A particularly difficult week of parenting

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 21, 2021, 10:53 PM | comments: 0

We've had a rough go of things the past few days. Today was particularly bad. Simon's doctor wanted to up his dosage 25% for the ADHD medicine, based on the teacher feedback and our own observation that he's just not plugged in and focused. These medicine changes are always rough. We don't know if the anxiety meds do anything at all, but you can't change more than one thing at a time, because you won't know what the net effect of the changes are. He has been extra emotional that last two days, unable to self-regulate to the point of having a continuously intermittent meltdown. If there's anything good to report, it's that he is very self-aware that it's happening, but that's what's so heartbreaking about it. He's suffering, he knows it, and we simply don't know what to do.

If that weren't enough, we got his grades from school and they were essentially perfect. That's absurd. His grades varied a bit last year, more than good enough for grade promotion, but showing some weakness. That means at his new school, he's either not being challenged at all, potentially not being taught at grade level, or he's being graded for showing up. The whole selling point of this school was to get his education right-sized for where he is. However, we're kind of in the same place we were in the public school: No one seems to agree about where he actually is, how to evaluate him, what the plan is to keep him moving forward, and how he best learns. No one has been able to really crack his code. My gut instinct is that he's a brilliant kid who doesn't handle discomfort well, and learning new things makes him uncomfortable. So what do we do? Obviously we're going to raise the concern with the school, but then what? This is a very critical time for him, the middle school years.

We're mentally and emotionally exhausted, and that's not even getting into our own individual things we're dealing with. Particularly after having to relive my own childhood for the autism eval, I'm hyperaware of Simon's potential for a great or terrible childhood. It is a very heavy and serious burden to help him steer through the next eight to ten years, and have something happy and productive to show for it. I'm not necessarily trying to get him to college, though it's necessary for some of the aspirations he has, but how do we set him up for a lifetime of learning when no one understands how he learns?

That hard thing about seeing how self-aware he is, believe it or not, is the thing that gives me hope. If he can see how he struggles, he may be more inclined to figure out how best to compensate for it. I see how adaptation is the thing that turns autism from a liability to an asset, but I don't know how many kids are able to do that. A lack of adaptability is literally one of the core traits.

For some reason, I feel a sense of hope when I write things down. I have to figure out where Simon can get the same feelings.


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