This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guestpost: "Do You Understand Me, Son?" by Dee Yoder

Please Welcome Guest Blogger, Dee Yoder.

My son has Asperger’s Syndrome. His is a high-functioning form that has caused him trouble with obsessions, as well as over-sensitivity to light and sound. We spent 3rd - 12th grade homeschooling because his overly stimulated brain had been turning him into a robot—shutting down his responses—in order for him to cope with perceived chaos in the traditional classroom. Needless to say, there were challenges along the way, but he made it to his senior year and is a graduate of the class of 2011. It took prayer and consistent support for all of us to succeed.


Becoming a grown-up is difficult for anyone, but the added challenges of Asperger’s often make this process seem, at times, impossible. Learning to drive has become a year-long progression. Apprehension of unfamiliar experiences often holds him back, causing stress anytime he is asked to drive. But he is slowly learning to adjust to the nuances of handling a machine the size of our minivan. He is coming along, and I have no doubt he will succeed, but it takes time and patience.


Signing up for tests and course work at the local community college has also brought its share of difficulties. His dad and I watched as the admission clerk gave him instructions in rapid-fire succession. His instinct was to look to us for intervention, but we figured he could handle the pressure, so we quietly stepped back from the desk and let him deal with her on his own. 

We saw the confusion and indecision flash across his face from time to time, but we held our positions. Sure enough, he was able to pull himself together and adjust his focus. When our son turned from the desk, clutching the information packet tightly in both hands, I was joyful because he had finished the task on his own. No matter that few of her instructions stuck with him, he had managed an adult decision. 


He did well on his ACTs, but had to retake a math placement test. The second time around, he couldn’t wait to call me as he and his dad traveled home. In his voice I heard pride and recognition of his own abilities as he read me his high scores. I smiled and cried for his victory.


But there have been what I call blank days, too. These are days when, no matter how often I request something from him, or how carefully I word the request, he looks back at me with a blank stare. His brain simply can’t comprehend my appeal. Frustration often rises to the surface then, and I hear myself impatiently asking “Do you understand me, Son?” 


There is triumph and victory in little things, and like all young adults, discouragement, as well. But there is never a day when his dad and I aren’t proud of our son’s accomplishments as we look forward to sharing many more days of discovery with this extraordinary young man!

About Dee Yoder
I am a writer with my Amish novel, The Miting, represented by The Hartline Literary Agency, with Terry Burns, as my agent. I'm currently editing my second novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity. I also write short story fiction for the Faithwriters Writing Challenge. My work has been published in The Evangel, Good Tidings, and The Quill magazines. I'm happily married to Arlen, and I enjoy home educating my teen son, Joseph.

Dee's Blog: My Heart's Dee-Light

14 comments:

What an inspiration to those of us with younger children with struggles - to hear of the progress you and Joseph have made. I can hear your heart for him, and your ache. I know you and Arlen have done FABULOUS with your wonderful boy.

Thanks for being willing to share!

Thank you, Jo. An update on Joseph: he has started college classes and is doing well with them. We rode the city bus with him to make sure he knew the route and he now well-adjusted to the routine. Still working on the driver's license!

Thanks for sharing, Dee. Joseph's story is very encouraging to me. My son Daniel (age 12) also has Asperger's Syndrome. At the moment, he's doing very well, but a few months ago he was really struggling. His passions change from time to time, and when he's in transition, his moods become volatile and he gets depressed; once he finds a new passion to explore, he becomes happier. His last passion was history and archaeology; after a few months of floundering once this passion had faded, he has settled nicely into a passion for astronomy. So, we've bought him a telescope and will attend a meeting of the local astronomy club. Daniel says this is "it," the passion that he'll carry through life; while I encourage him in his plans to open his own observatory and planetarium some day (I'll be the first in line to buy tickets), I also remind myself that he said the same thing a year ago about history, and I try to be prepared for another transition.

Thank you for your kind comments, Melinda. My son, too, has gone through a series of passions (good way to describe it!). He had one that stayed with him through the years, graphics on the computer, so he is now studying Graphic Design. But he also retains a passion for cities and skyscrapers. He has an amazing amount of knowledge about the topics he is interested in, as I'm sure your son does, too.

I pray good things for your son. When he grows into the man he is meant to be, he will be a wonderful asset to our society.

What a journey this has been and continues to be. Your story will bring hope to others who are walking the same path, Dee.

Like one of my boys said to me once after I'd disciplined him, "Joo job, Mama." Good job.

"Joo job," Dee!

Wonderful post, Dee. I've never been in a situation to have to deal with something like Aspergers, but I did have an ADD son which presented many interesting problems. He's an adult now and still I have to "check in" with him to make sure he's listening and registering what I said!!

He's grown to be an amazing young man--worth all the struggle, as I'm sure you're discovering as well. Blessings to you and your family.

Thanks for the intimate look into your family's struggles, Dee. I'm cheering with Joseph as well. And grateful that the Lord gave him such incredible parents :) He's a fantastic guy and is sure to have many, many more moments of triumph!

Wonderful story Dee about your much loved son and his struggles, which you and your husband carry along with him.

Dee, Joseph never ceases to amaze me. Watching him grow and mature over the years has been so good. He's wonderful. =]

Thanks for the comments. It is sometimes difficult to know how to handle each new situation, but with those new challenges comes great satisfaction at the accomplishments. Joseph's a wonderful young man. He rarely gives up or voices frustration. God has blessed us!

Dee, Thanks for sharing your story with us. Joseph is a special young man!

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

God really knew what He was doing when He placed that precious son in your lives.

I have a cousin with Asperger's and know the challenges they've faced. How wonderful that your son is doing well in college! You're an amazing mom! Thanks for this honest and inspiring post.

Thanks for sharing Dee! What an amazing work God can do in our children- and us- when we are thrown into being totally dependent on Him. Our daughter doesn't have Aspergers- she has downs syndrome, but the struggles in this journey we call life have made the victories all the sweeter! Thanks for sharing!