Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spreading the Word

One of the challenges with having a kid with extra needs is deciding who and when to tell. Since his diagnosis four years ago, we have been very open about Dude and his Asperger's. At his previous school we openly discussed it with teachers, parents and students. We've always felt that information leads to understanding and that really, its no big deal.

With our move to a new town and Dude's transition to middle school we had to decide who and when to tell all over again. Dude's greatest wish is to be just like everyone else, a normal kid. I told him that there's no such thing as a normal kid...just ask their mother! I get what he means so together we decided that we'd tell the school but beyond that it was up to him.

Everything was moving along well, things at school we're good and he was making friends in the neighborhood. Things we're great until Friday. One of the things Dude has trouble with is reading facial expressions and body language, he often mistakes joking around, accidents or passive movements as acts of aggression towards him. At his previous school the kids knew to clarify their intention if Dude reacted badly and things would quickly simmer down. Not so here.

At last recess on Friday Dude had an interaction with another student that didn't go well. Dude, in his words "over reacted" and then felt dumb for causing a scene. We discussed his options for repairing the friendship and he decided it was time to 'spread the word.'

Last night he brought home an 'All About Me' poster he was making for social studies. His teacher had given them all a large piece of paper with a variety of questions about who they are and what they like. At the bottom of Dude's page he wrote in huge letters 'I have Asperger's...ask me about it!'

When he showed it to me he asked, "Think that'll do it, you know, spread the word?"

Yep Dude. I think that'll do it.

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