My wife left the school photographs by my computer desk where I write and it was a pleasant surprise. My wife and son were already asleep for the night. As I studied my son’s photographs I could not help but notice how handsome he looks in his button down white shirt and colorful tie in red, dark blue and light blue. He has such a wonderful smile and a very neat haircut and he looks so boyish and happy. I just wish he would make progress in his new school which seems to be increasingly difficult for him as he hates going to bed before 9:00 pm and waking up at 6:00 am. I hope he can find himself and start to feel comfortable in school and start to appreciate the learning process and get used to the schedule he needs to be on for middle school.
I remember when I was in school I learned quickly how I should behave and I knew I had to be responsible and mature and not act inappropriately. With Matthew it seems he just has such a difficult time making the connection and realizing how important it is to listen and behave. It seems he has both good days and bad days and we are concerned for him. I wish the smile on his face was indicative of how he feels at school but it does not seem that way and I am concerned about it since he will be 11 years old in December and at that age he should know what is expected of him.
I know Matthew has a different way of looking at things and he sometimes has difficulty in communicating and expressing himself but he has to learn that as he gets older his judgement and reasoning has to mature and he has to learn to behave and get along with the teachers and his classmates. I try to explain this to him and it seems he understand but when I read his teacher reports I get frustrated sometimes because he still is not able to fully integrate and he still has difficulty with his behaviors. I can not just let this continue but I sometimes don’t know what I should do differently. I am trying to discipline my son and talk to him about his difficulties and I explain to him how he should behave and what school was like for me. I do admit it does seem hard to talk and reason with an autistic child because sometimes they seem to have a mind of their own and Matthew definitely falls into this pattern of being extremely difficult to control and contain when he is set off by something.
At times I feel I need to just detach myself from everything and just go into my own little place to escape so I can eventually help him. I need to know that I am doing ok before I can help my son. I also find going to church and praying to be helpful and know that being spiritual and having faith is so important to have in your life.
As I look at my son’s precious pictures and knowing his difficulties as an autistic child I know how important it is to listen and comfort him and explain to him what is expected of him in school and as he grows and matures. I try to relate my childhood and my experiences to him and I also let him talk his feelings and explain what he is experiencing in school. I know I can’t be with Matthew at school but I want him to know that I am always thinking of him and I am counting on him to have good days and to focus on his school work and listen to his teachers. I know he understands and in my heart I know he will manage and will be ok. I have faith and confidence in him and I want him to be happy like the little young lad he is in the photograph with the precious smile. My little buddy is growing up and Maria and I are always in his corner and will always be there to get him through the tough times because we love him.
Edward D. Iannielli III