Boy Wonder was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was 8. We started talking to him about it about 18 months ago. It’s only been in the last six months that he has really started to realise that he’s different to his peers. And he hates it.
He won’t say Asperger’s hence is expression “the ‘A’ word”. His counsellor is worried as Boy Wonder thinks that it’s really bad to have “the ‘A’ word”, he wants to be normal like the rest of his family. I am desperately worried too. I worry all the time. About what happened yesterday and today, but most of all I worry about what the future looks like.
The Saint and I are constantly told by school “he can’t”, “he doesn’t”, ” he won’t”. Getting him to do anything he doesn’t want to do is nigh on impossible. He’s so scared of failing, he won’t even try. It can be very depressing.
And then, last week.
Athletics Day. To say Boy Wonder hates sport would be a massive understatement. Athletics Day? With all his peers watching (in some cases, sniggering)? Unstructured activities, lasting hours? Not winning? In the cold? Cue massive anxiety.
“Please mum, just take me home”
I cajoled, he was mean. I got frustrated. He told me to go. I stayed. We worked through it and he valiantly gave everything a go, with me cheer leading like a loon in the background.
My broken foot was uncomfy after 4 hours wandering round the sports field and I asked if it was ok to go.
“After the 800m mum, Ok?”
I watched proudly as my boy came in last with a massive smile on his face. He was fine. I left, thinking, it’s ok if he sits the rest out, he’s done more than I could have imagined.
At school pick up, he told me he had some bad news.
“Sorry mum, I didn’t get a ribbon”.
“That’s ok” I said. “It’s more important to me that you tried everything”.
He beamed as he lifted his hoodie to show me the 3rd place ribbon pinned proudly to his chest.
“Only joking mum!”
He excitedly told me that it was for the 200m. “And guess what mum? I fell over at the start, but I got up and just kept going!”
I could have wept with joy (except his best mate was standing next to him and Boy Wonder has enough to deal with without his friends thinking his mum is nuts).
The Boy Who Could.