It's a quiet Sunday night. Doug is in the studio making music, me in front of the computer on the day my Hopeful Parent contribution is due, and Jacob is in his room building Bionacle figures. He really enjoys doing this by himself in his room, and he spends a lot of time building figures and watching TV.
I've never really paid much attention to his hobby, until tonight.
This is the first time I've sat down and watched him build his creations, and he really surprised me at how good he is. His pallet of Bionacle pieces is a combination of I don't know how many kits that have been purchased by me or gifted to Jacob over the years. He knows the exact piece he wants, then he finds it in the large plastic bin that stores his vast collection of Bionacle pieces in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and he builds these pretty cool Transformer-looking figures. They can even stand-up on thier own.
I know Jacob could develop this skill into something markable on the job market, and the Robotics Club at Culver High could be a great place to do it. I know that if he gave it a try and stayed with it, he'd like it and do well. But all of the last school year, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't convince Jacob to spend a couple hours on a Monday afternoon checking out a meeting. Nothing worked - not logic, positive reinforcements, bribes, enticements, or promises, nothing could motivate Jacob to attend just one Robotics Club meeting to see if it was something he would enjoy.
This has to be one of the most frustrating aspects to being Jacob's Mom, seeing him not try things that I know he'd like and succeed. He has so much potential, and, with the right support and his own internal motivation, I know he'll be able to accomplish anything. But when I come up across his lack of desire to try anything new, it's always so frustrating.
I understand why he's making the choice in regards to not checking out the Robotic Club, but this is an instance where I really notice his disability. He's doing really well in so many areas. His first year at Culver High went well, and his Manager at his part-time job at Petco really likes him. We don't have as many conflicts, and when we do, he almost always comes to me later to say he was sorry for being so difficult or getting angry. I see so much growth from where he was just a couple of years ago. I'm really proud of him, and I expect him to continue to grow and mature.
But in this one area, it's still a challenge. I still see how rigid his is. I see how he still needs to learn more about having healthy relationships. For him to reach his fullest potential, he needs to be at the College Intership Program so he can be immersed in social thinking. He'll need support in executive functioning and academics. He'll need to be living with a roommate surrounded by peers he respects and wants to have relationships. And, last but not least, he needs to be educated on healthy eating, good nutrician and exposure to regular exercise. The last one I've really let slide. At least now I'm with a program that can help fix in Jacob what I couldn't correct myself. Lucky me!
Jacob has come so far.
As he sits in his room on a calm Sunday night, I appreciate all that is good in Jacob's life. At the same time, I imagine the good that might be.
Besides being Jacob's Mom, Susan is Program Director of the College Internship Program Long Beach which just opened on August 1. She is on a temporary hiatus from blogging at Taking the Awe out of Autism but will resume when CIP is up and running smoothly in another few months.
Thanks again, Susan for sharing your story.ReplyDelete
I sense a lot of similarity and gain a huge amount of peace from your posts.
I agree, getting an child with autism to actually try something that YOU think might be fun or useful, is almost impossible. Too often we've had to let our teenage daughter make bad choices because she wouldn't take any advice. It's frustrating.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your story. My son is much younger but I look forward to all he is going to accomplish.ReplyDelete
It's great the success you've had with his development.ReplyDelete
I know having him be willing to immerse himself with everything/everyone is quite a challenge.
however, you're doing a great job. I wish you the best!