Thursday, February 25, 2010

diploma for my asperger son

When he was a little boy he encountered many difficulties, because people didn't know anything about autism.

Because he was tall people treated him like someone older, and kept telling me that I should consult a doctor as he was way behind. When I told them he wasn't 4 but 2, they were amazed.

When he was 4 I was told he should be more social, when he was 6 I was complimented with the fact that he learned so fast and when he was 8 I was asked how it was possible that he knew so much about trains and trainstations.

All those years he'd been playing with trains, and because his father had free travelling, he went with him on many trips through the country.

We used to read books to him, and when he was old enough he started to read by himself. He loved "the 5" series, and later sone other series.
Individual books were not appreciated. I think it took too much energy to understand the people and their characters.

When he was 8 his movements were not smooth enough, when he was 10 he was too much of an individual to fit in a group.
When he was 12 we were told he was too intelligent, eh highly intelligent, and school said they were sorry to see him go.
Which was not the case, but hej, he did extremely well in the last year theatre play, which was a signal of how often he had played the person they wanted him to be. He was well trained.

The new school was a relief.
They didn't know anything about asperger syndrome, but they wanted to learn and enjoyed helping him.

He did very well, and those 2 years were the last years without huge problems.

%Then the schoolsystem changed and it was said that pupils needed to be prepared for university and later life far better,
Instead of the routine and structure of regular classroom teaching the students had to work in groups, solve their own problems and ask their teachers for help.

So: interaction, problemsolving, no routine and structure and reaching out.

I told them this should be taught and learned before throwing these young people in the deep, they said they would learn during the process.

I was right.

Quite some young people drowned in the system, mine too.

He was placed a level lower, and he was bored to death, starting to phantasize, getting lost in his chaotic mind.
Right at that time his father brought a computer into the house, against my wishes.

My son got hooked within weeks, and what the school didn't provide the computer did.
He taught himself english, programming and a lot more, which was far more interesting than average schoolstuff.
He went to bed late, because being tired meant he wasn't as susceptible for the overstimulation school provided.

He started to hate school, because he couldn't keep up with the development of other young people, with the requirements and with the girls who loved his handsome looks.

So he dropped out.
Of school I mean, not out of the computerworld.
He discovered more and more and had a great time.

After a few months he started at a new school.
He enjoyed studying there, but they considered him not social enough.

He started at ICT, but they hardly knew how to deal with autism at that time.
His teachers offended him. They were used to critical students who would say what they wanted, not to a silent boy that was enable to ask something.

He left.
It was not his world and not the world he ever wanted to be in.

It took a while before I found an organisation where people would listen.
Well, they told me to call them and explain what I wanted... but how could I call with 6 children at my arms?
So I mailed that all I wanted was one simple appointment and then it was up to them to decide.

I got the appointment and a social worker was put on my sons case.
She knew what we didn't know.

A school which is only accessible for disabled students and, sonce shortly, for autistic ones too.
They had quite some requirements, but he moved out into protected living and lived up to the requirements.

They accepted him and within a few years he studied as much as normal people do in twice or three times the time.
It took a long time to find a place where they wanted him to do his practical assignments, but when a firm finally agreed to take him, they were so surprised by his skills that they asked him for a steady job even before he'd finished his studies.

Tomorrow he'll get his diploma.

For him it's just a stop between days of work he enjoys.

He plans to work here about 3 to 6 years and then move to England/Scotland, because he'll earn more there.

For me tomorrow is a day I never ever expected to come.

To live towards this moment would have been so much easier when schools and people would be less focussed on making children into model human beings, without a good description of the average person and the wish to mold young people to be someone they're not.

Many autistic young people live under pressure and stress, because they can't live up to all the expectations of modern society.

My son, and many others, show that each person needs to be treated as a unique human being, with his own pace of development.

He did it.

And with that he's an example for others and a promiss to parents.

Please, please take autistic people the way they are, and look at what they can and guide them from there.

I'm sure all people involved will be a lot happier.

In case you want to donate to give him a present he likes, you can use the donate button at the top of the site and mention: diploma.



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