Monday, January 19, 2009

Update on Trevor

I haven't updated you all in quite some time about Trevor and the school issues and all that. In this case, no news really is good news. Trevor was transferred to a private school that specializes in kids who have social and emotional issues, some of those kids have Asperger's just like Trev, back in October. He has thrived at this school - he got into trouble ONCE, but realized very quickly what they won't tolerate and hasn't had another problem since then, and that was early on, about 3 or 4 weeks into it. It's been about 3 months now, and Trevor's grades have improved from the C's, D's and F's that he WAS getting to mostly A's and B's! The work that he was getting in the "special" programs they put him in at the public school he attended was not to his level, to say the least. It made me angry to see him not being challenged and motivated to live up to his potential, but every time I complained I was brushed off by being told "he's getting the same work that the kids in the regular classes are getting."

His attitude has improved greatly, he rarely complains about going to school and his headaches have reduced drastically from daily to maybe every other week. Trevor has learned that he loves Math and that his strengths lie in all things mathematical - he can do complicated problems in his head and doesn't understand why it's important (and required) to SHOW THE WORK on paper... he thinks he should just be able to write the answer down and that it's silly to have to spend time proving how he knew it. LOL This is definitely a component of Asperger's, and would have frustrated me years ago. Today, it makes me laugh - and just be firm in my explanation to him that whether he likes it or not, part of being in school is proving how you know the answer to something. He doesn't have to necessarily AGREE with it, but he does have to do it.

Socially, he's come a long way. I believe that starting fresh at a new school has helped a lot, the kids didn't have any pre-conceived notions of Trevor and so were more willing to give him a chance. Trev had a history of inappropriate social behaviors that made him a target for a lot of kids. When someone was laughing at him in a mean way, he'd tend to think they were being nice - and vice versa, if someone was trying to be nice or smile at him, he'd assume they were "talking about him " or "looking at him" in a bad way. It was very hard for him to read social cues - what came naturally to most kids/adolescents was foreign to Trev. Trevor says what he means, too, which is also not always appropriate. Once we (Trev's parents) educated ourselves about Asperger's, we were able to be much more helpful to Trevor. We were able to begin to actually teach him what things aren't appropriate and why - it was really difficult for him, at first, because he was 14 years old when we got the diagnosis. So he was stubborn and adamant that "there's nothing wrong with me!" But after a year of me gently explaining to him over and over again that he's right, there isn't anything WRONG with him, but that he does have some issues that he needs to work on that make his life a little more difficult, he is finally making an effort. By this I mean he tries to listen to what we tell him - it has not been easy, and there have been days when I felt like I just wanted to run away from it all. I bet he felt the same way - and probably still does now and then! LOL Because he's also a teenager - so he's got all that teenage crap going on along with just trying to accept that he has Asperger's and that his life might give him more challenges and roadblocks than others.

But he's come a LONG way. He talks things out now - he makes a huge effort to function in social situations, something a year ago he would have had trouble with. He knows that some things are not appropriate to say - you can't help THINKING them, but you CAN help SAYING them. He has learned to make an effort to make the first move in social situations, by saying hello to someone or asking a question. He still sometimes asks too many questions, but we're working on that. He is also working on the TYPE of questions to ask.... for example, it's not uncommon for him to ask someone how much money they make or whether someone int their family has ever been to jail.... LOL You get the drift. He wants to know - and it's hard for him to truly understand that some things you don't just come right out and ask. He's very literal, too. That used to exasperate me, but now I smile when he corrects someone who has just described something as "black as night" by telling them that "night isn't really black, it's more like the absence of light" or some similar conversation. I usually try to take the person aside, if it's someone who doesn't know/understand Trevor, and explain to them that he's not trying to be fresh or argumentative, he's truly trying to help you understand that night isn't really black. This is part of why he got into trouble in public school, teachers and administrators don't like kids who don't fit the mold, kids who can't sit still or be quiet and accept everything that they are told. Trevor questions everything, and his new school encourages that - they discuss it, openly, in class. The classroms are maybe 10 kids each with 2-4 teachers or aides per class. I've only heard Trev complain about one particular aide - not bad considering the ratio was probably opposite in publich school, where he only LIKED maybe one teacher/aide! LOL

Trevor has a clinician assigned to him who he can go to at any time. They have a separate room where the kids can go to sit and chill out for a few minutes if they just need to get away. They work on points systems and the kids with the highest points get the most freedoms. They have "Fun Friday" where they can play pool, play with the school therapy dog, watch movies, etc. He has made quite a few friends, which has probably been the best thing about it all. He has not had any of the awful experiences that he had in publich school (being hit in the head with a metal lock, being accused of smoking pot by a principal and then proving said principal wrong with a drug test administered by a doctor, etc.).A few weeks ago, we moved to a new town, West Boylston, just one town over from Worcester. West Boylston does not place children at the school that Trevor attends, so we had to have a meeting with WB to discuss why we would like Trevor to stay where he is. One of the women ended up visiting Trevor at his school about a week ago, and I'm really hoping that she sees why we want him to stay there. They have allowed him to stay temporarily and are even providing the bus for him (they have to pay the tuition and bus now because they are the home district school), and they have been wonderful about it all. I just hope with all my heart that they come to the conclusion that Trevor's best interests are being met wonderfully where he is. He has been through so much, I just can't imagine disrupting him now that he's finally feeling good about school, about other kids, about life! We will have another meeting in a few weeks where they will tell us if they agree to leave Trev where he is, or if they think they can provide him the appropriate education that he has a right to. If they want to move him, we won't accept that and we will ask for a mediator. The mediator would come in and hear both sides and make a suggestion. If we still can't agree, we'd have to go to court. But in the meantime, Trevor would be able to stay where he is. So the bottom line is that he'll most likely be able to at least finish out this year where he is... but I'm hopeful that he can finish high school where he is. He's only got 2 years left, I would love for those 2 years to be as successful as this year is turning out to be!

I know I always ended up so long-winded when I'm talking about Trevor, and I apologize for that. But I'm so passionate about it, about everything we've been through! A few people have said to me that Trevor is lucky to have us as parents, and I agree! LOL We're certainly not perfect and God knows we've made mistakes - but we're willing to make them and learn from them and move on with life! And you know, we are just as lucky to have Trevor for a son! The kid has a heart of gold and would give you the shirt right off of his back. He's got a really quirky sense of humor and he makes me laugh all the time. He might complain about emptying the dishwasher, but he'd be the first one to dig my car out of a snowbank if I got stuck. He's unique and special and handsome and bigger than me for crying out loud and I just love him to the ends of the earth. Thanks for reading this far. Peace!


  1. What a wonderful post to read today my friend! I am so glad that things are turning around for Trev. I can personally attest to her kind nature and big heart! Just like his mom!!

    We are taking off to see if I can find a copy of the magazine. I am going crazy not knowing what hundreds of people are talking about when they leave me messages, emails and comment! LOL

  2. jenn thanks for posting an update. keep your chin up. i bet they let him stay. oh, and he is so handsome!!

  3. Wow, thank you for sharing this with us ...I am so happy to see things are getting better HUGS !!
    He truly is a handsome Boy !!