Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Hopes and Dreams for Jacob

Jacob just showed me that if he studied, he could do well. Over the summer, he attended the AAA driving school and failed both the mid-term and the final exams. Tonight, the class instructor offered retakes of each test, and he passed both. It feels good to be proud of my son for accomplishing something. He’s never been motivated to study, and this is the first time he’s applied himself and succeeded. Next is the written test at the DMV, so he'll have to study some more to pass. That test is 60 questions and he can miss no more than 8 questions. He’ll have up to 3 opportunities to retake the test if he fails.

I’m seeing other bits of emotional growth with Jacob. It’s really nice to see him show interest about what I think and how I feel. He’s had a week to study for tonight's tests, and he's not been trying very hard. I’ve been telling him if he did his best, even if he failed, I’d be proud of him. But, if he didn't study and failed, I’d be disappointed. A couple times, he's asked if I would give him credit for just for attending the class. This was pretty big for Jacob. As is common with people with ASD, his feelings have always mattered most. It's not so much that he don't care; it's more like what he doesn't understand why everyone else doesn't think the same as he does. Being a parent can be tough, but having a child that has no interest in what I thought has been exceedingly stressful, to say the least. Especially since Jacob was an only child, his behavior became the norm in our household. I got used to things being difficult. When Jacob asked me for my approval, that showed he was vested in our relationship. That was very cool. I'm seeing stuff like this happen more and more, but I’m still getting used to how nice it feels.

Jacob calls himself “the tall silent type”, and he means it. I think this is good - the alternative would be a non-stop talking Jacob, and we all know how annoying it is to listen to someone who speaks without taking into account our perspective. I know he doesn’t want to talk about school, but when I pick him up each afternoon, I can't help but about his day. His response so far is he doesn’t have an opinion. He does say it’s boring and the teachers talk a lot. He says he’s not had a conversation with any of his peers and he sits by himself when he eats lunch. But he also says doesn’t hate it, so that's a good sign. It’s only been 2 days, so I have to give it some time and stop asking him how the day went. I know it bugs him when I do, so I guess it's my turn to take into account his perspective and respond accordingly.

I'm really trying to help him widen his interests beyond the few things he currently likes. I know the school has a variety of clubs, so I’d really like him to join one of these. Since Jacob is new to the Culver City school system, the annual IEP will be scheduled in the next month. I want Jacob to attend and explain the administrators to what he wants. My goal is to transfer the advocating to Jacob so he can start doing it for himself.

Jacob is a cool kid, so it’s nice to see the cool stuff emerge. I know the journey is still ongoing, but at least it feels more like smooth sailing than rough waters. And for that I am very thankful.

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