Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Something's working


I admit it.  I'm ashamed that I never thought Andrew could have real friends.  I've never been so happy to be so wrong. 

Given the boy I live with and almost single-handedly raise, the boy I have seen go through the whirlwind ups and downs of autism, I wondered if my Andrew would ever have the capacity to connect with peers.  The bears and Peanuts gang made me skeptical.

When he was in the world's worst private day school (they don't make kids do work), most of the kids were so different and completely disinterested in him. Before that, he was at a different collaborative, with severely aggressive and behavioral peers.  There, restraint was commonplace. Not really his peers. 

At the private day school, two students (of the 22) threatened to kill him.  The school said it was because he was annoying.  No only was it a bad school, he had no peers.  The one student he enjoyed was removed from hanging out with him.

The last time I saw other kids truly like Andrew and engage with him, and he with them, was back in kindergarten.  Young children don't judge, they accept.  The little girls especially enjoyed playing caretaker.  Oh how I loved preschool.  There were birthday invitations received.  As any mother can attest, receiving invites to birthday parties is a BIG sign that kids accept a classmate.   

There was nearly a decade of no birthday party invitations for Andrew.  Thank you, K, for breaking that cycle.

In the middle of this school year, Andrew started a new collaborative program, LABBB.  It's ironically housed at my former high school.  His class is full of what I affectionately describe as "his people".  Even though he is one of the lowest functioning students there, the kids enjoy him, tolerate him, and try not to get too annoyed when he asks repetitive questions.  

These young people make me smile.  Andrew's teachers and staff seem invested in his success and truly care about him.  He participates in recreation activities like bowling and outings to the Celtics and Enchanted Village.  The kid has a more active social life than I do. 

Andrew has one particularly neat peer, a boy whose family we went out to dinner with tonight.  Unless you have a special needs child, you can't fully appreciate what a normal dinner out encompasses.  This was awesome.  Normal, with no judgements.  My daughter came and even she loved hanging out with A's classmate and his brother (also on the spectrum). 

My boy has a friend and his friend is lovely.  I have hope for Andrew's future and his ability to relate to people.  It's truly hard work for him, but I know his life is filled with more possibilities than I have imagined. 

Here's to hope.  I hope I'm wrong about a lot more :-)  This boy is going to prove his mother wrong. 

4 comments:

Sue Loring said...

I am beyond happy for you and Andrew !
Sue

juliafc said...

I'm so glad you found the right place for him.

excruciatingly said...

Beautiful.

Danielle Burnett said...

Awesome.