The lighter side to raising a child with Asperger's

My little boy Drake, is the most unique character I know. Drake was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome a few years ago and while yes, this provides for many challenges, it also provides a unique view on life. I want to share some of the lighter side to having a child with Asperger's, maybe if you have challenges like his in your family, you'll be able to see. See that life is hard sometimes, but it doesn't have to always be.
Enjoy! Jessica

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Drake, Drake the Great!

I love Drake. Drake, despite all the things that are hard for him and the parts of the world that he doesn't understand, is a happy, unique, and wonderful human being. I never view him as a "problem" or "difficult" or even as a "challenge" and that is simply because of him. I am a better person because I was given Drake. I am infinitely more patient as a parent, I rarely yell or get frustrated, and I am his biggest advocate. I love Drake and thank God for entrusting him to me, to be his mother, his advocate, his lifelong friend.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in my hometown helping with an open house for a wedding and spent quite a bit of time talking to some people I know very well from my childhood. I explained that Drake has asperger's syndrome and how proud I was of him. They concluded that he was a difficult or trying and relayed a story about a grandchild (whose parents I grew up with) who they thought had aspergers at one time and was difficult. I have a great deal of respect for these people and didn't feel offended by their comments at all, but it did make me think. I don't view Drake as a challenge, he is simply Drake. It is who he is. He is extremely intelligent, but even though at 14 (and standing as tall as I am! Yikes!) he carries his bears around with him and wears chinchilla ears to school (and everywhere else) and challenges us with math problems and science questions, and quotes from every single movie or tv show he has every seen. He rarely answers questions directly and has to be reminded to move out of the way for people trying to get past. He has several ticks including hand shaking and pacing. I have to tell teachers and administrators that he isn't being disruptive on purpose. I have to ask specific questions if I want any answer at all and spend a great deal of time deciphering his needs and exactly what questions I need to ask.

In our world, there is not a thing wrong with Drake and that is the way it should be. I guess if you view your child as problematic and have a hard time dealing with them, then maybe it is you who needs to adjust your view. I can't yell, Drake would be crushed (and is every time I slip up). I have to explain what needs to be done and exactly how to do it when it comes to chores or small errands I have Drake do. He gets frustrated enough with his own inability and his sister who tends to take over. "I wanna do it!!", he'll yell and I have to intervene. She is just a year behind him and has gotten so used to "helping" that I have to constantly remind her to let him do it, so he can learn. I have to remind him to do things several times. He gets lost in his own little world. I have to remind my other-half that he requires just a little extra patience too. He is doing much, much better with this and even sat down with Drake and built with Lego's even though he needed to be somewhere. He did this because Drake asked him too. That is the key with Drake, he rarely asks for attention and when he does, you just have to stop and give it to him.

I remember when Drake was small and very frustrated with his inability to decipher the world. He would get very upset and I would pull him onto my lap and tell him, "Mommy loves Drakee, Daddy loves Drakee, Adree loves Drakee, Sethee loves Drakee, Grandma loves Drakee, Grandpa loves Drakee, everyone loves Drakee." Drake is sooo very, Drake. I love Drake.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Awareness Month

A. Rogers 2012
April in Autism Awareness month and I wanted to update everyone on Drake. :)

"Autism to me, says that I accept my child wholly. I celebrate his differences and his quirky-ness. I advocate diversity. I am proud of his successes, no matter how small they may be. I hope he holds onto the compassion he has in his heart into adulthood. I don't think he needs "fixing". I am proud that he is my son, and sometimes I am humbled by that very same thought. "

Acceptance is all I ask for my aspie. ♥ He is phenomenal and constantly astounds me with his view of the world. ♥

J. Lamb 2013

What a great kid I have! I mean it, this kid makes me a better person and I don't know how I got so lucky to be his Mom.

Drake will be 14 at the end of the month (if you can believe it) and is continuing to grow leaps and bounds as a person. I don't just mean in stature because sheesh, he is as big as I am and wears a men's size 8 shoe! He is growing in a ability as well.

Drake is finishing up 8th grade and is taking an honors Math class, Science, Language Arts, P.E., plays violin in Orchestra, History, Wood shop, and breezed through his keyboarding class (that Mom made him retake and improve on because you still can't read his handwriting and he has to be able to communicate somehow, right?). Drake has also taken a Study Skills class all year taught by a teacher who teaches Special Ed., as well as, regular classes. His teacher is super patient with him and helps make sure he stays caught up in all of his classes (this is one area we struggle with) and from what I've been told, he really doesn't utilize his class time much. Drake is all signed up for Honors Math and Science next year, German, Orchestra, Seminary (religion study) and Mom can't believe she'll have a 9th grader! Wow!

Drake hates taking pictures (unless it was his idea) and is content to scowl during most of them. We were at McDonald's with my parents a couple of months ago and Drake wanted an ice cream cone. I don't believe in babying him and pulled out some money and put it in his hand and sent him to stand in line. My mom questioned his ability to do do it himself and I assured her that he was perfectly capable of getting an ice cream cone and he returned a few minutes later with my change. Honestly, I don't question Drake's ability to do anything, I question people's reaction to him more than anything.  Drake walks 1 1/2 miles home from school on days that I am unable to go and get him. Drake can do his chores without help including, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash throughout the house, washing place-mats, and putting away his laundry.

Drake is still very loud when he is excited and the phrase, "Drake, too loud" is said many times a day. Drake hates writing essays for Language Arts and can't grasp the concept of varying the length of sentences to improve flow for nothing. Actually, I read his writing and it reads like he talks, analytical  and straight to the point.

Drake still struggles with understanding human behavior (and pets too). We have a little chihuahua who loves everyone and spins at our feet when we return home. Drake questions him, "Why are you spinning?" "It's because he's excited to see you and wants to be pet", I'll explain and Drake either ignores him or reluctantly kneels down and pets him for a second. We recently visited my sister who just had a baby and Drake spent the majority of the visit shouting, "Why can't I hold the infant? I promise not to drop it." Next time Drake, next time. :P

Some of the randomness makes us laugh and how anyone can be so quick witted and random at the same time is amazing to me. His Math teacher asked specifically "what was up" with Drake and after telling him, I learned he is the class clown and can be a bit disruptive. I asked Drake to tone it down a bit and try not to annoy Mr. Clark as much. I talked to Drake about it later and he told me that he only annoys Mr. Clark once a day now. Ha ha! Drake's orchestra teacher also claims that Drake has the girls that sit by him in stitches most days. We had this conversation yesterday: 

Drake: How are you today?
Mom: I'm fine, are you fine?
Drake: I don't know, why don't you ask my conscience?
Mom: Drake's conscience, is Drake fine?
Drake: My conscience doesn't know, he's terrible at his job.

Drake my boy, you are just fine and Mom (and the rest of the family) are sooo lucky to have you!