Every year when school begins I am filled with hope that my son with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will enjoy his school year, making new friends, connecting with his teachers, and grasping the subject matter. I no longer compare him to his older sister or younger brother, but try to find the areas that he is improving, if only slightly. He is going to school willingly every day since school started, and has made it through without any anxiety. He is also initiating doing his homework, and completes most of it on his own so far. He likes his teachers and has made some new friends this year, too.
But, each year I am also filled with anxiety, wondering if he will be able to make friends, how he will deal with the bullying, if he will like his new teachers, if he will make it through the school day without a panic attack, and if he will be able to understand anything his teachers need him to learn.
I have tried to let go of any expectations that I have for my son on a yearly, monthly, weekly or daily basis, but I am only human. How far behind in math, reading comprehension, and writing will he be at the end of this year? Will he be able to handle the increased work load without increasing his anxiety? Will he continue to have friends that want to play with him and will stick up for him if someone is bullying him?
No one knows what the future holds for their children. I wonder what the future holds for all three of my kids. I hope that each of them reaches their full potential. However, the question remains. What will my son’s full potential be? I try not to ponder this, because it can literally drive me crazy.
The good news is, for now, I am hopeful that today will be a good day, and this week will be a good week. Although I can’t be sure what will happen tomorrow, I can sleep tonight knowing that I can choose to believe my glass is half full!
By Darcy Kahrhoff
* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism and special needs experience.