As a mother of an Asperger child, I have experienced a different path than I ever expected in childing rearing. I was a teacher for many years and had two children before our third came along. I was even a bit proud of my ability to work with difficult students and extended my certifications to include special ed, gifted, ESOL, elementary ed and early childhood. When Ridge came along, even with all my experience and knowledge, I fell short. He struggled in school with true dyslexia and the social skills were always lacking. He was in 2nd grade before we finally got a diagnosis that fit of Aspergers. The school he attended did nothing but make his life worse and finally his behavior had escalated out of control. Luckily, my niece told me about Applied Behavior Analysis and we hired a very gifted therapist that helped us. I went back to school and became a BCBA and started a new paradigm in the way I learned to parent.
It was not an easy road and I battled schools, depression, and cancer along the way but at this point all of our lives are more settled. Ridge is now happily navigating in a public high school, playing football and making good grades. I have started writing to share ideas to other parents that may be on the same journey. My hope is to offer information that could make lives better and to create a supportive community of hope.
I am not a fan of many of the organizations for autism. I don’t want theory, walks to raise money, or blue light bulbs. I want to share information that can be related to and hands on activities that can be used right now. I am keenly aware of the statistics that show a bleak future for people on the spectrum to ever live independently. It is my goal to “raise wolves” that will be successful in the world.
Imagine if you got a new puppy thinking it was an Akita. It looks like all the other pups but you start noticing differences as it grows. This could be scary and frustrating until you find out that the domestic pup is a wild wolf! Suddenly the behaviors make sense because you understand that your pup is different.
I chose the wolf as a symbol because like our children, wolves don’t like eye contact. They have sharp intelligence and highly advanced senses. Wolves won’t be trained with force or coercion but can learn with positive reinforcement and respect. They are ritualistic in nature and friendly. They are wild with a spirit of freedom to live in their own way without caring what the rest of the world thinks. Wolves don’t trust easily. They run in clans that all share in upbringing of the young. The pups are highly valued and catered to. They greatly depend on the pack for their food and teachings in order to survive.
The wolf path requires freedom, toughness, endurance, and strategy. As parents we want to prepare our children for what lies ahead. It is an unknown world with many challenges and crisis. We must raise our children to have the strength and audacity to brave it all. We may howl along the way- sometimes in pain, sometimes in celebration.Our cries can be primal and penetrating.
We all must learn to hear and follow the voice within ourselves and use our intuition to find answers that we won’t get anywhere else. Discovering our inner power is demanded in order to walk this path and much will be given in return. We aren’t looking for fights but will not be overrun. We can be loyal to the pack but not give up our own identity. We must take risks and face our deepest fears as we walk at times a lonely path , undeterred by the beliefs, judgements, and views of others. Let us go forward as we learn new ideas and then teach them to others. Our pack can become strong and cunning as we follow our passions to help our pups thrive.