Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Aspergers's Syndrome - Leveling the Playing Field

Dear Readers,

How many of you cringed in school when teams were picked to play softball?  Although the game was played on a smooth, level ball field, the act of choosing sides seemed very rough and not level.

God answered my prayers in 1996 when after living a long life of singleness I met and married my wife. Her son was four years old. Her late husband and her son’s father died from cancer the previous year when their son was three years old.

Being a person almost obsessed with sports, I eagerly anticipated spending life with my new son watching and attending sporting events. But it didn't take very long for me to learn that our son did not share my love of sports.

There were some signs of differences our son had to other children. He was observed frequently holding his ears and rushing madly to the living room picture window to see every airplane en route over our home toward the local airport. He jumped up and shook his hands excitedly when encountering movements on a computer game and he had to be reminded repeatedly to greet and say goodbye to people.

We learned our son had Asperger’s Syndrome an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

Some persons scrutinized our parenting skills and questioned why our son was different and not normal like other children. We got lectures about "socialization" and questions about our son's future.

I'm very glad our son lives in his own non-judgmental world so he doesn't have to be subject to questions and criticisms. I'm glad we are protective of him because I'm not sure what purpose it would serve to subject him to the meanness of some in the name of becoming "tough" and getting a "thick skin".

I still don't understand everything about Asperger's and how to be a good father to our son. But I want his father to greet me in heaven someday and thank me for trying to level the playing field for our son.

“The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth." Isaiah 26:7 (NIV).

See you next time,


Dee Yoder said...

Aww, honey, you made me cry. Love you!

Yvonne Blake said...

*sniff* ...made me cry, too...

You're a great father, Arlen, and a wonderful husband, too.

Laury said...

Wow! You're such a good husband and dad, Arlen.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

What a picture of God's grace! Your amazing son and beautiful wife are blessed to have you!

redeemed one said...

I'm glad you are my brother-in-law and my nephews daddy!

Unknown said...

Well written, Arlen! I have worked with several children and teens with Asperger's Syndrome in the homeschool classes I've taught. I have learned so much from them, and from the parents who love them. When they reach a goal, it is so exciting and gratifying!

You are a kind, loving and patient man, and no doubt, already see many gifts that your son brings to your life and the lives of those around him. I am so glad that God brought you together as a family! said...

Thanks so much Ruth and the rest of you for all the kind words you have said. I still have a long way to go as a father, so I covet your prayers.