One of the most difficult things I have found to foster in my children specifically but I have seen it with friends and their special needs children as well is social development and empathy, Loghan in particular having Aspergers struggles terribly with empathy and the ability to share, make and keep friends etc.
In his case although he can be an incredibly loving and caring child he can also be incredibly selfish and hard headed so when it comes to making friends or having friends over he can be incredibly overbearing and bossy wanting to control the situation and only do what he wants to do etc, which understandably can be incredibly difficult for adults never mind kids to understand. I always thought adults were brutal but kids wow…. Just wow.
This weekend we had my friends 2 girls over to stay and this really brought home how a lack of social interaction and solid friendships can affect a child and I found that having the girls there was not only a great eye opener for us but for the boys as well and that it helped them immensely.
I have found that empathy in particular is easy to teach but not easy for spectrum kids to actually comprehend, I can hammer it in 24 hours a day and Lo and G still struggle but we are getting there… one baby step at a time.
Growing up especially in my primary school years I struggled as well and I get it I really do, I had one good friend and quite honestly that was all I needed and she is still a friend today, ironically she is very much on the par of an Asperger’s diagnosis although undiagnosed she fits the bill to the t and her friendship over the years I believe helped prepare me immensely for the journey I have taken with the boys thus far and I could never thank her enough for the wonderful insight and perspective her friendship added to my life.
It hurts sometimes if I have to be completely honest to watch your child and wonder if they will ever find that one friend or even a partner one day who will understand and be patient with them, I always joke and say that Loghan’s future wife/husband/partner… whatever floats his boat will need to be incredibly patient and at the end of the day it’s the truth and at times it scares the hell out of me, and then sometimes I look at other moms with their spectrum children who are not as high functioning or struggle even more or with completely different things and I remind myself to be thankful because there are some real supermoms out there who handle matters in ways I could not even begin to comprehend. There are many days where I wonder why the gods saw fit to give me my children, in the grand scheme of things I believe they have taught me more than I could ever teach them, it is something I as a mother have struggled with; surely you are supposed to teach and provide your children with wisdom and insight not the other way around?
At the moment we are struggling even more with Loghan as he is definitely hitting puberty (holy shit), the pimples.. the body odour (and aspie kids are either super hygienic or completely unhygienic… fun and games I tell you), the surge of testosterone means that he gets angry and frustrated super quickly these days and it feels like we have back stepped rather than moved forward, I’m not sure I’m ready guys I don’t know how we got here so fast, it seems like just yesterday he was this tiny piece of person in the nicu and now we have entered the pre-teens.
The reality of the boys growing up becomes more and more real every day, when they are babies and young children it seems like you have all the time in the world and then one day you wake up and bam bye bye baby hello hormonal teen… and hormonal teen with special needs it’s a whole other ball game.
This weekend I also gained a new perspective, an aha moment I have actually never had before where I actually sat down and was like hey having a girl actually would have been nice, I mean I’ve had friends with little girls , not many but a few, I have always been rather adamant though I am a boys mom completely full stop end of story, this weekend made for a nice change (not that the girls can’t give my boys a run for their money in many aspects including sword fights and burps), I’m still a happy boy mom don’t get me wrong but it was nice playing shop and picking up baby dolls and girls items for a change, just a touch of sugar in my world, I guess I will have to rely on a possible granddaughter one day =)