Austin turned 7 in July. There are so many different challenges at this age than at 3 or 4. I found that I cried more this summer than I have in a long time. To watch Austin change and develop in some ways makes me smile but the struggles that he faces, causes streams of tears to flow out of control.
Austin has made such progress and he is very much like a typical 7 year old boy. It is hard when he tells me he is rejected by other children or people call him names. That is so HARD for me to take and I do understand that it happens. Look, I endured a HUGE amount of bullying and name calling growing up, I have red hair, freckles and glasses (I praise the invention of contacts and laser surgery!), I was teased constantly! I endured and by the time I was in my teens, a lot had changed ... the ugly duckling to the swan, it gave me a lot of confidence and I was happy to leave those bad memories behind. I feel for my son when he says that people call him names and leave him out of games. It just BREAKS MY HEART! Some days I wish I could just go to school with him and protect him. I know it bothers him to some degree but he cannot express that like you and I could. I guess the strength that I gained, I want to use to protect him. It is so painful to see someone treat your child that way. When this happened at 3 or 4, he did not understand and I just chalked it up to kids will be kids and people did not know that he was on the spectrum, at 3, neither did we! I guess I felt that it was easier to protect him at that age. The older he gets, the more he spends time away from me and I cannot be there ... tough for Mama Grizzly!
A big thing about Austin is his comprehension and speech. If you were to talk to Austin, you may not pick up right away that he is on the spectrum, but if you have kids, you would figure it out pretty fast. He uses words that he does not understand the meaning of and it can cause confusion when he is telling me about a situation. It has turned out that sometimes, it is very inaccurate. I have gone into school to explain this to his aide. She is wonderful and is watching to make sure no one is calling Austin names and that there is no bullying. He had a terrible experience with bullying last year ... AWFUL!
The first week of school Austin came home and told me that he was not allowed to play soccer and just stood on the side of the field because there was only one ball allowed on the field. Is that so? Huh? Well, let's just go and find out! I talked to the aide and she had not heard of any such rule so I sent Austin with his own soccer ball. He found two new friends and they all play together. (Kaleigh's preschool is very close to Austin's school, so I get to sneak a peek at him during recess without him knowing, so if I see something I think it not acceptable, well, let's just say I am not shy to speak up!) So far, everything is going better and he is having fun at school ... AWESOME! :)
There are so many positive things about Austin at 7 too but the challenges he faces, well, it is tough for me, I would be lying if I said it wasn't. It was hard at 3 and 4 too but the way people treat him or stare at him (he dances everywhere he hears music) I guess I don't really think about it too much because it is better than him dropping to the floor screaming like when he was younger. He will follow behind me about 4 feet so that if a song comes on in a store he will start to dance. I will turn around and check on him every few seconds and catch him freezing up and trying to stop dancing! LOL! This, makes me laugh because I am the one to blame for this, if he loves to dance, he certainly got it from me! I think it is really neat that he has such a passion and love of music and dancing. I am the type of person who does not care what people think, seriously and when it comes to Austin, it is about protecting him from hurt, that is my priority. So what if he wants to dance in Walmart? Have you seen those emails that go around? Really? These are the people that think my son is odd! LOL! Not a chance!!!
All the best! *HUGS* to all!