Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today's Perfect Storm

When Caleb was first placed on the autism spectrum, I suppose I treated to it like a case of appendicitis; sure it would be uncomfortable at first, but we’d get it removed, and move on with life, pain-free. There are days (weeks sometime) when Caleb's a dream. During those periods, I imagine he's cured. Hallelujah! Inevitably, right when I'm uncorking the celebratory champagne, those dreaded symptoms rear their heads. Such has been the case the last few days.

I suppose I should have known today was going to be difficult. It was the perfect storm: change in school routine, sensory overload, and removal of a highly coveted object. For an Aspie child, it was as if his world was uprooted and came smashing down. Caleb (circa two years ago-pre treatment) emerged with a vengeance and landed squarely in the principal's office.

I received the dreaded call, barely deciphering the principal's voice among Caleb's wails. As I rushed down to school that familiar inner voice screamed in my ear: "You're failing him. You're a bad mom. You need to parent him better." Then, I began to question:

1) Am I not strict enough?
2) Am I too strict?
3) Does he need more attention?
....and on and on.

By the time I reached school, I discovered a more subdued, even remorseful, Caleb. He had pulled himself together, and was engaging in a productive conversation with the principal.

A few minutes later, Caleb returned to the classroom, and I walked out of the office without shedding one single tear. I was still little shaken by the morning's activities, but grateful for a couple of things:

1) Caleb was finally able to pull himself together.

It took two years, but he can pull himself back from the brink.

2) Caleb is surrounded by wonderful teachers and a caring principal.

His teachers gave me hugs, and were quick to provide encouragement and listen to all my thoughts. I still believe they see the special in him, and will continue to maintain good relationships with my son.

3) Caleb is cloaked in prayer (mostly by his grandmother)

Of course, I called my mom. She was quick to pray, and eager to activate her "prayer chain." Thanks to all those who continue to lift him up in their prayers.

Caleb capped off his challenging day, by being accepted to a summer Asperger's camp. He was so excited. I could tell that he felt like he accomplished something. It made me think how much encouragement he really does need, even on days when he makes it difficult.

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