Day before yesterday, Little B got a 100 in behavior at school. He was so excited, he called me when he got home and told me all about it: “I was so so good and guess what? I didn’t touch even one person! And I walked with my teacher all day and just did what she did and guess what? I was the best outside when we went to the playground. And guess what? I was even good in GYM! Are you so so proud of me?!” “Yes, B, I am so so so super duper proud of you!” “Mom?” “What B?” “Is this the best day of your life?” “Uh, pretty close, baby!”
Yesterday, he got a zero in behavior. Zero. Zilch. He did nothing right. At. All. And he’ll be the first one to tell you. “I was bad. I couldn’t remember how to be good.” It simply breaks my heart.
This morning, I tried to get him to do his homework to fill his time while I was getting ready for work. His paper had a small tear at the upper right hand corner of the page. It sent him into a rage that I cannot even describe to you. I offered to tape it, but he shouted NO! I tried to tell him that it wasn’t important, but he grunted and moaned and stomped his feet anyway. Needless to say, the homework did not get done. Hell, he didn’t get a belt put on him this morning. I tried to get him to let me pin a green clover that I cut out of construction paper, all the while avoiding telling him that no green means you get pinched, but he refused. It was a rough morning.
Here’s my confession today, and it’s not a surprise if you’ve been reading my facebook posts on the subject: I fear my son may have Asperger’s Syndrome. Not all the reported symptoms or presentations fit him, specifically. For example, he does seem to use his imagination (although sometimes it’s hard to tell, as he is usually just re-playing an episode of Dragon Ball Z Kai, and wants Little A to stick to the storyline as it was written) and he likes jokes. However, his reaction to jokes is sometimes over the top, a boisterous “HA HA HA!!” comes out all at once, you can almost see the “light” go off in his head moments after the punch line is delivered. We laugh at him laughing, and it escalates his reaction. Sometimes after that, he tries to make several jokes himself to get the same reaction out of us.
But some things are dead on: He gets frustrated at every little inconvenience and interruption. If he has something to say, he wants to say it and be heard. He often stammers and stutters to put anything from a simple to a complex thought into words. If you try to fill in the blanks and say a word or two for him, he gets angry. He wants to say it. You just have to wait and let him get it out. And usually it is a pretty profound statement. He’s got insight and is highly intelligent. And understand that when I say that he gets “frustrated” I mean he gets angry, very upset, or lashes out at whoever’s closest. Usually, Little A is the person who interrupts or tries to talk over him, and so she gets hit a lot. This makes me mad, and Little B gets sent to his room, where he destroys anything he can get his hands on. Since I’ve been reading about Asperger’s, I’ve tried to change my reaction to this situation. I stop what I’m doing, check to make sure Little A is okay, send her off to do something else, and sit down and talk to Little B. I let him tell me whatever it was he wanted to say, and then when he’s done talking, I tell him how it upsets me when he hurts his sister. I tell him that I understand that he’s frustrated when A talks over him, but that next time, I want him to use words, tell A that he’s not finished talking, and then finish saying what he needs to. This is very difficult for him to control, but you can see that he’s trying. And when he does do it, he asks if he did good.
He has no friends, save for Little A. And even she sometimes says, “I hate B! He always hurts me!” None of the kids at school or church want to sit next to him, they don’t want to play with him, either. I know, because when I fill in at Sunday school, they tell me this right away. “B is mean.” “B is bad.” “B hurt me.” When he hears these things, he crosses his arms and goes to sit by himself. Again, very heartbreaking in so many respects. First, I’ve been handling this all wrong from the start. All this time I have done more harm than good. I’ve escalated every situation to no end. My son feeds off of the emotions around him, including calm. I have GOT to learn how to feed him more calm. This is difficult for me, but I hope will be somewhat easier know knowing that I will reap what I sow with him. The problems only get worse when he walks out my door, into a world that does not understand him, and a world that he wants to understand so badly but obviously does not at this point.
We have an appointment with a child psychologist on April 12. I’ve called the school and requested a SBLC meeting (whatever that is), as instructed by the Pupil Appraisal department of our local school board. I want to do whatever I can do to get a grip on what needs to happen for him before the start of next school year. That is my goal. You see, his current teacher has finally learned how to help him in class. Next year, we will be starting ALL OVER from scratch. Imagine going to school everyday thinking that you want to be good, but then you simply cannot, and getting yelled at by teachers all day and made fun of by other kids. Yeah, I’d probably hit someone too.
I love my children. And I’m sorry that this one has been getting such a bad rap all this time, if, in fact, my suspicions are true. Even if it’s not Asperger’s, it’s clearly something he has little or no control over, and he needs some help. He is, at the very LEAST, a non-cookie cutter child. There’s no clear “right answer” to any of this. I’ve been praying for strength, clarity and patience so that I can give him what he needs, and that he can find his place in this world, with a lot less anger and a lot more understanding.