Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One month

High Dopamine Transporter Levels Not Correlate...Image via WikipediaIn a single month, the ASD teen got a job, trained for a job, worked a job, excelled at a job, and quit a job.

A roller coaster ride for anyone, especially someone with Aspergers. And his Mom.

He was excelling, giving it his all, which is how he operates. He would come home feeling good, but exhausted. He missed some school, struggled to juggle & coordinate his three schedules (school, law enforcement exploring, work). (For those of you who don't have ASD or ADHD kids, this is known as an "executive skill" and is challenging for our kiddos.)

He double-booked himself one day, which escalated the issue to crisis stage. He struggled to manage, calling around to find a replacement. Striking out, he sank into a silence, emerging once or twice to announce "My heart says one thing; my brain, another."

Next day, he himself said, "There's too much on my plate right now. I took this job too young. Maybe I can handle it when I am 16, but right now, it is too much. I appreciate the opportunity and I even enjoy the job. But it is too much."

Which is essentially what he told the store manager. I listened from the hallway, as the manager expressed his disappointment and said, "Without giving 2 weeks notice, you will never work for this company again."

"I understand," said my son.

I do, too, now. I was disappointed. I was sad. But now that he's back in his pre-working routine, I see that it was too much for him. There was too much on his plate.

Thus we grow.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Feeling good

asdImage via WikipediaI must be an OK mom.
Sent the ASD teen an email with a honey-do list of home maintenance chores. Without a word, he appeared from Xbox land, screwdriver in hand, and went about completing the list.
This morning, without fanfare, he walked home from his Dad's place, a 3-mile hike he'd said "no-way" to when I suggested it last night. The day before he biked to and from Dad's to pick up a flashlight in my absence.
Who is this boy? Who is this woman?
Oh, and did I mention he got a job? A job, folks, bagging groceries. He is feeling might fine about himself.
So am I.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Watch and listen and love

Autism spectrumImage via WikipediaLast time I posted was 7 weeks ago when he went off to camp.
Today he's coming home.
I am one of the lucky auti-moms. With a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome, my kid was at a place on the autism spectrum where his chance to thrive where greater; and, we found people, places and things that have enabled him to thrive.
So as he journeys home from Camp Kodiak in north-of-nowhere Ontario, I prepare myself as best I can for what's ahead. Whatever that is. Kodiak has been the best thing we've ever done for him and he comes home hugely changed. I'll have to watch and listen carefully to see who he is and what he needs now. In other words (I know this is not the first time I've written this), I have to grow as he does. I can't welcome him home from the camp the same way I did when he was 11 or 12 or 13 or even 14. He's a man now, a young man. He may be my boy, but I can't treat him like one.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011


Skills logoImage via WikipediaAnonymom is growing up.
Because as Diver/Elmer/Dude
has grown, mastering new skills,
I've had to back off. Pull away. Chill.
The hours/months/years that went into getting him what he needed-
Aren't needed anymore.
It's a blessing. A miracle. And for this mama of a child on the autism spectrum, a challenge.
Raising a child with special needs is all-encompassing. Now, by the grace of god, I'm unencompassed. He's just 15; not fully grown, but no needier than any other teenager.
Today he flew off to Canada, unaccompanied.
Which means I'm unaccompanied, too, and unencompassed.
Say what you like about raising our kids - and it is all-encompassing - it does fill up the days.
So this is new.
Now I pray for the skills to grow, just as he has.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Milestones, Stepping Stones

WASHINGTON - MAY 15:  Police officers from the...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBetter than morning coffee, a morning email:

"I just had to write because I ran into your son at the Fest tonight and I was stunned at his maturity and social skills. He shook my hand, and my husband’s, said that it was nice to see me and was just so grown up and poised! He was way more polite/mature than the average teen! You must be so proud! You have always been such a good and patient mom and it seems to have paid off!"

It was a big night. Nine months after joining the local law enforcement explorers post, Diver (Elmer? Dude?) was on duty with his post at the local summer fest. It was highlight 2 out of three he'd been anticipating since last fall, and by all signs, it was a rocking success. His week - his summer - was planned around it, and as they day approached, he began preparing; organizing gear, nutrition, sleep, rides. He came home at 2am this morning, having reported for duty at 2pm the previous afternoon. I was already awake. Even though I knew he was with the safest possible group, my old, over-protective auti-mama'ing had kicked in and I lay awake batting away thoughts of worse-case scenarios.

His only comment when he came in (quietly) at 2: "It was amazing. Good night."

The email I copied above is from his first social skills coach, who worked with him twice a week shortly after he was first diagnosed; back when he would rarely get off the couch, when he sometimes would not speak, when he was rarely able to tolerate other people and places; when he could not follow the rules of a game, when his autism ran his life.

He manages beautifully now. For that I a grateful to God and to all the grown-ups who have walked with us to help him on the right path.

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Monday, May 16, 2011


Opening (inverted) and closing question marks ...Image via WikipediaTomorrow he turns 15. Tonight he talked.
The Dude (aka Elmer) (previously, Diver) instigated the conversation himself, asking me to come to his room. There he remarked on the oddness of not being excited about his impending day. And everything else under the sun. He reminisced about previous birthdays, remarking on the number of toy fixations that have passed. He remembered more than I. He talked about how pleasant it is to reminisce. Then he asked if I remembered when he couldn't do more than request yes or no questions.

I remember. And here he is, chatting away introspectively like an adult. Without autism.

What is this but a miracle?

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's the law

Canada - ON - City of Mississauga - Municipal ...Image by conner395 via FlickrWhat could make this lazy anonymom blog after so long?

The Dude packed his meds.
All by himself, without my asking, he took out the multiple bottles and counted out four days worth of everything into a portable pill case. In my absence.
He's off to the four-day state conference of police explorers, which has taught him something strongly resembling discipline. He's a kid who never even tucked in his shirt, now spci-and-span in his pressed uniform and shined shoes. The non-nonsense, military structure appeals to him - a lot.

And today he packed his meds.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011


XboxImage via WikipediaThat stone I've been carrying uphill these 15 years?
He's making his own now.
On the cusp of 15, the Dude has a wallet, a check card and a cellphone.
He needs me less and less. Tells me less and less. And teaches me lesson after lesson.
Today he came home from school and planned his evening: "I need to take a bath before Explorers, so I'm gonna play some xbox, then take a bath."
He's going to take a bath voluntarily?
"Do you need anything from me?" I asked.
And in short order, he played Xbox, took a bath, dressed, ate, packed his gear, screwed his courage to the sticking point and went to Explorers (currently a source of both pleasure and anxiety). He had a brief moment of panic when he realized he'd forgotten a permission slip, then took a breath and muttered, "Next week."
So he organized himself, took responsibility for his hygiene, managed his anxiety, and went out into the world.
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