April 7, 2010

Making Friends

I've been afraid to put this in writing. I didn't post it on Facebook. I didn't put it in the blog. Thought I might jinx it, I guess.

I didn't jinx it.

Yesterday, my beautiful, wonderful, totally stressed out Aspie started over.

About a month ago, give or take, I got a call from the middle school (yes, we love middle school). He'd been struggling. He was frustrated and getting more so by the day. He was spending less and less time in class and more and more on suspension. He wasn't eating his lunch or his snacks. His grades, straight A's at the beginning of the year, were sinking like a stone. He stopped working. The kids he thought of as his friends started dropping away.

And he noticed. He noticed all of it.

So the school called. Or rather the district called. They wanted to consider an alternative placement for my son. A different kind of school. A school that welcomed kids on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. Very small classes. A protected environment. Heavy emphasis on social skills. But set smack dab in the middle of a strong public middle school, with full access to the great academics my bright kid needs to feel challenged and engaged.

Best. IEP. Meeting. Ever.

Because he got in.

I cried. I made three other people cry. I have fought for this exact thing for three straight years. I fought for new evaluations. I got statements from every professional I could find. I hired an advocate. And I still failed.

Until now. Until they called me.

And when I told him about it for the first time, expecting a tantrum or at least a bit of confused self-doubt, what I got surprised me. What I got was a great big giant sigh of relief from a kid who was sufficiently self-aware to know he needed more help than he was getting. He was happy. Nervous as a cat. But happy and excited and ready to move on.

So yesterday, he started over. Yesterday, he took his first-ever ride on a school bus and traveled to a whole other town. He came home with an empty lunchbox, a passion for Yu-Gi-Oh, and a great big smile.

It won't be all sunshine and roses. Transitions kinda suck, you know. But this transition, it's the good kind. And we're ready, more than ready, to make it.

You go, kid.


  1. Wow, I'm crying because I feel for your son. You are an absolutely amazing mother. Now, I don't have autism or aspegers but I do have 4 learning disabilities, ADD and ADHA are included.

    I know how your son feels on some levels. My mom fought for years for the help I needed but never got .

    Anyways, I just wanted to say congratulations and how warmed my heart is right now.

  2. Thanks so much, Alice, for your very kind words, and I'm very glad to have warmed a heart! You warmed mine, just by posting. Some days, my son would agree with you about the good mom bit - most days, not so much! ;-) But I hope as he grows he finds himself in a good place.