Turning Twenty

My second child's birthday is today. He's 20 which means we now have only one teenager. He was born on the most beautiful Sunday and was the perfect baby. But there were subtle signs early on that something was not quite right. At the age of 4, he was diagnosed with ADHD and we made the decision to medicate him. I know that not every parent would have made that decision, but we felt it was best for him and for our family. Still, he was immature and struggled socially in elementary school. Just before his 14th birthday, he was given the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that some place on the autistic spectrum. It was a huge blow and when we got the diagnosis, all I could hear were doors closing. We were able to find private schools for his middle school and high school years that provided a smaller class size. We also got therapy services from a psychologist and social skills groups. Our son joined the cross country team at his high school at our insistence, and although he wanted to quit after the first practice, went on to dedicate himself to the sport. We carefully researched and chose a college that provides a supportive atmosphere and then held our breath when he left us last summer. He managed to get along with a roommate, attend all of his classes, get a terrific grade point average, make some new friends and contribute to the cross country team. It meant so much to me last fall when the cross country captain went out of his way to tell me that my son was such a motivation for others on the team. Once again, this summer, our sweet boy stretched his limits and became a camp counselor. I've never heard him so happy and enthusiastic as when he talks about his experiences with the kids. He's made some mature and thoughtful decisions. Of course, we have no way of knowing what his future holds, but it certainly looks bright.

Comments

  1. Congratulations! It sounds as if you have a beautiful child and he was very lucky to have such supportive parents!

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  2. My seven year old was just diagnosed ADHD and I was directed here by a friend. We also have paperwork in for Asperger's testing. A friend of our family is just a year younger than your son, and he also has Aspergers. I applaud you, and his mother, for being so proactive in his life. He too has grown to be a very well functioning person-albeit with a few quirks-but is getting along just fine in college. Congratulations, you must be so proud!

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  3. Susan - I do not have any children - reading your blog post today made me both happy and sad for you - your son is a very lucky fellow to have such caring and concerned parents who have tried hard and chosen the best path possible for his needs. I hope he continues to shine and that he finds his way in life. Hugs Mel

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  4. I wish all the best for you and for your son. I am sure you have had your ups and downs with him.

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