Moving on and Growing Up

school year

Many people mark their calendars by the cycle of the school year. I tend to do the same. The year is finally coming to a close, and it has been a horrible year. Now, not that we didn’t have cooperative schools and not that we didn’t have people that would try to help both boys constantly. But this was just a horrible miserable over whelming and psychologically depressing year.

The stress was so thick at times you could cut it with a knife. The high-school vice-principal said that it is just the manifestation of junior year. That the students are all getting highly agitated for the big collegeboard tests and college applications to come. They are moving on with another part of their lives and they are ready to go, but have to wait out their time. Well for HSB, that was not the case.

There are many things that HSB can handle and many things that HSB has no problem with, but transitions and growing up is a major obstacle for him. He does not like change. He likes his routine, the people he knows and how things function. He doesn’t want to move on. When he was little he actually hated birthdays because it meant a change. It meant that he had to grow up and that he could no longer be a child. While he did look forward to his Bar Mitzvah party and having all the children from school come, he didn’t look forward to becoming a teenager. He’s probably the only child in history to not want to be a teen. Heck he is almost 17 and he so doesn’t even want to learn to drive. (Driving of course may have more to do with fear of the road and the consequences of mistakes than with the lack of desire to grow up. He says he is afraid quite often. But he needs to know how to drive just in case of an emergency. He doesn’t have to drive all the time). Perhaps that is why the book, Peter Pan speaks to him. I think he would stay young and a child forever if he could.

But he knows that he cannot and it makes him rather uneasy. That coupled with the fact that he had such a hard time in two of his major academic classes as well as in one of the classes he usually adored, his film/video class, has made for a rather unpleasant year. Frustration is not something HSB does well. He shuts down. He has always shut down. I think that the frustration ratchets itself up and instead of dealing with it; because it causes him so much angst, he just decides to turn it off and give up. I mentioned that to his algebra teacher at the beginning of the year when he failed the first exam. I told him that HSB had given up. The teacher, a veteran at his job, just didn’t understand. I tried to explain it to him, but he insisted that it was too early in the year for HSB to give up. I think this is something you really have to experience and live with yourself, in order to get the full understanding of how overwhelming anxiety can be. Now it did not mean that the teacher didn’t try to help HSB and they all worked to help him through this math class. So far he has gotten better. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the final.

It is easier to give up than have to deal with the anxiety that the frustration causes. We all know that it is not simple anxiety. A person on the autism spectrum has a special kind of anxiety that gnaws at them and turns their daily lives into a living nightmare. That is what happens to collegeman when he is in school. He is such a different person when he doesn’t have to worry about classes, homework and tests. But he knows to be anything in life you need to muddle through and to get that degree. I heard him explain it to HSB’s math tutor yesterday.

She asked collegeman how he liked college. He said he really didn’t. He just knows that to get anywhere in life you need a college degree and this was the way to get i. It was the means to an end sort to speak. So it doesn’t matter whether he likes it or not, he has to go, produce and accomplish in order to fulfill his life’s dream. Now don’t tell me, that he could be something else. Believe me, being a laborer is not in the cards for my children. The boys have wonderful minds and are going to use them. To curtail your abilities because you are patted on the head and said “poor child” don’t be upset is condescending and without merit. Teaching them to handle their issues is how things should be done. It is how they will have the chance to be who they wish to become. (Yes, that is my big theme)

Yet it is hard when HSB is so obstructionist. He stands in his own way and makes things so much harder than they should be. He procrastinates and hems and haws. He forgets to do the assignment and he forgets how to do the assignment. He refuses help, except in the most extreme situations, when sometimes it is so late, that he stays up most of the night finishing an assignment.

I know, this can be typical teenage behavior. They cut off their proverbial nose to spite their faces and can’t see the long term affects of any decision they make. HSB and collegeman are so different. Collegeman has a plan, a life goal. HSB has a moment by moment take it as it comes plan. Collegeman is driven and goal oriented. HSB is a teenager. Both need more help in the “chilling” department.

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Elise Ronan
The purpose of this blog is to document the practical and realistic approach taken over the decades to help our two sons grow, and develop in order become all that they are entitled to become as human beings.
Elise Ronan

Elise Ronan

The purpose of this blog is to document the practical and realistic approach taken over the decades to help our two sons grow, and develop in order become all that they are entitled to become as human beings.

0 thoughts on “Moving on and Growing Up

  • July 26, 2010 at 3:06 pm
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    @aspergers2mom – I love the way Pixar is set up. If it didn’t require moving out to CA to work there, I’d go. I’m too happy in Nashville to pick up and move again.

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  • July 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm
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    @keystspf@xanga – definitely will remember you when I see great productions out there on screen and film. I think one of the ways around making sure that companies are autism-freindly is to basically start your won business and develop what makes you happy and successful. The way microsoft does business was once new and I think it may be time for new models once again.

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  • July 25, 2010 at 10:30 am
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    @aspergers2mom – I’m also glad I didn’t get a COM degree 10 years ago.. most of the stuff I would have learned would be useless now. The technology for what I’m doing now had only just begun development then… now it’s in full force, so I’ve got programs available that let me do what’s in my head. 🙂 Timing is everything. 🙂

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  • July 25, 2010 at 10:28 am
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    @aspergers2mom – I didn’t realize how much I hated driving until after I got my license… LOL I just met with one parental roadblock after another when it came to getting it. It finally came down to my husband (at the time fiance) telling my mom, either you take her to get it or I will. I was 20 years old.

    I understand about the shutting down thing. I do it when I’m overwhelmed and can’t figure out where to start. It kinda goes in cycles though. It never lasts too terribly long. I think it through and then get moving again. At least you’re willing to look into different ways of doing college stuff. When I went the first time there weren’t nearly as many options. Now I’m taking online classes and loving it. I’m carrying a 3.95 GPA…

    Grand Canyon University has a pretty awesome online Communications program. A degree in Communications opens a lot of doors into all the kinds of stuff HSB is interested in too. I’ve taken 3D Animation, Intro to Digital Film, Graphic Design, History and Criticism of Visual Media, Story Telling through Visual Media, Intro to Human Communications, and Web Design… this semester I’m taking Writing for the Media, Principles of Public Relations, Photography I, and something else… I forget what. The cool thing about GCU is it is a Christian college that took all the credits I had in Bible and languages from Philadelphia Biblical University.

    I am hoping to finish this degree and then possibly get a Masters in Communications. My ultimate goal is to open my own production studio… kinda like Big Idea productions (VeggieTales). I want to find people who will help me create the technology to build something like a holodeck from Star Trek… or at least something that will create an experience like that.

    How did I figure this out? I watched a video about “The Secret” and saw that the people on it had one thing in common… they knew what they wanted. So, I started making a list (actually drawing pictures) of all the things I enjoyed doing. Then I started looking for the common thread between them. Every single thing was an aspect of making movies. From sound stuff, to costuming, to animation, even performing and composing music… so I went hunting for a way to get experience in all of that stuff…and while looking at several different schools (including design schools) I found GCU… What’s funny, is that at PBU when I started, I had intentions of declaring Communications as my major, but they had dropped that program the year I started. I didn’t want to go to community college for a number of reasons, or I would have just done that. After a semester at PBU I had tried to transfer to another school, but all sorts of interesting things kept that from happening.

    I’ll tell you what… if I have my studio open by the time HSB graduates (highschool, college, whatever), he’ll have a job no problem. LOL One of the things I would like to do when I open the studio is to have apprenticeships. Anyway, keep in touch. Within the next few years, I’m going to need people who think way outside the box. 🙂

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  • July 23, 2010 at 7:22 pm
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    @keystspf@xanga – Hi and thanks for the comment. HSB does have to go to college, he either wants to create video games which is comptuer science and graphic art or study film and then maybe who knows. But he is in the zone of having to go and at the urging of his therapst has even started his college application essay. Its about stereotypes in society and he is concentrating on Jewish and gamer stereotypes. Things that are near and dear to his heart.

    I happent to agree with you about the driving. I am not pushing him. If he is not ready he is not ready. Hubby beleives its an essential skill that HSB needs to have. i do agree but HSb circumvents it, by just not sudying for the learners permit, so until he does that it really is a moot issue.

    I know that he needs to make his own mistakes, but unfortunately when he makes mistakes he shuts down and goes inward. So we try to help to avoid that. If we could get him to the point that he would pick himself up and push ahead, much in the same way his brother Collegeman does then I wouldn’t hover so much, but he hasn’t gotten to that place just yet. It may come with age and maturity. It is a skill he will need for his life.

    I also would set him loose to pursue any dream he had, I think though he is also a very typical 16 year old and truly has no real idea what he wants to do , so college is a way for him to see what may be available. Also college isn’t always 4-years and off we go. There are many ways to approach college today, part-time, community college and even one-class at a time, but he needs to go if just to figure out who he is too.

    Anyway, onward and upwad and a quiet summer is being had by all. Hope your summer is a nice one as well.

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  • July 23, 2010 at 11:35 am
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    What does HSB WANT to do? Does he need to go to college to do it? Does he need to “grow up” to do it? Whatever his dream is, set him loose to do it… and let him do it his way. Sure, he will need guidance and probably will need to be bailed out when things fail… but some of us only learn the right way by doing it backward.

    Personally, I need the experience of why. I need to get to the end of something only to realize I have to undo it because I missed a step. Sure, it might have been easier to do the step in its right place, but it only makes sense like that looking back on it. There is a lot I’ve learned through other people’s stories, mistakes I’ve avoided that way… but there are a lot of them I’ve had to see for myself to understand.

    I hate driving. I do it because I’ve got to get from point a to point b… but it took four years of practice before I got my license. Partly because my mom refused to take me to take the test… and partly because I really didn’t push for it until I realized that the stress of being reliant on everyone else for a ride was greater than the stress caused by driving myself.

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