When I first started blogging, I had many reservations about sharing details about our family, particularly about R. Although I feel it is important to be transparent and open about our experiences, I was sensitive to the fact that I was sharing a story that largely belonged to R. That sensitivity has not waned, but over the past year, I have observed tremendous growth and maturity in R. So when Matan asked if R might want to write a blog, I did not hesitate to ask him, and I was not surprised when he said yes.
I am honored to introduce you to R:
Hello, my name is R. I am 8 years old. I am in 3rd grade at Rockland Jewish Academy in West Nyack, New York. School is fun, educational and entertaining because you do work and once in a while, you get a fun event. Last week we had spirit week, and each day we dressed up in different ways. My favorite day is Friday – costume day. We did spirit week because we celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim, where we dress up, listen to the Megillah and make lots of noise when we hear the name Haman – boooo!
I have AS, which stands for Aspergers Syndrome. This is on the autistic spectrum. It feels weird and different from everyone else. I have sudden reactions to things. I sometimes get angry with my friends and have big temper tantrums. Sometimes it is hard for me to pay attention. Sometimes I have a rough time with my friends.
A few months ago, I told my class that I have AS. Now there is a new boy in my class and I want to tell him, too. I wanted to tell my friends so they would understand I am not crazy or selfish. Some of my friends asked why sometimes I cried and they didn’t. Now they understand.
A few weeks ago I shared the story of the time that we explained R’s diagnosis to him. “While having a diagnosis seemed inconsequential to us (R’s parents), it made a world of difference for R …Yes, there have been times when R has tried to use his diagnosis as a reason for a particular reaction or inappropriate behavior – “It’s my AS!” – but he also quickly learned that AS is not an excuse. We learned that having a diagnosis is another tool in R’s toolbox.”
This post is a part of an ongoing series called “A Parent’s Perspective”. The author, Benay Josselson, is an attorney who lives in New City, New York with her two children. We are proud to have honored Benay with the Matan Torchbearer Award at our 2016 Annual Event.