Puzzled is how I felt that day,
my Yorkshire terrier.
Of all the forms of wisdom, hindsight is by general consent the least merciful, the most unforgiving. - John Fletcher"Why didn't we think of Aspergers?"
A question that haunted me the other day as I drove passed W's old school.
I understand hindsight, I know to reflect rather than dwell and I know how to move on. So why do I let it bother me? You will understand me as you finish this post.
W is a high functioning aspie. His main weakness was his delayed speech and that was the primary focus when he was 3. In order to continue his speech services, the diagnosis was a learning disability. No one, including his doctors could come up with anything else. He was in a regular K class and received speech an hour a day.
A few days later, I made an unannounced visit to his classroom to see how he was adjusting to his Kindergarten class. He was adjusting for sure, but not in the way you'd think. The classroom was made up of small circular tables. I found him sitting in a square desk in the corner, alone, isolated from the rest of the class.
The only thing this teacher could tell me was that W was not paying attention. She didn't know what to do. Calling me would have been one of the first options but common sense was not the only thing lacking in this teacher, but I digress. After a brief meeting with the administration, W didn’t go back to this school.
After 2 weeks of unsuccessful stint at a private school, we found a tiny, brand-new Montessori school connected to another school.
This is where it kills me. The small school was a school for Autistic children. The population consisted of kids representing the whole spectrum.
Was he tested for Aspergers? No. But tests did reveal that he had an high IQ nearing 150. The other aspie characteristics were dismissed as one of those idiosincrincies that came with being gifted. The difficulties were well hidden due to there only having 8 other kids in the classroom with 2 adult helpers. Montessori style of teaching helped him focus on topics that challenged him and he excelled in. They had the time and personnel to spend more time on skills that he lacked. He flourished in this wonderful environment.
The diagnosis came later when we moved to another school where he faced larger classroom and bullying which led to the Asperger diagnosis. I'm not sure how much difference the early diagnosis would've made, but there is no question that he could have avoided some of heartaches that came with bullying. He would have been better prepared to enter the regular classroom. I’m just glad that I didn’t let him skip a grade as recommended by his teachers.
As a parent, you will always have doubts and regrets. It is a part of life. For me, that school is a reminder of what I missed by not paying attention. I take solace in that, I'm not the only one who failed W in getting the diagnosis. But it turned out well. I tried to come up with a theme for this post, it was hindsight, regrets, and irony. But irony seemed more fitting.
If you get anything from this post, please look around to see what you are missing. You could be missing the obvious, because I sure did.