Monday, August 9, 2010

The Best Advice I Never Got

If I could give any advice to a parent of an Aspergers child, it would be this:

There isn't a professional out there who knows your child better than you. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for getting all the help and tips and advice professionals have to offer! At the end of the day, though, you are left to filter through everything and basically figure out what does and doesn't work. The truth is, unless you have lived 24/7 with an Aspergers person, and regardless of degree or expertise, you just don't "know."

I'll never forget the words of advice from a school district "professional" just before kindergarten. Part way into Jordan's second year of preschool I was asked by a teacher with 20 years experience to take Jordan home and not bring him back. I was told Jordan "refused to follow rules, clearly didn't want to learn, and was intent on destroying things." I bundled Jordan up, apologized lamely, and went to my car and cried. I wish I'd had more courage to stand up to that teacher! Instead, I promptly contacted the school district where Jordan would be entering kindergarten in the fall, and arranged for the testing that the ancient preschool teacher had recommended.

I couldn't really explain to the district tester what I was doing in his office--only that my son was different and I was worried about his ability to succeed in kindergarten given that he'd been kicked out of preschool. I was overwhelmed with this child I didn't understand and who wasn't doing anything "normally."

The short version is that Jordan tested above average in every area, and I was sent home with these haunting words that remain tattooed on my heart to this day, "There is nothing wrong with your son. You just need to take him home and love him more."

Yet another excellent opportunity to smack some not-so-well-meaning "professional" missed!

Funny how more than ten years down the road, thousands of dollars spent, too many medications and special diets tried, every wacky technique implemented, several parenting classes and seminars attended, countless harsh and angry words that I can't take back screamed at the top of my lungs, no less than 25 books read on the subject, and heaps of guilt piled like hot, stinky manure upon my shoulders, I have come full circle. Yep, Jordan is different, but there is indeed nothing wrong. "Wrong" is the wrong word. I don't exactly know what the right word is to describe Jordan, but I know for sure nothing is "wrong."

1 comment:

  1. Jordan was sent to the RIGHT mom :) I love you. Your insights and feelings and stories are uplifting, heartfelt, tender and lovely. Thank you for sharing. I love you.