Yes, we are still alive!  This post should be talking about oh-so many things…Scout’s 11th birthday, the fact that he’s been seeing a social worker who has referred us to yet another doctor that specializes in OCD and tics that he believes may be coming on from his meds, Scout acing the Geography Bee at his school and now going on to State in less than a week…all such important things to share, but alas….not tonight.  My school studies have taken so much of my time that I haven’t been able to share much of Scout’s adventures these days…I will get to it, I promise–but for now there is something else I want to make sure you all know about!

Recently my friend James contacted me about a fabulous school called Minnesota Life College.  Being that April is Autism Awareness month we thought it would be a great time to shed a little light on this gem.  In reading about this place I felt honored to share what I’ve learned.

Minnesota Life College, or MLC, is a not-for-profit vocational and life-skills training program for young adults with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.  Not only do they help them learn and grow in a safe and caring environment, MLC partners with organizations and business to help facilitate the graduates find work.  Many graduates go on to live in an extension of the community called GLC, the Graduate Living Community.  For you parents out there wondering just where your child will fit in once they finish high school, doesn’t this just sound like a dream??

Watching these video success stories of Jason and Anna-Lisa is so heartwarming.

I have to say, even though Scout has got a few years before I have to start worrying about the college thing (OK, you got me…I started worrying about college the day he got his diagnosis!) it really surprises me that this school is right outside my back door and I have never heard of it.  I don’t know if he’ll need such a place or not, but it sure makes me breathe a bit easier knowing it’s there.  Please spread the word and let people know this is there for them!!!

Ooooh boy.  The Temptations are starting to spread in ways that could eventually get much worse results for Scout than a sore tongue.  Yesterday I come home from work to find out about an incident at school in which some kid stuck a pencil in his butt.  No, it was not Scout, but I guess he and his friend made a big deal out of it somehow and caused quite a distraction in the classroom, prompting the teacher to have them write out an apology of sorts.

It wasn’t the distraction that I’m worried about–I mean really, who wouldn’t laugh at a kid with a pencil in his butt?!–but it was the ‘apology’ that was anything but.  (or, butt??  Sorry, couldn’t resist.)  It was rife with sarcasm and the only heartfelt part about it was the fact that Scout vehemently did NOT want to admit he did anything wrong.  As usual, everyone else is wrong, and he is right.  This is his immediate response to anything that happens where he knows, deep down inside, that he is in the wrong.  He just can’t even admit it to himself and instead lashes out at everyone else.

This really worries me.  As I always think, how in the world will he keep a job someday if constructive criticism causes him to react like that??  Well, he won’t.  And there I go again, worrying about something years down the road…but it’s so hard not to.  To me, this is just another Temptation.

I mean, as any of you dear readers know, Scout is a very smart kid.  He knows right from wrong.  So why would he do this when he knows it is disrespectful and will get him into trouble?  Because he just can’t resist.  He feels he has no control over it.  This could potentially get him into so much trouble not only with others, but himself.  Very scary for a parent!!!

Next week we are taking him to a new psychologist to give him someone to talk to, someone who might be a better fit than the last.  It’s not something we want to mess around with.  Maybe it’s getting worse now because at almost-11 his adolescent hormones are starting to rage??   Better try to nip that in the bud now!!

Sigh, it never ends.  Just when you think things are going well, something else pops up to deal with.  But looking at it from the more positive side, these things coming up are giving us the opportunity to get help for Scout now, before things get worse.  I do believe things happen for a reason–who knew a boy sticking a pencil in his rear would create such an opportunity??!

I’m sure most of you remember the scene from A Christmas Story where Flick gets dared to stick his tongue on the frigid pole in the schoolyard. It’s a classic.  Eeeeu, you think.  I’ll never try that. You think that because you are not a 10 year old boy.  And if you DID try it and proved to yourself that, yes, the tongue really does painfully stick to the pole just like in the movie, you most likely would never do it again.  You think that because you are not my 10 year old boy who has what he calls ‘Temptations’.

A couple of years ago he did this at his bus stop.  The house up the street where he waits has a pole right in their yard–apparently a very tempting pole to stick one’s tongue to.  The first time he did this I chalked it up to a boy just being a boy….or even a curious person just being curious.  Who wouldn’t want to know if something like that really worked?  (in fact, I guess I’ve gotta hand it to him– I would have been way too chicken as a kid to even try it!)  The incident happened when he got off his bus–he was a couple of minutes late and came home crying with blood running from his mouth.  I admit that I tried not to laugh as I consoled him and figured he definitely learned his lesson.

So then just the other day he shows me marks on his tongue and says he did it again–bragging, in a way–and that he had one of the girls run across the street to get a cup of warm water to pour on there so he could get it off…this time he knew what to do.  But this was before school, I would have been SO angry if he would have made himself and the girl miss the bus!!!  He was a bit confused that he got no sympathy from me about the whole business.  Good grief.

Ahhh, the Temptations. I kind of thought the meds he’s been on had nipped those in the bud, for the most part.  Indeed he hasn’t been obsessive about doing things he knows would be unpleasant like he was pre-meds.  But this incident really irritated me–this time not only did it involve him, but someone else as well.  And it scares me–it’s sticking his tongue on a pole now, but what will it be later??  Let’s hope this time he really has satisfied his curiosity about that whole thing.  And all this without even a ‘double dog dare’.

Well, after weeks of NOT studying for the school Geography Bee, Scout has WON.  Yes indeed, he is the Geography Bee Champion!!!  C-man and I were just shocked, as I mentioned he hadn’t really been preparing for it ahead of time.  Amazing!

Of course I am beyond proud of him.  The suspense of the whole thing as the kids get eliminated one by one just about kills me.  It started out with ten kids and eventually got down to two, Scout and a girl.  Some of the questions the kids got two answers to choose from, some not, some they wrote down the answer.  It’s all very official.  I honestly could have only answered a few of those questions that were asked, it’s unbelievable how these little kids just rattle off the answers.

And of course Scout was his complete Ham Self the entire time–dramatically putting his head down on the table if he missed an answer, clapping or fist-pumping when he was correct, even eagerly shouting out an answer before the end of the question was even read. (show-off!!)  The boy needs to reign it in–he’d better go out for theater!–but of course it was adorable and fun to see him so into it, even though he had been rubbing his eyes and saying how tired he was!

Probably the MOST proud I was was when he first realized he won, when he turned to his opponent and congratulated her.  All on his own, no prompting.  And when all of the kids gathered together for their group yearbook photo, they all congratulated Sullivan with words and high fives.  Oh, to see my son part of the group, happy and accepted–heck, LOOKED UP TO by his peers.  It was a shining moment.

He received a certificate and a medal which he wore proudly.  As we walked the halls and he told his beloved teacher and adults at the school who work with him in one way or another he was in the clouds, everyone was so proud of him.  He showed us the plaque where his name will be engraved along with the other previous winners, and was off to do the morning announcements.

This was His Moment.  He will never score a touchdown or the winning basket, but he is one smart cookie.  And I am SO proud of that. And the fact that it all just comes naturally to him is amazing to me.

So now, Scout will take a written test to see if he qualifies to enter the State Wide Spelling Bee.  If he wins that he would be onto the National one!  Honestly though, I don’t care if he goes any further.  He is ALWAYS a winner in my book!

Best part of all… I got to be there!  Last year I was so sad, as I had to work and miss out on the event.  It meant to the world to me to be there.  (no pun intended.)

Oh dear.  I should be getting ready for work right now but before I do I just have to vent to you a bit, my dear readers.  Scout came upstairs with his iPod and portable speaker device and put them in his backpack.  This is to bring to music class, to perform a dance that he’s learned from the Wii game ‘Just Dance’ to his favorite song by the obscure group Junior Senior called ‘Move Your Feet’.

In other words, he’s off to commit Social Suicide.

I remember the last time he broke out into a Just Dance dance.  I posted about that too–it was at a school function and I painfully watched from afar as boys made fun of him and he was oblivious.  Hey, at least this time I don’t have to watch, right?

Recently Scout announced that he was going to do this.  Apparently another boy did…his dance was to “I’m Sexy and I Know it”, by LMFAO.  I guess it could be worse.

Last night C-man and I decided we should probably warn Scout about the possible consequences.  Once again, it’s that tough balance between being so happy that your child wants to do something they are proud of and don’t care what anyone thinks, and worrying about their well-being in this world of bullying.  We tried to explain in the most supportive way, just this.  The fact of the matter is, if Scout performs this dance, there will be many kids making fun of him.  We laid it on the line–and still Scout shrugged and said he didn’t care.

He saw my face this morning as he shoved his musical gear into his backpack.  “Don’t worry, Mom!”  he said to me.  I can’t help it.  All day it will worry me.  At least I guess I should be happy that he was able to read the look on my face, something many Aspies have a hard time doing.

Oh how I love that he doesn’t care what people think, oh how I wish I could be like that.  It’s a wonderful trait that he, as an Aspie, has. (maybe not all Aspies do, but I have a feeling if he didn’t have Asperger’s Syndrome he would be more aware of the social ramifications!)

Oh, how I wish the world was a friendlier place and kids let kids express themselves without ridicule.

I’ll be anxious all day to hear how it went.  Of course from Scout’s perspective, it will be great.  Everyone will love the music and his dance will be perfect.  Because he’s only in his own perspective.

A while ago I met a woman through my friend Stephanie at a fancy food event.  She had created a hilarious cake and is well known in the food blogging community for her talents.  Little did I know when I met her that she has Asperger’s Syndrome, a fact I found out not long after.  She is a Facebook friend and of course, blogs about food.  Recently, however, she posted a link to her blog and her entry was about being an Aspie.  It’s such a wonderful and inspiring post about her life and how she really feels inspired to help parents realize that having Asperger’s Syndrome is not a curse!  I completely agree with her sentiments and am grateful for her candid sharing and willingness to help others.

Celebration Generation:  Food, Life, Kitties!

Go Marie!!!!

I love drugs.  Sure, it’s always wonderful when you can get by in your life without the support of any controlled substance, but when you need them–you need them.  Recently we decided to see if meds could give Scout some peace with his anxiety issues, and boy am I glad we did.

At Scout’s tender age of five, the doctor who bestowed him his label spent the first 40 minutes of our appointment explaining all of the tests and observations that were involved with getting the diagnosis.  In the final 10 he told us our son had Asperger’s Syndrome, told us his printer was broken so he couldn’t give us any information about it, and informed us that Scout could be on medication.  Any questions?  Needless to say we were horrified and left there with more questions than answers.  With even our doctor not recognizing the fact that Scout was on the spectrum because he is so high functioning, I know both C-man and I didn’t necessarily think drugs needed to be part of the plan.  It’s not that we were against them…but it was definitely not something we were going to jump into lightly.

And we never needed to.  For the last 5 years OT, social services and summer school seemed to be helping Scout along quite nicely.  But of course with age comes more understanding.  And with understanding comes fear.  I don’t blame Scout one bit, this world of ours can be an awfully scary place.  Especially when you see the world as intricately as he does.  I feel blessed that I don’t, to be honest.

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