*Encouragement is the best medicine to give someone. If I were to pick any gift to have in helping others, that would be the one*

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Talk

Guess which talk I'm talking about?

The one that starts with "Chaz, do you know what Aspergers is?" 

It all started when Chaz walked up and started reading some stuff I was researching.  He's 10 now and we've been waiting for the right time to talk to Chaz.  We are NOT ashamed at all of Aspergers but Chaz has been through a lot and has had some serious self esteem issues.  I waited to see him mature this year where I could really talk to him about it and him really comprehend what I was saying.  Tonight was right.  I asked if we could talk so he followed me.  I had a hard time starting off.  I asked him about some things he has a hard time with and he rattled off 3 or 4 things and said it just frustrates him so badly sometimes.  I told him about Aspergers and a very short version of what it is.  I told him how it was linked to the issues he was speaking of.  I told him there are many positive things about Aspergers and he is extra special.  In fact, the teacher says he is really, really smart.  Just has a hard time concentrating.  He said he thought he was just dumb.  No way was my response!  He asked me question after question.  He was smiling the whole time and it went much, much better than I had expected.  After I thought we were all done talking, we both walked out of the room together.  Chaz walked up to his dad and said "Guess what, Dad!  I have Aspergers!" with a big grin on his face.  Then he took me by my hand and asked if I would talk with him again about it.  I sat and played Legos with him while we talked about it.  It made it much more relaxing.  Some times we would talk and some times we just built stuff quietly together.  It was really nice.

SO, SO, SO much has changed in the last year for Chaz and I.  It HELPS SO MUCH to find the right school.  Schools he had been to in the past made him for terrible about himself and they always made him feel like he was just a bad kid. This is why I was so frustrated and homeschooled him eventually.  I just grew weary of schools taking his IEP funding and not helping him.  Only making him feel worse.  In fact, he was getting further behind in his schooling because the teachers were punishing him more than helping him.  He was even really depressed up until attending this new school.  When I brought him home to homeschool for the 3rd grade, I was hoping to get his caught up and back on his feet again.  Sure enough, he did really well and was ready to go into the 4th grade this year.  He is doing fantastic.  Found the right school.  Right teacher.  Right classroom (that was lucky).  What happens when he has to change teachers?  Chaz is worried about this but I assured him that Mrs. D will be right next door and he'll have the same principal and same counselor.  I'm definitely NOT moving him.  He's been to way too many schools trying to find the right one.  If I knew then what I know now, I would've done much more research before just placing him in the nearest school.  Don't be afraid to not only call and ask about their services, but to also request a personal meeting.  Ask them what they offer.  Don't let them just take the extra funding without them actually helping.  I learned this the hard way. 

Chaz has been through a lot of emotional ups and downs.  My husband and I talked and talked about when the right time was. If only I could have been blogging about my journey from the very beginning.  5 years ago you would have seen lots of tears.  Insecurity.  I was distraught. NOT because I was ashamed.  No way!  Chaz is the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I just knew that underneath it all is one smart kid who just needs a chance.  He needed someone to fight for him and pull him out from the fog.  To show him that just because he has a hard time concentrating doesn't mean he's dumb.  Just because he stutters, doesn't mean no one wants to listen.  His mind just thinks too fast for his words to keep up.  That he's not weird for covering his ears when it's loud.  It's just noise is extra sensitive to his ears.  He's one of the only kids on the bus with a cool MP3 player to help cancel out the loud noise.  Beat that!  He also found out tonight that his friend also has Aspergers.  Can you believe that the one friend he meets at school and really gets along with also has Aspergers just like Chaz?  Well, Chaz couldn't believe it when I told him.  It thought that was pretty darn cool.  In the beginning I cried because I didn't know how to help Chaz.  He is so incredibly different now than when he was first "diagnosed".  If I hadn't of gotten help, I don't know how we'd be doing today.  You would not recognize Chaz he has come so far.  He went from a kid that rolled all over the floor, bit his teachers, threw tables and chairs, screaming.... to a kid that can sit in a regular classroom, take tests, play with other kids respectfully, and stay on the same level as his peers and even beyond.

In the beginning, the news of Aspergers might be hard to take.  I promise you that as time goes on and routines come, it's not something to be sad about.  It's kind of like having a baby bird learn how to fly later than the rest.  It might take them longer but with some extra special attention, they will soar.  It is much better to show them how rather than keep them in the nest and telling them they'll never be able to fly.  Aspergers is NOT the end of the world.  Just the beginning of another one that not many have the privilege to experience.

Speaking of..... Chaz asked me tonight if I could get him some noise cancelating headphones for him. I did some research and ran into THIS PAGE.  I'm definitely going to pick one to order soon!  Chaz hates riding the bus.  He is starting basketball season again so he is super excited!

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