No one likes to hear they didn’t make it into the college of their choice. It’s like a hard, sharp, kick to your gut. Now imagine when you’re not 18 years old and you’re talking about your 10 yr old with special needs and you wished he had gotten into one school but was rejected because they just can’t accommodate his behavioral issues? It can tear at your heart. My little guy is one of the most inquisitive, smartest and funniest people I know, but with a complete inability to follow rules and do what his teachers ask. And please understand, I’m not a “goggle mom,” with blinders on with regards to my son. As wonderful as he is, I admit he can also be excessively difficult, have a one track mind and very intolerant. I don’t envy his teachers, frankly. Can you imagine having a boy in your class who questions every single thing you say?
For mom’s with kids on the spectrum, this is possibly all too familiar. My son wants to control every single aspect of learning each day. If his teacher wants him to write a short story a page long, he’ll suggest he write a poem instead. If she suggests only doing numbers 1 – 8 on the math page, he’ll say he wants to do numbers 9 – 20 instead. He’ll roll his eyes if other kids have a hard time reading out loud, and gets really upset if he can’t discuss his knowledge about quarks and atoms or Schlessinger’s Cat theory (yes, an upper level physics concept) when the class is learning the basics about space exporation or whatever other science topic is going on. But please don’t ask him to multiply a few equations – it’s like you stuck him with a pin or something the way he carries on. If he’s not interested, he objects to even trying.
So, that leaves us with “how to school this little guy?” It’s hard. If he weren’t so argumentative, he’d be mainstreamed with his twin sister going to middle school. He’d have so many wonderful classes and electives to choose from, he’d be with his old friends. But now he’s back into a much more restrictive environment, with kids who aren’t exactly peer models and it just breaks my heart. He’s this wealth of potential and I’m flummoxed on how to best harvest it. There just aren’t enough schools out there for behavioral kids high on the spectrum. I never thought that would be our issue. He’s too high functioning, but unable to make it through a regular class, so he needs this environment. We’ve looked at private schools as well, but unless they have the ability to work with very reluctant learners, it’s not the right place.
My hopes for him are still strong. He seems to be a wiz on the computer. Am I crazy to purchase him a laptop of his own and add photo shop so he can start creating movies? He’s in love with the Cyriak videos and wants to learn how to make them. It’s like I’m trying to think about what we can do for him outside of school so that down the road he can attain anything he wants. Of course, he might be up all night playing Kirby’s Mass Attack with that same computer.
Maybe it’s a maturity thing? This morning my daughter stormed into our bedroom at 6:20 am. My son was apparently already downstairs on the Wii and the sound woke her up. Now, he already got dressed for school and the sound was “lowish” so he tried to make sure he did things right (even though there is no Wii usually allowed that early in the morning). You run this weird tightwire of getting him to be self sufficient, but appropriate.
I guess it all comes down to just taking it one step at a time. One day at a time and celebrating every little tiny milestone. And one day, who knows, maybe he’ll be back with his sister in school. And maybe he won’t.
Time will tell.