For years I've watched my son struggle to fit in. From the first day I dropped him at day care when he was two years old to the day I pulled him out of public school in the fourth grade; it's always been him "outside the box". No one, no mother, wants to see her child suffer in any way-no matter how big or small that struggle is. When your child doesn't fit in, and they know it, it breaks your heart. [caption id="attachment_2278" align="aligncenter" width="300"] We tried sports. Notsomuch.[/caption] We spent years trying to get answers, but all we got in return were parent/teacher conferences. My son's life was filled with misdiagnoses and misunderstandings. Teachers never really knew how to relate to him and kids didn't get him. Heck, sometimes our own family members didn't really get him. We went through the years of sneers and jabs about his behavior, and it sucked. There were days I just wanted it to be easy for him. He's always been a great kid, but just never really quite fit in. I used to hate that for him! I used to cry myself to sleep at night because he seemed so sad. An Aspie kid stuck in a world that hadn't even accepted that term yet. Today, my son is 14 years old. He still doesn't fit in, but now, I'm glad! When you have a child with Asperger's, you yearn to see them make a connection with another child. You get excited when you meet that one person who appreciates him. You wait for the day that simple everyday social activities won't be such a struggle. You dream of a life filled with birthday parties and sleepovers, but your child is never invited. It breaks your heart and you get mad at the world. But, your child will begin to grow in spite of a world that tries to stifle him. My son has not conformed to the world. He is who he is! He has an amazing sense of humor and stunning good looks. Sure his timing is all wrong and sometimes awkward, but he doesn't' care. I love that! Social settings are still a challenge. He doesn't have many friends, but he seems fine with it. It took him a year and a private tour to warm up to his 8th grade Sunday School class, but he finally went. Now he goes every Sunday, and loves it. He takes the world in when he's good and ready! I've learned to let him grow at his own pace, but I still find myself pushing him to join this group or go to that party. My suggestions are always quickly dismissed, and sometimes I'm disappointed. I fight for him to be like everyone else, but then I realize how blessed I am to have a teenager who'd rather just hang out at home then go to a party. I have a teenager who doesn't have punk friends that I don't approve of. I don't have nightmares about what he's doing while he's out "at the movies". I’m not worried he’s having sex. He doesn’t cuss or disrespect authority. I'm sure those dreaded teen years will come. But right now I'm thankful for the social delays of a special needs child who's still finding his way in the world. Those delays we wish would speed up really come in handy when your child is growing up! Today, I'm thankful he doesn't fit in. I hope he never does! Adrienne is a homeschooling mother of two and blogger at www.themommymess.com, where she writes about the mess of motherhood, marriage, and all things mom! You can also find her as @TheMommyMess on twitter and connect with her on Facebook.
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