Thursday, November 20, 2014

Asperger's: The Blessings

November looks more like January.  Snow pants unearthed from boxes in the basement.  Matching gloves found.  Warm coats dusted off.  We're ready for winter!

I have an Asperger's son. 

He was diagnosed in first grade.  

When we received the news, it was if a mack truck slammed into our hearts.  The "A" word was scary and conjured up images of a lifelong condition that would diminish his quality of life and wreck his future.

I remember asking, "Is there a cure?"

Doctors shook their heads.

Asperger's cannot be cured.  

There is no magic pill or coveted treatment to remove the challenging behaviors.  

But Asperger's can be managed.  

Skills that are not innate can be taught.  Conduct can be modified.  Proper emotional responses can be learned.  All of these changes take time, effort, resources, professionals,  money, and prayer (mixed with tears).

And that's what we've done...for years.

Six years after the diagnosis, things look different.  School behavior problems are non-existent (knock on wood).  He successfully enters extra-curricular activities.  He talks (and sometimes talks and talks) to others who cross his path.

But somethings are the same.  

He's the same boy with big ideas and unconventional interests.  He's unemotional at times, but exudes warmth in different ways.  (And when you're the recipient of that warmth, it's the most precious gift in the world!)  He's funny with humor that transcends his age (and perhaps that fact adds to the hilarity).  He's his own person, and his opinions don't sway with the whims of his peers.

Recently, my friend and I were discussing my son and his many successes.  

She said, "I hope you appreciate how far he's come."

Her words soaked into my core.  Truthfully, I haven't appreciated his progress.  And right then and there, I offered up a little prayer of gratitude.

Last Saturday, he went to a Pokemon event at our library.  Two friends from school accompanied him.

That was a moment I appreciated.

Friends have not come readily in the past.  

Not everyone understands different.

That day I shot up a big prayer of gratitude.  I thanked God that there isn't a cure for Asperger's because perhaps the things I love the most about my son would change.  But I also thanked Him for the many services, people, and resources that have diminished our challenges and ushered in many wonderful successes.


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