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SAHM of 3 wonderful kids, one brilliant one Asperger Syndrome. This is not a living shrine to his disorder, but rather a place to share & discuss the different challenges that came with it and other things about parenting & life in general.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hard lesson for my aspie...bullies are everywhere!

It was just another weekend, another day, Will walking the dog. It wasn't that early on Saturday morning. He left with our 16 year old Shih tsu for a walk around the block.
To my surprise, he had that look on his face that made me cringe.
It was of utter confusion and shock. His face was flustered.

The story goes, there was a man in his fifties with his dog standing across the street staring at Will. Will looks back because he thinks maybe the man is going to talk to him or say something. As an aspie, his typical reaction is to stand there because he hasn't faced this situation before.

Then the man walks over and tells him he needs to pick up after the dog then takes a picture of the dog. What is he the dog police? Will said he would've been paying attention to the dog if the man wasn't staring at him.

My aspie is very black and white when it comes to direction. He knows and very stubbornly sticks to my direction. He even takes multiple bags for the dog when walking. My aspie is very black and white when it comes to direction. He knows and very stubbornly sticks to my direction. He even takes multiple bags for the dog when walking. But I digress. He came home.

That was the only time I regretted banning his cell phone use while walking the dog. I thought it would take away distractions and make the walk a little shorter. He was less than a block away from our house and in a somewhat exclusive of neighborhoods.

As some people may have read on my blog, he had his incidents of bullying at school that was taken care of. So you can guess how I reacted. I kept my cool and had to explain to him calmly, but I tweeted about it so I could calm down.  I surely couldn't go off the handle. 

My basic explanation was that there bullies everywhere. But I was proud that he didn't react the way I would have because there would've been a fight for sure. A good lesson, but a disappointing reality of life for my son. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who said Summer break had anything to do with break?

The summer break began at the end of May for all the kids. But for me, the work began that day.
Keeping them occupied without losing my sanity is a challenge to say the least.

W thought he was actually going to have a time off from school work. Boy he was wrong. He had a few days off, then he was off to summer school to take a Hawaiian history (required for graduation) until 1 pm. Then he has art class at the Academy Art center until 245, and has his piano lessons on Fridays after the art class and then Korean class on Sunday.

The days of having lazy summers are a thing of the past. The summers are shorter which means less time to do anything else. I was not too keen on structured activity, but I gave in because he wanted to do the art and Korean class.  He only has Saturdays to meet his friends. 

All the while, he has to do two papers on Thoreau, and have five books, required reading for he summer for the fall AP classes.  With all that activity, he still manages to find time for his drawing, writing, and listening to music, checking his email and updating facebook.

It is strange but we don't even have time for the beach and it is weird because I live on an island. Maybe I'll get to see the ocean this weekend.  :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mom, you have a message from twitter!

Yes, I have a problem.

I have been trapped in twitterville for quite sometime now. I have let my iphone, slowly but surely, takeover every aspect of my life. It has replaced my TV and my computer. I do all finances, keep in touch with my family and friends, watch movies, play games, read, and listen to music. I also have educational games for the kids that we do together. That aside, I do have a feeling that it is consuming me. It gives me the ability to zone out completely from what is happening around me and that cannot be good. I have been consistent regarding rules about use of electronics for the kids, but there is no one to stop me from getting out of control as my husband is gone 9 months out of the year.

My first rule is that the internet is used only in the downstairs computer and I check the history, cookies, and caches to make sure they were not visiting any inappropriate sites. It helps that I'm a computer science major, but you don't have to be one to do it and no new software needs to be purchased to do this.

My second rule is there is no electronics in the children's room, other than the alarm clock. Will's phone and Itouch is left in the living room before going to bed. When I gave him some freedom before and he ended up lacking sleep from texting and listening to music and he started to fall behind in school and falling back to his old behaviors.

My last rule is the games (DS, Playstation, Wii, Apps for Itouch/Iphone) is all rated G or have limited violence and no sexual content. They have access to their DS, playstation, and Wii because they have not wanted to play with it everyday. If they wanted to I try to limit it, unless it is the only thing they want to do. Sometimes, I just don't allow it and take them outside to the park and have Will go for a run.

Don't get me wrong. There is no way I can filter out everything. They have watched action movies and other things with violence and some sexual content, but no horror movies. The key is that I speak with them about what they are being exposed to it. They are aware of swearing, but know not to use them. And I have explained it to them in the only way they will understand when it comes to use of the internet.

I'm pretty frank when it comes to the use of Internet. I had to tell them about the digital debris that we leave behind when we use on the Internet. We will die, but what we have done online lives for eternity. The news lately have given a great example for our discussion. I have made it easier for my aspie by making it clear, black and white, legal and illegal, about our online behavior.  It has helped. He knows exactly what is not appropriate and legal. And when in doubt, don't do it.

Having said that, I'm not naive. I know he is exposed to things when he leaves the house. But I ask questions and discuss it with him because that is about all you can do. As for the other kids, I prefer to have friends come over to my house and I rarely let them go over to theirs. Sleepovers is something that does not happen unless it is at my house. All I can say is that it is up to you the parent to decide what and how much of it is allowed. 

Back to my problem. All is good with what I have set up for my kids. But I have to admit, it is harder when it comes to myself. I have seen lately how it has been affecting me. I do what I need to do like taking the kids to school, homework, appointments and homework. But I see how the house is a little messier, and how I'm backed up in doing other non-essential chores and I definitely don't spend as much time as I used to with the kids and lastly, I haven't updated this blog for awhile.

I am happy to say that participating with this topic has given me the opportunity to reflect on what is currently happening to me. So I will end my piece here to spend the remaining hour with my kids before bed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Preschool or No Preschool for my NT child?

It has been a miserable weeks for me. I have two other kids. My main focus was always on Will because of his disorder. My youngest, Aidan, four years old, had no speech delays or any other difficulties like his brother so naturally he has been on a back burner and I was in no hurry to put him in a preschool. Until I started looking for a preschool.

Technically, he can qualify to go to Kindergarten as long as he turns five before December. But I don't think he is ready. So I looked around for a preschool that I could send him a few times a week and what I found was just horrifying.  I was aghast at the cost of preschool. There was no such thing as half day for preschoolers anymore, at least, not around here.  It costs anywhere from $550 to $800, 8am to 2:30/5:30.  Most if not all were geared toward the working parents.

I thought to myself, the boy can't even wipe his own behind and I'm going to spend what on him? The more I looked, the more discouraging it was.

As I took Aidan around to different preschools, I felt really guilty. The schools have a keen way of making you feel like an inept parent. Somehow you need to put him in a institution to get him ready for school. Or he will fall behind or you are ruining his chances of going to a decent college. As most parents do, I did what you usually do. Talk to whomever is willing to listen to you. I asked around, talked to my sister, tweeted about it, researched it, and even resorted to asking my four year old.

I put him on my lap, "Are you worth $600 a month for preschool?" He replied. No.

My sister and I laughed about it. It was funny because it sounded very desperate.

I put in the application for a half day, got all the paperwork done for the preschool. Yesterday, I finally made my decision. It wasn't going to make me feel better either way. There is no right or wrong. So decided to keep him home. I'm sure my college education will pay off here.  I'll give him all the attention and loving at home. Hopefully, the lazy side won't take over.

Signed up for a parent/child art class for the summer and I will just have to live with the guilt.

I won't complain anymore. He is healthy and happy to be with his mom. And so am I (most of the time.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looking at College & Growing Up for my Aspie

      Our meeting with the career counselor went very smoothly.
I hate to brag but this was one of the few times I didn't cringe when he spoke for the first time in a interview setting. He didn't make the awkward gestures, and tried to keep eye contact and didn't animate his voice.
      I asked the counselor whether I should tell the college regarding his disorder. Her reply was simple. It was up to him because it was a medical issue and it was his right to tell or not tell. There wasn't anything she else she could offer. It was a familiar advice. So we moved on and finished what was on our agenda. We covered all the classes he was going to take next year, what he needed to do during the summer and schedules to take the SAT and senior year.
      But that question of whether telling the school about his disorder was constant in my mind. Does it help or hurt his chances especially when there is so much competition?
It never occurred to me to ask because I was so used to making all the decisions.  Maybe it was a cop out, but I told him it was really up to him as I gave him my okay to tell his friends about his disorder. 
      Then I asked, "Do you think it helps or hurts your chances of getting into the college you want?"     
      His response was immediate.
     "I think it helps. I want to tell them because it is who I am. I want them to know all the difficulties I had and the things I had to work on."
     He made perfect sense. I should have asked him for his opinion from the beginning.

     Decision has been made and he wants to write about it when time comes for the essays. I was filled with pride and sadness. I was proud he was making his choice and sad because he was no longer that boy in the blue's clues costume.