Yeah. So, buried beneath my recent revelations http://http//debland.blogspot.com/2010/01/should-old-acquaintance-be-forgot.html from my last 6 months was this little tidbit...
#6. I found out our son has Asperger's syndrome.
I didn't bury it for reasons that you might think. I didn't even bury it purposefully. It's just that it is so new, so raw, so complex that I just can't really articulate myself at this point. Of course there are much, much worse things for a child to have. I know that, really I do. But as a parent, who loves her children to the core, it is a revelation that just slaps you in the face and thrusts you into a reality you didn't plan for, you didn't ask for, and that YOU DON'T WANT.
I'm not sure how much to say here, and how to say it. I'll do my best. Evan is a unusual child, with a super creative brain, an insatiable curiosity, a huge heart, and the face of an angel. I feel like I'm shortchanging him by describing him so succinctly, but that is the way communicating words on a screen can fail you.
We have had many challenges with Evan since he was a little guy. In some ways, it feels like we went on a merry go round for years and years and the diagnosis of Asperger's has made the ride stop. As much as I hate it, it fits him. There is a bittersweet comfort in getting an answer...the answer. I know it has been helpful to him. He finally has a basis to start understanding himself. This is a child who has told me repeatedly... "I'm different. Why am I different?" We have always told him to celebrate being different, and he really has. He has a book he reads about Asperger's and other autism spectrum disorders. It is called "Different Like Me." It highlights noteworthy people who have been on the spectrum. It has given him a positive perspective and role models to look up to. His latest dream is to be like Albert Einstein (who had Asperger's). My dream for him is to be the best he can be, all while loving himself and accepting himself.
This school year has been difficult for Evan. As he grows up, it is increasingly apparent to the other boys that he is different. It is hard to be an eccentric introspective 8 year old. Especially one that doesn't like, and can't really play sports. He has been getting bullied. A lot. We are in a simultaneous process of trying to figure out what his needs will be in the public school, all while researching private alternative educations for him. Lots of details. Lots of changed plans. Lots of shattered dreams, and new dreams forming. I wonder if I'm grown up enough to handle all of this.
I'm not sure how much to go on here, so I guess I'll leave it where it is for now. I'm happy to answer questions, or discuss details that I didn't cover here. Just let me know what, if anything, you would like to know. In the meantime, I leave you with some pictures.
This is not Asperger's. This is my son...
We will make it. He will make it. We won't let him down.