Thursday, August 25, 2011

Invisible Special Needs

So I just spent THREE hours reading blogs written by mom's with kids with Asperger's or Autism, and websites that touted the iPad as a great resource for these kids. Apparently there is a butt-load of apps specifically designed for kids on the autistic spectrum. Who knew?

Now, I don't actually *have* an iPad, but my ex does. I just sent him an email with a few links to apps that might be helpful to our son.

What's gotten me on this special needs kick all of a sudden? A number of things. Some silly. Some profound.

Here are a few, in no particular order:  

~The kids were gone for a month at their East Coast grandma's. Out of sight, out of mind. I mean, obviously I missed them and talked to them on the phone, but I didn't have the daily reminder of my Aspie boy right in front of me. And, now he is. I see his emotional roller-coaster-I'm-so-bored/sorrowful/depressed/angry-death-would-be-preferable days, his oppositional days, and his I-can't-wait-to-see-my-'friends at school' days. Also the days he plays Yu-Gi-Oh cards with his older sister for three hours straight. Beauty.

~I've been struggling with my ex about visitation schedules. Though that currently appears to be taken care of. (Maybe you are wondering what this has to do with advocacy and my recent resurgence into that. If I'm disagreeing with my ex over when we can each see the children, then I'm not thinking of my son's needs at school.)

Which brings me to the number one reason I've hopped the train again.

~My boy is starting fifth grade in a couple of weeks, and I'm nervous.

When I try to express this to parents with neuro-typical kids (and sometimes even my ex), I get, "Why? You're just worrying over nothing. He's fine. He'll be fine." When I hear that from my friends, I think, "What do they know?" Because they don't see what I see at home. When I hear that from my ex, I think that, too. Except... then I wonder, "Maybe I am over-reacting. Maybe I'm projecting the past into the future." Because my ex *does* see what I see at home (albeit through a slightly different filter -- and a different home). But then I read blog posts like this from other moms and I feel seen and acknowledged.

I *am* nervous for my ten year old. Fifth grade has more homework, kids that have maybe matured more than him over the summer, higher expectations, a new teacher, a new classroom and new main lessons. He doesn't like new.

Also, this blog post nearly gave me a heart attack.

I'm reminded of another blogger I can't find at the moment ( who turns out to be "the other Julia Roberts" from Kidneys and Eyes ) that said that kids who are high functioning, or kids with invisible special needs -- like bipolar, for instance -- sometimes have a harder go of it  -- *especially* if they are in upper elementary grades -- because other people just think your kid's "old enough to know better" when he melts down because of anxiety or sensory issues.

I really wish I could find that blog, because she said it so much better than I did ... but, at any rate, that's the crux of my new found special needs kick. I'm worried. At the flak he'll get from teachers, parents, and yes, even fellow classmates. I'm worried that he'll feel terrible because he still doesn't get it when people are joking, and other kids won't let him play with them because he won't know how to "join" in, instead of "barging" in.

I'm just worried.

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