by Lillian Csernica on April 21, 2013
I love my son John so much. He’s come so far from the days when we had to have a behavioral specialist and a one to one aide come to our home and “play” kindergarten with him until he got the hang of his first icon-based schedule. He’s become popular at his middle school for his participation in dress-up days. On one Superhero Day, he was the only person in the entire school who dressed up! He went as “John-zuka,” with a costume he and my sister had put together. (She sews, I don’t.) Thanks to him, his grade won five spirit points. John was the Man of the Hour, much like Harry Potter winning points for Gryffindor.
Now John is fourteen. Oh Lord, is he fourteen.
Because of John’s anxiety issues, he bites his fingernails. We got him to stop doing that by convincing him if he kept biting his nails he couldn’t paint his nails black this Halloween as part of his planned Frankenstein costume. So now he’s chewing on his cuticles to the point of drawing blood. It took three of us to get the Band-Aids on his fingers last night. Two to hold his arms and one to actually apply the Band-Aids. The boy is six feet tall, built like a wrestler, strong as an ox, and very very stubborn. He almost lifted me off my feet, and I’m no petite little china doll.
Remember when you were a teenager? Not a child, but not an adult? Caught between all the things you had to leave behind, confused about everything that was coming at you? And then there’s the whole issue of hormones and a new awareness of the opposite sex and learning all the social rules that go along with being just classmates or friends or boy/girl-friends or what we used to call “going steady.” So much to learn, so many opportunities for confusion, for mixed signals, for embarrassment and humiliation.
Now add to all that the symptoms and processing disorders of autism.
This fallenter high school. It’s a whole new stage of life. He already has a lot going for him, and he will have a good team of teachers, therapists, and caseworkers to back him up. There will be the hard days, the days when frustration and anxiety get the best of him. There will be days when I’m so exasperated I think my head will explode.
I love John. On the hard days, I’ll try to make sure I give him extra hugs or praise or whatever it takes.
- What Is Autism? (everydayhealth.com)
- Book Review: “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships,” by Grandin and Barron. (autismandoughtisms.wordpress.com)
- 10 Steps to Help your Teen with Autism Navigate Dating (pattidudek.typepad.com)
- Autism… what I know now (deshocks.com)