Wednesday, June 9, 2010

End of Semester Review

Six months ago, Dreamer was a bit of a mess. Dragged his feet out of bed each morning, off to school (usually late, because he'd get distracted and not have his shoes on when it was time to go), arrive home, fall on the bed, sleep. Nagged awake, nagged into the shower, he'd stay there through dinner time, and be out in time to microwave re-heat his food and eat alone. Sleep, rinse and repeat.


We found a nice psychiatrist, to help with his disability pension application, and she promptly diagnosed him (on top of his ADHD and Aspergers) with major depression and OCD, and talked him into trying an SSRI

He was rapt. He thought it was more than wonderful. He's only missed about two days since February, which is amazing considering he has the attention span of a goldfish.

He told me that the kids at school were rapt that he started talking back to them. His social life has improved ridiculously. Amazing what happens when you actually talk to people.

I've been enjoying the change so much, so happy to see him happy, and thrilled to have him going out and doing normal, teenage, social things. For the first time in his life.

I suppose I knew that we'd have to address the academic issue eventually, but no way was I going to slam down on his new social life to have him catch up on school work. One thing at a time...I wanted him to enjoy his new-found confidence and self-esteem first.

So this week is end of semester exam block, and I can see the reality-check hitting him over the head. He's probably an inch shorter each day when he gets home from school.

I don't know, maybe he thought that with everything going so well, he'd magically pass his exams, and his assignments would magically get done in 10 minutes.

Uhuh. I'll wait for the report card next month, but my feeling is that the marks will be better (as he's been more available for learning in class), but they won't be pass marks. I haven't actually seen him doing any assignment work or homework.

Current status:
Social life - big tick
Happy and confident teenager - tick (except for exam week).

Next priority:
Getting the OCD out of the house.
Maybe in the holidays I'll help him sort out his room, and possibly even throw away some of the junk thats so 'precious'. There are things lurking in the cupboard that have been there for eight years - paperclips, silver paper and other 'shiny things' that were the collectables of the day back in Grade Four.

We could symbolise some fresh starts. Change some habits. He has admitted that (since medication) he doesn't have to do things, but is doing them from habit. Some days he's fabulous, and others he slips back into old habits. 

We could also do some work on timetables. Previous attempts have been abject failures. That'd be something to do with the fact that you actually have to read them (not put them away under a stack of books), and keep track of time.

Next semester:
Academics. Making attempts on things that have been brick walls for so long that he's afraid to even try. It's going to take bucket-loads of encouragement. And reminders. And probably timetables.

Do you think I could get a 'My Frontal Lobe' app for his phone? Because mine is sorely over-taxed.


  1. What an uplifting post! Glad things are improving on the social front. Hopefully academic improvements will follow (I suspect they will).

    The attention span issues do not surprise me. With AS and OCD, whew. That is enough to distract even the most attentive minds.

    Sending good thoughts for continued successes!

  2. Oh man... when you are 30, no one cares about your grade 12 academics...

    I know that's not the way to think, but feeling the confidence exuding from your post, I would also be thanking my lucky stars and the SSRIs and taking the social wins.

    NT kids screw up year 12. It ain't the end of the earth, and he's not doing it yet.


  3. I'm with you on the happiness. Social is far more important than grades!

    How wonderful to find you - reading someone who has an older child is so helpful. Welcome!

  4. I think sometimes we forget (well, at least I do) that social interactions and communicating with others is THE best education of all. I was a good student (a fierce one at times) and got good grades. But I remember this lightening bulb moment, when a TEACHER is the 12th grade told my class and I this: "Really, what is the purpose of going to school doing the lessons and the homework? Basically, this is here to teach you to think for yourself, see options, and work at get along with others. The three most important things ever."

    I took those words to heart.

    Sounds like you and your kiddo are in a nice path. Gives me hope.

  5. I'm very much in agreement that once you're out of the education system, nobody cares about marks/grades. The conundrum is that he wants to be a scientist, so we have to find some way to get him into University. Maybe not next year, and not via the usual pathway of getting good marks in school. I have a few plans bubbling away. Even have time on our side, because he'll only be 17.5 when he finishes 12th grade, so he can easily spend another year or two working towards getting to Uni.

  6. Lisa,

    If you can, sign him up for an appointment with Tony Attwood (or at least his clinic Minds and Hearts at West End). By the time it comes around, it you will be a giant step closer to Uni. He's awfully helpful at advocating for smart but distracted Aspies who have the specific but not the general skills to get into Uni.


  7. We have a Plan A. He's doing a Uni Chemistry subject at school. If he manages to pass that... we add that to the Distinctions he gets in the national Chemistry competitions... His Chem. teacher is a gem and loves him. Told him if he didn't enter the competitions she'd come round and beat him up.
    Plan B involves Certificates and Diplomas at TAFE which give credits toward Uni. courses.

  8. I love your plan and this post Lisa. That is so wonderful about the social interaction and your plan to get him where he dreams of being is great.