I’m preparing for the Asperger’s Zombie Apocalypse with more books, more understanding and more tools. Homework will be broken down even farther, with color coded charts to help him see his progress and document his success. He’s doing very well in his Social Skills group and that is helping him build confidence, which will continue through the Spring. Through all of the turmoil, there is always the love and understanding we have for each other. I’m a lucky mother that my son still says he loves me almost every day. I will continue to encourage him to work hard to be and love who he is and I will strive to be worthy of such a special and unique soul and to love even harder this gift from God.
I’m not a big fan of Asperger’s Syndrome right now. The past few weeks have been incredibly challenging and incredibly stressful for the both of us. The previous week I was going through those monthly changes that you sometimes get as a woman. I’m lucky that for the most part, I’m not affected by the horrific side effects.
Notice I said for the most part.
Last week was such a drain on my resources, both mentally and physically. It felt as if I had to scrape myself off of the floor most days. My moods were incredibly erratic and I felt out of control.
One Thursday last week I had a very trying hour with my local bank over my 403 b which I was attempting to roll over. How I managed not to be a homicidal maniac after that episode, I’ll never know. I went home and saw N and started to weep. He asked, “Mom, why are you crying?”
I honestly didn’t have an answer. I told him, “Well, buddy, sometimes we need to cry and we’re not sure why. I think I need a blanket.”
N understood that so he went into his room and got me what he calls “N Therapy”, which is covering me with blankets, pillows and some of his stuffed pets. I think I stayed under the covers for almost an hour, weeping intermittently.
I like Asperger’s like that.
I don’t like Asperger’s when its mixed in with hormones, which I where I am with N. It’s a monumental climb right now.
His biggest challenge is homework, of course. The executive functioning piece of it is so overwhelming for him. I completely get that. I do my absolute best to give him all the tools to be able to break down his assignments into absorbable chunks. These chunks make it easier to get through long term projects.
However, Aspie brains don’t always understand this.
The Aspie brain sees a three month project with three books needing to be read and three ways to report it (book talk, blog and book cover art) as IT ALL NEEDS TO BE DONE ALL AT ONCE! RIGHT NOW! OH MY GOD THE HORROR!
This trimester, N panicked. He came to me three weeks before the books were due and said, “I’m two and a half books short.” Which, of course, set off BOTH of our anxieties. I quickly came up with a plan to have him read for an hour each day to get it done. He ignored it. He said he did do it and he really hadn’t. Typical avoidance behavior. I took away his computer time until he got all of his work done. Then he would “forget” he had homework after he had gotten his screen time. More anxiety and frustration ensued.
This week I tried a new tactic. I said, “Read x number of pages per day.” This seemed to work. It’s less of a challenge for him time wise, as his sense of time passing isn’t strong. He was making progress. And then he began to lie about needing to go home. “Mom, I’m hungry.” “Mom, I don’t feel well, I need to go home.” “Mom, I did all my homework and now I’m going to go and tend to the cat.”
All of these phone calls and texts during my work time. I encourage him to text me, as I can discreetly take texts at work. But not phone calls. If I don’t answer immediately, he’ll keep calling back and he’ll panic. I couldn’t argue with him over the phone, so I let him go home.
Finally, after 4 days of him abusing his privileges, I have to lay down the law. I told N that he would have no privileges until his books were read and one of the three projects was done.
He went completely ballistic. Hysterical crying. Self deprecation. Hitting himself in the head with his book. Threatening to harm himself. Declaring he wanted to never exist. His rigidity as he’s gone through puberty has only increased. He’s miserable, sad and confused.
I’m doing everything I can to remain calm and neutral, but my insides are screaming to tell him to stop. Yelling to tell him to think about what he’s saying. My heart beats faster and rapidly fills with ice. My anxiety is raging. N’s anxiety is through the roof. But I’m removing attention until he self regulates.
It takes a few hours for him to truly be at a 1 so that we can talk about what is expected of him. He is truly very intelligent and smart. This is not an academic issue. It’s an executive function issue coupled with anxiety and with a sprinkling of hormones to make it pretty. And it’s ugly and messy and confusing. I feel like I’m completely out of my league.
And I’m being reassured that this is NORMAL. So, since Asperger’s is in the mix, I’m going to have to triple that result.
I’m currently not a big fan of Asperger’s right now. It’s part of my life and I’ve been through hoops of fire more challenging than this. I’m truly surprised that I have all of my hair left. But, I’m a Sheridan and as I tell N and as I remind myself, we never give up.