Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Philip has been working 80 minutes a week with his speech pathologist at school (set through our IEP - Individualized Education Plan - this summer). He loves her, and the progress I have seen in just a few short weeks is nothing short of miracle status to me. Philip has begun instigating conversations. He is looking people directly in the eye. He has also begun to attempt vocal inflection, which is very sweet and interesting to hear, especially given the weight of his natural voice.

As a mother, however, I feel like an idiot in the middle of all this success. In the past few weeks, Philip has become extremely attached to me, to the point he has asked me not to leave the premises of the school while he is in class. He wants me to sit in the lobby, or wait in my car, for the two hours he is in the building. When I have tried to explain this is not an option while I am trying to scoot him down the hallway to his classroom...he is screaming, sobbing, holding onto me. And on a few occasions, I have gone outside, begun to pull out of the parking lot and have seen him run out of the building screaming trying to find me. Now, I have learned I must wait for five minutes after I get him in his room to make sure he doesn't pop back out.

This is also a massive blow because the last thing we wanted was for his classmates to have any excuse to find him any more different than he already is. Not only has HIS class seen this (all 19 other kids), so has the kindergarten class next door, as well as the entire DD program across the hall, and the 4th grade class that walks by to switch classes when his pre-k class is convening. There have even been occasions where other teachers from various classes have come in search of the screaming. Including office staff and his SP, who stayed with me for 10 minutes trying to calm him.

There is also the fact his little sister, who is 3, is with me unless she is at her Mother's Day Out. It's stressful for her, too. She does what she can trying to calm him down, too.


He's stressed out! It doesn't matter if he loves school or loves his SP classes. Change is HARD for some Aspergians. And here he is 80 minutes a week going through tons of it. He is also so bright, I know this plagues him. I can see Philip correcting himself and saying things over, trying to get inflection or volume different. He has even begun saying "girl" correctly, instead of "grel." But I can see him really have to stop and think before the word comes out.

I'm the constant. And we are only apart for 2 hours a day, Monday through Friday. I get it now. He needs me to be there to make sure nothing else falls apart or changes. He keeps saying he doesn't know what happens to me or what I do when I leave the school. I get it now. What if I changed?? He changes while he's there, what if I do the same?

Philip has always had this when he goes away. Even when he was 18 months at his first Mother's Day Out program, when I would bring him back home after school, he would do a lap around the house to make sure it was still the same, and have to count or review all of his toys.

Sometimes I think I just can't remove myself from my own situations enough to see clearly. I wish I could. The last few weeks would have gone easier.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Costume That Conceals Nothing

My son and I had several discussions on the matter of dressing for Halloween. This has proven a tedious subject, with carefully chosen wording on my part, as not to distress him by using words that can sometimes be confusing. One word in particular, "Funny."

Since public schools are no longer allowed to have "Halloween" parties, they have adopted the "Fall Party," themed, allowing children to still dress in costumes. I made the mistake in preparation for the Toy Story party at his elementary school of saying, "Dress as Big Baby. Everyone would think it was so funny."

"Funny" did not translate as "evoking humor from the movie and making people enjoy the way you are dressed." More like the scene from Carrie where the mother keeps saying, "They're all gonna laugh at you!!! They're all gonna laugh at you!!!" Sheer and utter horror for my son.

Our task from then on was to find a costume that in no way would make anyone smile, laugh, or have any fond memories of any movies. I didn't know what I was going to do because of this.

Philip, as usual, concocted the answer all on his own; one that suited him to perfection. "I want to go as Electromagnetism."

The book fair had a series of books by Simon Basher and Dan Green (www.basherbooks.com) that had Philip unable to calm down, he was so inspired. I allowed him to purchase four of the six books displayed (which was the start of LOUD arguing on Philip's part), one titled Physics: Why Matter Matters. In it, there is a section titled "Electromagnetism, Electric Cuties" with an illustrated picture of Electromagnetism. That is what he decided he needed to be. To him, this was better than any licensed character. And I agreed.

There will be no disguising who my son is this Halloween. If this is not proof of his brilliance, and resilience, I do not know what is. He proudly wears on the outside his difference. And man, this is all a mother could hope for. "You are perfect the way God made you" is a lesson he has taken to heart.

I love you, Philip.