Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Wolf's Den, or, Wolf, Raw

"What I am is good enough, if only I would be it openly."
-Carl Rogers

Living with Asperger Syndrome is kind of like being able to speak but not hear. You know that someone is saying something to you, and that they expect an appropriate response, but since you are forced to guess what they are saying, your response is often very different. Only those who know of your condition are able to adapt their style of communication to meet your needs. And sometimes, even that doesn't work.

It became evident to me, now looking at Wolf from the outside, that life is very difficult and confusing from his perspective. Perplexing, even. People expect him to act on, speak of, and decipher all the social cues that the rest of us send and receive on instinct. When he cannot, another brick is added to the fortress he has built around his body.

Today was tough; arguing and provoking is still the moat to be crossed before any progress can be made and those bricks can be dismantled. A child with AS is at an additional disadvantage. The placement of Asperger's on the Autism Spectrum means a kid is intelligent and aware of something "not quite right" about himself, and yet he does not have the hard wiring to mitigate it. Nothing worse than knowing you are quirky or wierd, and not believing you can fix it.

Those bricks of self-doubt, anger, frustration, and fear are as strong as any castle wall, and ironically present the barrier to any freedom as well. Staff at this school work very, very hard with all of the students to gently yet firmly remind, coach, and when it becomes necessary, tough-love their charges into the desired realm of behavior. And we as parents need to trust with absolute certainty that this is the right way.

Pushing out the bricks one at a time may be the only way, and the long way. But the staff of the school feel that the one-at-a-time method is better to preserve the fragile prince or princess inside who hasn't seen the light of day in years.

We had a good day, despite the struggles. Scrabble, lunch and dinner together, and some honest learning time to bring both of our lives into some focus as they relate to each other. Tomorrow we begin again.

1 comment:

nannerbananer said...

What a terrific analogy - the brick wall both protecting and restraining the precious soul. All of us have this to a greater or lesser extent - but it soulds like in Wolf's case - those protective mechanisms are distorted out of all proportion. We are rooting for you both. Yukon and Bear are coming for dinner tonite.