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03/31/2014

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Christy, one thing I realize that I struggle with raising my own able bodied children is how to reach out and understand the kids in their classes that are special needs. My own Max has a kid in his class that suffers from autism and often reacts to his emotions by hitting other children. How do I tell Max about the special needs facing this boy and foster an understanding? any thoughts from you as a mother and a counselor to kids would be welcome. As always I think you, your family and your writing are amazing! (oh and your hockey skills too :)

My son isn't autistic but it doesn't keep me from wondering what is going on inside his head…his worries etc. He is so tough to read and often when he does finally say something it is long past when I could have said anything helpful about the situation. Maybe he doesn't want my help. Who knows. We just keep loving him and keep offering. The hugs are always more for me than him.

Chelan, what I try to say to Olive as well as kids at Elias's school is that Elias's brain processes information differently and he often has a hard time expressing his emotions so they come out jumbled and when he hits others it has more to do with his own frustration then with a desire to hurt others.

There is a great book called The Reason I Jump written by a 13 year-old boy from Japan who experience autism that really helped me see the world through Elias's eyes. Its a short easy read and could also be helpful.

And thank you Chelan:)

Fleming, I think as Mom's we will always want to know more about what is going on in our kids heads, even if they are typical children. And yes, the hugs are often for me too:)

When my son was young he had a friend Robert. Asperbergers wouldn't even be a diagnosis for a few years. I was a room mom and very involved and he was my favorite kid.
You never knew what he was going to do or say, he could tell you everything about whatever he was interested in. I loved that kid, although the other kids never really did.
When I first heard of Asperbergers (a few years later because my aunt was one of the first to try in-school programs to help) I immediately thought of him.
I think you beat yourself up too much. (As do the parents on the show).
The first day of school I pulled up and realized that all most kids want to do is be "normal" and although I would do anything for my son I had not the first faintest idea how to be normal or teach my son to be.
So I said to him "Listen, honey. I can't teach you to be normal. But I can teach you how not to care that you're not normal."
I never cared, and he never has either.

Christy, you and Elias, Olive and Nick have taught me so much about responding to life's challenges. Thank you for sharing your experiences in such a heartfelt and engaging way! It's tough to be on the leading edge of a difficult situation, as your aspirations and circumstances lead you to be, but please know that you are helping to make the world a better, more understanding place by being exactly who you are, doing what you do.

Thank you Linda, your words came to me right when I needed to hear them:)

Kate, thank you for sharing. Its so true that being "normal" isn't really what matters in the long run. I think what I worry about more than Elias fitting in or be accepted as normal is the teasing/bullying etc that he will not be able to articulate to me or other adults but he will respond to later in his own jumble of frustrated emotions. Not sure if that makes sense.

Christy,
Our Elias was diagnosed with Aspergers just two weeks ago and we are learning all about it. I, too, struggle knowing that kids call him "wierd" but I love this wierd kid who sees spaceships instead of paper bags with duct tape. How can I affirm his uniqueness, but help him defend himself from meanness? Any thought on how to handle the teasing? Hugs to you. Wilx.

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