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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This is my son Nate!

Let me tell you about my son Nate.

He is now 9 years old. He is very smart, quiet, knowledgeable, and he has a smile out of this world. He thinks before he speaks; which is a quality most parents wish their children learn sooner than later. He stays to himself, but notices everything around him. He has certain habits I tend to question, yet, I have learned this is part of who he is and will be. And I have accepted the fact that this is what makes him special and unique and what makes me love him more and more each day!

About 2 years ago, my son, Nathaniel was diagnosed as having Asperger’s (Autism Spectrum). I cannot say I was surprised at all because since he was 2, I knew he was not like most children yet I could not put my finger on it. I would stare and watch him for what seemed like hours trying to figure something, I did not have an answer to.

Imagine how guilty I felt each time his teachers would call me telling me he was having a tantrum. (At the time we did not know it was a meltdown). I grew more and more frustrated trying to figure out what I did wrong when I was carrying him. Did I take too much blood pressure medicine?  Did I sleep on my stomach? Was I sad too much? I did not know. All I knew was my son was different and I could not fix him. But I was not sure if this was a bad thing or not.

Fast forward to his 2nd grade year of school. He started wearing glasses. In addition, I had to purchase transition lens because for some reason his eyes were extremely sensitive the sun. I decided to purchase those transition lens "as a placebo" because surely there was nothing wrong with the sun, right?

Towards the end of the school year, I noticed when I would drop my kids off at school; my daughter would run to the playground to play with her friends. Yet, my son would walk to a corner of the playground, alone, with his head hanging, looking so sad. I didn’t get it. I decided to keep an eye on him. Each day, my daughter would run to her friends to laugh and talk while my son walked to a corner of the playground, alone with his head down, looking sad. The same thing each day.

The day I realized I needed to do something, I attended my children end of the year activities at their school. I arrived around noon. I walked to my daughter’s class and watched the kids play and interact in organized activities. After about 30 minutes, I walked to my son's class to watch him and to let him know I was there. The children were playing with the “Parachute Game”. (The kids would throw the parachute in the air and run to the other side). I did not see Nate there at all. I walked around to see if I could find him....

There he was again...In the corner of playground, walking alone, head down, looking so sad. It broke my heart into a million pieces. I decided then and there I would get him tested for autism no matter what. I spoke with his teacher and asked her if she thought I should get Nate tested. She gasped and said, “I have been wanting to tell you that all year, but I did not know how to tell you.”  I wish she had told me sooner.

I told his dad I was getting him tested for autism. He did not agree. After a few days, he realized, I was getting him testing whether he agreed or not.  His dad was apprehensive at first, but soon agreed to have him tested.

He was finally diagnosed as having Asperger’s.  I finally had a name for what my son was going through. Then suddenly, I asked the doctor, “Wait, I never had problems with him at home…Why is that?” His answer…”You are already structured. Therefore, you were already doing things to help him.”  I felt great! Not because he was ASP. But because I could help him. I didn't know what was wrong. Therefore, I could not help him. That was the hard part for me, as a parent. Now I can research and understand and help him through it and that is a great feeling! 

Now the work begins…

Over the past couple of years we have had our ups and downs. We have had way more ups than downs. He is growing into a very handsome young man and could not be prouder. His communication skills have improved he has a couple of friends. His sister still bothers him, but that is not an Asperger’s issue. J

Nathaniel once asked me what did having Asperger’s mean. I told him it meant nothing. It just means that he may have to take a couple extra steps to get to the same destination as others. But by no means does this mean you can use this as an excuse to not be successful. 

Failure is NOT an option!  He will be greater than he thinks!

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