Professor Mom

Chronicles the life of a mom, teacher, and writer trying to stay sane amid the chaos of daily life.

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mouse's picture mouse

I've been reading and watching so much about Asperger's lately. And it's struck me that so many of the experts present an upbeat, optimistic take on the information they're giving and make sure that they point out the advantages of Aspie characteristics, but the application in the real world is so much more mixed--most of them don't deal with what happens when the individual is in a rigid environment that just is not going to bend or step back and appreciate the quirks.

I was an excellent student, but mostly because I craved adult approval more than almost anything, and performing well academically was a quick way to get it. I would like Scooter to have a different motivation, but I know this will mean I have to deal with situations where he doesn't comply with teachers because it's not interesting. On his mid-year standardized testing, he scored well on most areas, except for two his teacher pointed out in our conference. For a shape-sorting exercise and writing his responses to prompts, he wanted to go play, so he put them in random stacks/wrote single words instead of sentences and insisted he was done.

I'm already contemplating how I'll find the balance between emphasizing the importance of academics and encouraging him to be himself in these situations.

(P.S. Are there any magnets in your area, specifically a math-science one? I remember that where Trillian and I had out first house, there was one starting in 6th or 7th grade. I imagine that the sooner L. can get into some specialized studies, the better motivated he'll be.)


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Thanks for your wonderful insight, as always. The real challenge we face with L. is lack of motivation--he seems to be missing the genes for trying to self-start, pleases others, complete tasks...! He has zero motivation for completing anything that falls outside of his often narrow range of interests--which is a common issue with individuals with Asperger's. So we have to work very hard to come up with creative ways to motivate him and, alas, this only works well if his teacher is willing to work just as hard.

There are one or two math/science magnets--but he needs the grades to get into them, so we have a catch-22 of sorts...I think there are some middle school options that seem good--including our base school which is quite good. We just need to get through elementary school--somehow, some way.