a fart joke. Don’t tell him that or he’ll be telling fart jokes all over the place and it will make the special ability not as special. He also has the ability to flap his hands and make strange noises that get him straight outside to do some “heavy work” like jumping on the trampoline. He can also use those abilities to get extra jobs done for mommy as I have him cart heavy baskets of laundry up and down the stairs.

He has another special ability that I like to watch. He collects bugs, cares for them and loves them like family members. Only, bugs don’t have a terribly long life span so this ability can last all summer as he replaces the bugs at an alarming rate.

His other, more amazing ability is the ability to state the obvious. This can come in handy when another sibling is doing something mischievous and he comes in to state the obvious to me because I have glazed over eyes (another of my super powers) and haven’t seen the mischief myself. We can be found with slightly red faces with embarrassment when he states loudly “Why don’t they throw their garbage in the trash where it should go?” He is truly curious why other people don’t follow the rules and says it loud enough that they do.

I love thinking about my children having special abilities. It puts the “having challenges” thing in a different light. The issues are still the same, but we can, as parents look at our “little heroes ” as having qualities that bring light and laughter into our world. Often, these children are the ones that press on in adversity and teach us a few lessons. Lessons on life, and lessons on lightening up when situations seem bleak.

Do you have kids with “special abilities?” I would like to hear about them and celebrate their awesomeness.

Thriving on structure…I’ve got to find ME some of that.

I’ve known for a long time that it was a very real possibility that we would have to pull J-man out of school and home school him full-time. I put off the doing of it because I knew that the decision had implications for the very structure, or lack of it, in our lives. There are other, more important, reasons why we took him out of school but the thought of what it meant for me as a mom to become a teacher and be on top of his education and the structure of it…well, I was happy to leave that up to the teacher at school. I am really distractable so the pressure to segment my time and not have interuptions getting in my way seemed an impossible task.

J-man thrives on structure. Before he could tell time he would ask me “How much longer until…?” or “What time is it?” He would base all of his life around the time on the clock. I just thought of it as a quirky little attribute when he was very young. Being able to tell time has made a world of difference in his world. He no longer has to ask me what time it is but he certainly keeps track of everything in our lives and chats on and on about how much longer it is until…everything. If I have told him something is going to happen, it is very disturbing for him to have that cancelled by weather, sickness or any other reason.

On the very first day of “doing” homeschool, I had him create a schedule for us. We determined what order we would do certain things at. Have we followed it? Ah, some of the time.

The good news is that we are FINISHED Science for the year. Can I have a witness?? Are other moms as excited when they finish a subject in APRIL? So, that leaves us with the other subjects. The subjects that he was doing at school are Math and Language Arts. Oy!  There are the other two reasons we put off Homeschooling until the very last straw. I received the curriculum before Easter Break. I didn’t touch them until after the holiday. I was avoiding it,really . Then the online teacher and I emailed a little discussion about it. Since he was barely passing in school, and it was hard to figure exactly where to start in the books,we decided that it was best to start at the beginning of the courses instead of plunk ourselves somewhere near the end (since it is April). That had me very stressed. The teacher reminded me that it was better for him to actually understand the basic concepts rather than push him ahead of where he was at. I could not argue with it. So, we are starting at the beginning.

I do not like Math and LA, but I am learning right along side my child. I am learning what a subject and predicate are. This is probably a very good thing, since I am writing two books at the moment. I should know the basics of writing too.

My life has not become any more structured in the last few weeks. Our lives are at the very core, scattered. Since my main squeeze is a Pastor, our phone rings at any moment and if I answer it can very well turn our morning into an afternoon. If someone shows up at our house, it sends J-man into an internal panic and his behaviour goes a little nutty. He likes structure, so anything that messes with it can cause him to get in a tizzy. This is an interesting balance to figure out.

We are feeling our way through it. I am relieved to have one subject done, another almost done and then two more that we are starting at the beginning with. Who knows if we will get anywhere near “done” by June. I am trying not to panic about it.

I just want to figure out how to draw boundaries that will ensure our structure a little more predictably.

Life without the Personal Space Bubble

Bent over the white paper of his assignment booklet he grasps his pencil as if his life depended on it. Furrowed brow, mouth hanging open he concentrates on the words he writes, erasing the occasional misspelled word. At school, one of the major issues he faced was with focusing in the classroom setting. At home, he concentrates like a champ in our structured times.

Then, there are the unstructured times. Following me every step of my day is a boy who has no real sense of boundaries and social graces when he is just looking for a friend. During the school day that friend would be, no one else but….me. I am his teacher in those teacher moments, I am his buddy in those non-school moments and I am his mother all those times and the times in between. Being the only child in our Home School of One is a lonely gig, when he’s used to children being everywhere, whether he’s at school or at home. This whole transition of being at home alone all day has been an “interesting” experiment for us both.

I like personal space and boundaries. If there were personal space bubbles that could bounce people out of my personal space when they get too close, I would buy a lifetime’s supply of them. I, without being aware of it, gave up my bubble for the closeness of two children who don’t seem to care that I need a buffer zone. My other two children love affection but they don’t follow me around the house the way the other two do. My oldest and youngest (the ones with challenges) follow me around closer than a shadow. I have to watch that I don’t turn around too fast or I may swing my arm and elbow into them. If I don’t look as I turn, I may trip over them or full-on body check them. Backing up can be tricky, depending on how many are standing in my personal space behind me without me knowing.

personal space
personal space (Photo credit: frankh)

Hugging, touching and wrestling with my children are activities which I look forward to. I love to have them close…for a time. Then, I like them to step back into their personal bubbles and have some time to themselves. Or, at the very least, follow me from a  two foot radius around me.

You can find me snuggling any number of children on my lap or beside me during the day. I’ll play with my girls’ hair or rub another child’s back if they are sitting near me. I don’t mind them being close at all, most of the time.

There was a time last week when I was shopping and I was trying to compare prices and products. It’s one of those situations where I may have to change my direction with my body unpredictably as I move back and forth from product to product or aisle to aisle. I became aware of J-man’s penchant for shadowing me in situations like this. I would tell him “Please, just stay by the cart” but there would be something he HAD to tell me that required him coming inches in front of me while I was trying to read a box and he could not wait for one more second to tell me his important news, such as “Mom, did you see that guy over there? He was wearing a green shirt.” Important stuff here. Glad you told me son. Now, I have to reread the box’s tiny list of ingredients so I can find if any offensive artificial coloring is in it. At which point he is desperate to talk to me about a thing that happened last week when one of his siblings said something or other to him. Speaking to me right in the face is how he makes sure I am paying attention. Not a bad strategy, though it gets rather tiresome for me when he has something to say every 10 seconds.

It started to drive me a bit batty. Especially since he’s been shadowing me at home too. I didn’t notice it when he was in school. But now that he’s home all day, it seems that I need a personal space bubble for me so that he can figure out that he just can’t come up behind me and start talking. It could give his poor momma a heart attack!

I miss my little personal time, as limited as it was. Oh did I ever have any? Really?

He’s not the only one that pops that imaginary bubble of personal space. My little gal does it too.  “Mom, UP!” My five-yr-old cries. Yes, she’s five. Yes, she still requires a lot of Momma’s time and a bucketfull of cuddles everyday.  My sweet child is as big as an 8 yr old giant. Snuggling includes sitting down with her, and not carrying her around like you can do with a small 5 yr old. She also has no awareness of personal boundaries and has been known to hug and kiss her friends at school. Yee haw!  Teachers probably wonder at what I do to make these kids so free of personal space rules.

Since homeschooling J-man I have come to value “me” time. Value? Heck, if I could grab some I would pay a pretty penny for it.

I’m not sure if any other momma’s to special needs kids feel the same way but I need a Personal Space Bubble. If anyone is selling, I’ll buy.

A bubble.
A bubble. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autism Awareness Day

How do you tell a high-functioning child he has Autism? How do you tell a child that wants to be like everyone else that he is different? How do you say those words without crushing his spirit?

My son knows he has a vague thing called “Aspergers Syndrome” and we’ve talked about how it affects him (sensory and learning, a bit about social issues), but never about how it looks to other people. He can pass as a neuro-typical most days and unless you look hard he could be just any other kid with all the hopes and dreams of every other boy.

He has noticed kids with disabilities around him and will say “that kid that acts weird” or  “Why do they do stupid stuff” not realizing that what that other kid is doing is exactly what he does. How do you tell him?

People with Aspergers tend to be very black and white type people. What is true is true and there is little to change their mind about it. If I tell him that he is just like “that kid” or that he has the same thing called “Autism/Aspergers” then that would really mess with him…to compare him.

So, in his mind, if that kid is weird then that kid is weird. I can do all the sensitivity training I can, and we do …and he kind of gets that we need to be kind to everyone and that everyone has value no matter how unique they are.  We try to give him a script of what to say and what not to say.

I have explained disabilities but never used the word for him. I don’t see him as disabled. But he certainly is different from the regular joe.

The gap between he and his peers is getting wider. I hate to see it, but it is.

Ironically, as an Aspie with social skill issues, he values his friendships extremely highly. Too much so, at times. He loves his friends and wants to be with them often. Taking him out of school was hard that way. His friends are starting to see the gap widen as well. I can see that perhaps there will be a thinning of the crowd, a testing of who is truly a friend or not. I also see that this could be very painful for my boy.

Having an “Invisible Disability” is challenging. I am often thankful that he is as high functioning as he is. He has a lot of potential. I secretly wish, at times, that his “disability” was more visible. He doesn’t have to have crutches or a wheelchair, which automatically identifies a person with challenges and affords them some understanding. No, he has no outward physical characteristics that he is challenged in some way.

Actually, I think there are physical characteristics that he shares with other Aspies, but it’s just a theory and I haven’t researched if I am correct or not. I’ll have to share this in another post.

His siblings also know that J-man is different and has “Aspergers”, which we don’t really emphasize at all. Yesterday was “Autism Awareness Day” and they were supposed to wear blue in support. They all wore blue but I’m pretty sure they didn’t know that they were wearing in support of their own brother.

I am really confused about how to handle these things.

How do you say “YOU have Autism.”

Anyone have experience or words of wisdom?