Thursday, February 20, 2014

Asperger's Growing Pains

This sweet homemade Valentine was made by Collin for his big brother.

The most challenging thing about having a child with Asperger's is the lack of understanding.  After many difficult moments, I'll shake my head and say, "I just don't understand."  I pray for understanding.  I ask God for the ability to see the world through his eyes.

Yesterday my prayers were answered.

He's been attending a social skills class filled with middle school boys on the spectrum.  I affectionally refer to his teachers as the "Autism Whisperers."  I swear they were directly sent from heaven to help my boy.  They are the most lovingly relentless people I know, pushing him beyond the point I think he is capable.  And just when I think he'll snap or crumble, he complies and grows in the process.  

He's changing.  It's not an easy change, but he is.  The process reminds me of childbirth; the experience is difficult, but the result is amazing.

Yesterday they forced him to explain a situation, to put words to his feelings.  He drew silent and scowled.  They pushed.  They refused to retreat.  He stood his ground for a while and then he caved.  Words tumbled out of his mouth.  I could see a picture.  I could feel his emotions.  I visualized the situation.  I understood. And when I understood, I had to fight back tears.  With one toe in his world, I had a glimpse of his life.  The experiences most of us find commonplace, he sees as overwhelming and anxiety-inducing.

It would be easy to let him stay in the place where he retreats when life closes in, but that won't serve him well.   We know that.  His teachers are working on him (and us).  They are pushing him out of the hole he burrows and into the (sometimes) scary world.  They don't use kid gloves, but they do use love.  For that, I'm grateful. 

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