It’s not often that my son get exasperated (me on the other hand…) but today we had one of those moments.  My son was at the table across from me talking to himself while doing a geometry lesson.  All was well until I heard him tell me something.  Since my son talks non-stop (he once talked for 14 hours straight – nonstop- on a road trip.  No kidding) I have to admit that 80% of the time I just say “uh-huh” and keep going without a clue as to what he was saying.  But then his rambling started getting really fast and intense and I looked up to see a panic on his face.   Let me back up a bit….

Corban working on his math lessons.
Corban working on his math lessons.

Some of you already know that in addition to running a boutique I homeschool my son.  Well, so far it’s been more like “unschooling”.  A typical day consists of running around the store and yelling into the back room what subject I want him to be working on.  Then having to remind him multiple times over to work on his lessons instead of playing computer games.  An added challenge is that my son has Asperger’s Syndrome which means that 15 seconds after I tell him what lesson or chore to do he has forgotten that I asked him to do anything.

Kids with Autism or Asperger’s have a special “focus” in their minds.  It could be objects, shapes, topics, anything.  With my son it is dragons.  Dragons, reptiles, or anything that looks like a dragon.  Dragon games, dragon jewelry, dragon colors, or anything that has scales.  He reads books about dragons, we talk about dragons at our meals, he builds dragons out of Legos, and he wakes up thinking about dragons.  So when I ask him to go do a lesson as soon as he turns away  his obsession with dragons takes over and he doesn’t remember what it is he was supposed to do – except that it surely had to do with dragons. {sigh}

Another thing with children with Asperger’s is that they are extremely smart so learning is easy and quick (yea) but they also expect to do it perfectly. The first time. Which leads me to the panicked look on my son’s face.  As soon as I saw it I immediately recognized the look of “meltdown”.  That’s when the emotional and irrational part of their brain takes over because all is not well with their world anymore.  As a parent you never know when it will happen.  I feel for those parent’s whose children have a more severe case of autism because those episodes can keep you from being able to go out in public very often.

Luckily, my son rarely has a meltdown and anymore they are very mild. It usually involves teary eyes, chewing on his shirt, biting his finger, or grabbing the front of his hair.  Today he could not get the graph on his online lesson to do what it was supposed to do.  For a normal person it would be a minor-issue.  It’s an easy fix.  But for Corban it was much more than that.  Before I even knew what was going on I looked at him and thought of my yoga class.  I said, “Take a deep breath” and I dramatically and playfully drew up my arms and took great, big silly breaths.  He just stared at me and I said, “Come on.  You do it too!”.  “Really mom?”.   “Yep”, I said.  So, like any teenager he did a quick breath and flap of his arms.  I had him do it one more time.  Then I asked him to explain the problem. He knew the answer to the problem but he couldn’t get the graph to show the answer like it was supposed to.  I then asked him to show me.  It worked just fine.  Instantly, he felt a little silly he had made a huge deal out of something.  He realized that sometimes when you know the answer is just in front of you, yet it’s not working out, then it’s time to step back and take a deep breath.  [Major emotional catastrophe averted]

Isn’t that a good lesson for all of us?  Wouldn’t we all like a little less drama in our lives?  Especially since most of it really is small stuff.  What a good reminder for me to stop and take a deep breath before ranting and raving or charging into a situation because most likely it is a simple solution and you just need a moment to step away and refresh your brain.

So why don’t you take a moment right now to take a couple deep breaths and think of something you are thankful for!  And may your day take your breath away.


~ Laura