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.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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.