Monday, October 6, 2014

This is difficult, but I'm not ashamed

    Nixon's school year has been...less than stellar thus far. He's struggling every day with transitioning in the classroom and taking direction when he's not ready to move to a new task. He's has had more than one quasi-violent outburst and he regularly gets removed from the classroom because he's a distraction with his disruptive acts. (He'll get bored and run around the classroom, or he'll start screaming)

   His teacher, from the very beginning of school, has voiced her "concern" over Nixon's behavior. And by "concern" I mean, once mentioned she had a child expelled from Kindergarten because he couldn't adjust and then mentioned suspension less than a week later. She's told me that she is seeing bahviors in Nixon that she's "never seen in a child his age before". Coming from a teacher who has taught children his age for over 20 years, I was taken aback.

   Then I became driven. I was driven to find answers for my baby boy. I needed to know if Nixon was just acting out or if he had legitimate issues.
   So I started with making an appointment with his doctor. For a referral with a behaviorist. We had that first appointment last week. We saw a nurse practitioner, who despite giving us the referral, said there's nothing wrong with Nixon because he had a "perfectly lovely conversation with me just now." A conversation that was totally about what he was interested in. Which is not something we have concerns about.

   After that, and scheduling our subsequent follow-up appointments, I turned to reading. Because knowledge is power and I'm getting the feeling if I don't have pages and pages of concerns/issues/triggers things like that about Nixon, he won't get the help he needs.

    My heart knows something's not right with him. I know he's trying as hard as he can, but sometimes his brain just doesn't work like everyone else.

    Now I fight, to make sure he's not seen as just an angry child. And he isn't given up on by his teachers. I know he's somewhere on the autism spectrum. If I could, I'd just accept everyone telling me he's acting out because he was home with just us and he's having problems adjusting. Or that it's because he's an only child and he can't share. Or that I'm a parent that can't accept that my child is less than perfect.
   But none of that is true. The truth is, I've had worries about Nixon being on the spectrum for years. Doctors wrote it off as things he'll grow out off. Well, he's not outgrowing some things and the list of my concerns is getting longer.

   I know there's nothing wrong with Nixon. Autism/Aspergers, they are not something to hide from. It needs to be embraced and understood. There's nothing wrong with Nixon, he just functions different from other kids his age, but it's not always something he can control.

   It's hard to write this out, because there's no "diagnosis" yet. Mac and I worry that people will treat Nixon differently if they learn he's on the spectrum. I don't know how family members will take the news, if there is news. Some of his issues won't be things he "outgrows".

   If there's an upside to this, it's that Nixon has two parents in his corner who are offering him love and support and facing the adults at his school as a united front. We won't just give up on him and we can't not help him!

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