You could spend your life surveying literature, subscribing to blogs, and attending lectures, yet when all is said and done, the journey you are on as a parent is all your own and there is no map or chart or even guidebook that can do more than even vaguely prepare you for the road ahead. One person's hazardous cliff is another's launching off point and you won't know which it is for you and your family until you get there.
What's more valuable, I think, is sharing our parenting experiences with each other, not with the idea of providing directions, but rather to simply acknowledge that we're all out there on a roadless terrain, finding our way the best we can. It's more about knowing that what we share can't be found on an itinerary or chart, but rather in the process of putting one foot in front of another. I take great comfort and confidence from the knowledge that we're all in this alone, together.
My friend, Woodland Park parent, and fellow blogger Toby, writing as Floor Pie, has recently been sharing some parts of her family's journey. Her son, whom I taught only briefly last year as part of our summer program, was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. I've written here occasionally about my opinions on these kids and education, but Toby is on the actual journey and has lately been sharing about her experiences with Seattle's public school system. I think she's one of the best writers I read anywhere in the blog-o-sphere, on any topic, but these recent insightful pieces about her journey are really worth a look for any parent or teacher.
In her piece, Beyond the Broom Closet, she writes:
Let's face it: Aspergers isn't easy. It doesn't look like a disability. Sometimes, frankly, it just looks like a smart little boy being a tremendous asshole.
And in Drinking the Skool Aid:
It's hard work to have Aspergers when none of the adults in your life know or understand. He didn't need a gorgeous library or a salmon migration parade. He didn't even need "empathy building." He needed teachers and staff who'd seen kids like him in action before and knew what the heck to do with it.
Click on over, you'll be glad you did.