Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I Love My Kids and Protecting Them Is Part of My Job

See, this is why I worry about my son so much. It's what most people don't understand. I have seen the aggression from strangers who 'think' they know what or why my son has done, said or is doing something yet they have been totally wrong. People with AS get internally anxiety ridden as the norm in their day to day life. How that shows on the outside is often irritable or angry and such. I've watched a full grown man accost my son in the elevator at his doctors office for acting annoyed when the guy got too close on the elevator. I worry every day that at some point my son will be hurt and I won't be able to help or get to him, yet people want to tell me to disconnect. They have no idea what that feels like... 

I am posting this with permission from Gavin's mom. Gavin is one of Jonathan's best friends and like a second son to me. They have been side by side all through their school years. I was so proud of both of them when they graduated this year. They both worked so hard to achieve that goal. When I first saw the post from Gavin's mom I had so many mixed emotions....once I got past the anger I just cried. As the mother of a son with disabilities too my heart was broken for Gavin and his mom. I have always said "NOT ALL DISABLILITIES ARE PHYSICAL". Both boys have never asked for anything but to be accepted for who they are--great guys. Being a child with a disability in this crazy world is tough enough...imagine facing it as a adult. If I get through to just one person tonight that THIS IS NOT OK then I have accomplished my goal with this post. I commend Gavin for the decision he made for the punishment. Will the kids that did this to him learn? I can only hope and pray. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as they all have to heal from this horrible incident. Thank you to his mom for allowing me to share. We love you Gavin and know Jonathan and I are always in your corner!!!
His mom's post:
We found out that Gavin had Asperger's & ADHD when he was 3 yrs old, and growing up, we've had as many wonderful times as we've had difficult/frustrating times. You can't "see" Asperger's since it's not a visible disability, it's a social/emotional one that makes relationships difficult to attain. It doesn't prohibit his movement, or ability to walk, but it makes everyday interactions with people very difficult. He can appear rude, impatient, "weird", detached, or uninterested, but this is not intentional. He can also be kind, generous, and forgiving, but even this can appear awkward at times because some of it is learned and not always natural. Keeping longtime friends is tough because of his tendency to isolate yourself. Gavin has spent years learning what society thinks is appropriate and not appropriate, and so he doesn't offend anyone or stick out in social situations. Being a teenager with Asperger's is tough because all the sudden people around you are consistently "breaking" all the social do's and don'ts you've spent years learning.
On Thursday night, some kids were talking about how "it's weird" that he is always by himself, attending events alone and watching people, and it was "creepy" how he wanted to be friends with people he didn't know. On Friday night, another kid that overheard that conversation decided to take matters into his own hands and become judge and jury, and this is the result of that. He didn't ask questions, didn't get to know Gavin, never met him, and didn't give him a chance to leave. He was called to meet someone, surrounded by people he didn't know, choked, punched, and left laying on the pavement so he would "learn his lesson".
If you are reading this, I hope you talk to your teens, tell them about disabilities you can't see, teach them to be tolerant of people that are different, teach them that if they continuously see someone alone that maybe it is not their choice to be alone, remind them to ask questions first and get to know one another.
Gavin is fine. He has a mild concussion, a bruised esophagus, the tip of his nose fractured, and hematoma in his eye, but nothing permanent. He did not press charges, but requested their community service be disability related, that they write a paper on Asperger's, and that they watch a 20 min video statement he taped while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective. I am so proud of him, and I hope a lesson will come of this to all that hear about it.

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