Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teen Angst

I think about posting to this blog often, but as you can tell by how rarely I post it doesn't exactly lead to me sitting down and doing so.  Stealing time is a challenge, but equally limiting my post rate is my uncertainty about what to post.  I don't want to be negative, but I'm not a mindless cheerleader and my inclination is to share it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Trouble is, where's the boundary?  I haven't exactly sorted that out yet, but I'm going to post and write what feels appropriate and see where it leads!

It's been a challenging year.  Not only has my son reached the height of his father, six feet tall, he's also just as immersed in pubescent hormones as he was a year ago.  Frankly, it's wearing me down.  My older, neurotypical son was certainly a challenge, but he was much more sullen and silent in his angst, while my younger son is loud, overblown, and sometimes physical.  He's not abusive, but he can be explosive, and that triggers some things from my past that I thought I'd overcome.  I've built a life that doesn't involve violence so when I'm confronted with violent behavior, I'm also confronted with the knee jerk reaction it elicits in me.

My son argues about doing any kind of work pretty much every day, although occasionally he'll have wonderful, positive moments that give me hope for the future.  Right now his immediate response to just about everything is, "It's too hard!", "I can't get it!", or "I'm never going to get this!", and it doesn't seem like any response on anyone's part will break him out of his spiral around the drain of self pity and negativity.  We have a great family counselor and he works with my son weekly, which I really appreciate, but I find myself running low on resources a fair amount of the time.  I wonder if part of it isn't the unusually snowy winter leaving us housebound more often than we're used to.  I love snow, don't get me wrong, but I very much prefer it when living in a state that's equipped to deal with it.

On a positive note, my son seems to have found his sea legs as far as the homeschool group he attends that's mostly teen girls (there's only one other boy and he's a couple of years younger and has a sister).  I also switched up one of our days so that we're doing field trips almost weekly and that seems to bring some much needed positivity to homeschooling.  This week we went the Science Museum in Richmond and we were there until they closed!  My son also mentioned going back twice on the way home, which was a wonderful surprise.  He was engaged in and excited by all of the hands-on exhibits, and he even enjoyed the movie, Violent Universe.  He's really into astronomy so I've contacted the Astronomy department at the University of Virginia about the group mentioned above going to the McCormick Observatory on a field trip.  We'll probably do that in a couple of weeks and he's so excited about it.  I'm always thrilled to find something that leads to him smiling and showing enthusiasm!

Math continues to be a struggle, to the point that my husband considered changing programs again, but after talking about it at length I think he's going to stick with Thinkwell.  I don't think it's the program causing the problem, I think my son will resist any program and find flaws no matter how the information is presented.  I find myself wondering if he needs tough love or an immersion into nothing but things that are big challenges for him, but right now we're staying the course and insisting that he complete a page of copywork a day and otherwise letting him do his own scheduling.

We're going to start reading a book about executive function for teens and I hope to gain a lot of insight into coping mechanisms for him.  Reading the introduction, I found it hard to believe my son's picture wasn't on the cover!

How do you engage your child with ASD?  It's a constant challenge for us, overcoming his pessimism and negativity.