Last week whizzed by in something of a blur. By Wednesday I still hadn’t heard from Eldest, and a little thought began to buzz around my head unpleasantly – something akin to the mosquito that buzzes in your ear in the middle of the night.
Since the beginning of term, he had not called home. I had phoned a couple of times but not been able to command his attention for more than a minute or so. Now, on the whole this does not trouble me. When he first started at residential school he needed to call home every night, and last year he was speaking to me twice a week and to his Nanny twice a week. The reality is that when he forgets to phone home it’s because he’s happy, busy and settled – all good things. But three weeks was pushing it a bit!!
There are a number of issues going on here. Eldest has Asperger’s syndrome, and caring about other people in a practical way requires a conscious and concerted effort. Add a big dose of adolescent laziness to the equation and it stands to reason that communication is going to be minimal! But this very syndrome means that we need to teach him the importance of connecting to others, and maintaining the connection with people who care for you and can help you when things are tough. So phone calls home are something he needs to learn to consider important.
His very real success at school is in great part due to the fact that he does not come home very often. This gives him the consistency in life that he needs to make real progress in all areas of his life. Our phone calls area big part of that routine, though as they allow him to keep a toe dipped in the waters of home.
Not to mention a couple of sensitive issues that play into this but cannot be aired in the public forum that is the blogosphere (oh my goodness, first time I’ve used THAT word!!! – slippery slope, people, slippery slope!).
All of this mild maternal unease was brought into sharp focus following a call from school to let me know that Zack was refusing to phone home. Cue an afternoon of increasing anxiety and normal human upset, and I found myself calling that wonderful, wonderful place and having a good heart to heart with the house manager.
Phew! My son is a pain in the butt teenager with Asperger’s syndrome. Nothing more or less!!
We agreed on a mandatory phone call home on Saturday evening and one past the surly grumpiness I was able to have a really good catch up with him. First on the agenda was a description of his weekend away at his friend’s house. Seemingly this was a huge success. Much of Friend’s extended family was there to celebrate a birthday, and Zack shared Friend’s room very happily. Computer games were played, food was eaten, sleep was… not on the agenda!! I’m really proud of how well he conducted himself – the lad’s growing!
As huge as this achievement was, it pales compared to Eldest’s news from last week. He, of all the boys at school, has been chosen to pilot a new scheme designed to nurture potential musical talent. The music teacher will take him out of ICT class once a week to give him a full 45 minutes one to one music lesson. It’s now a week since I heard this news, and it still makes me buzz – I’m over the moon to see this little boy make his journey towards young manhood with such confidence and positivity.
All thanks to his amazing school..