Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Living a Normal life- with Aspergers

This week we were discussing the possibility of taking an exchange Explorer scout from Australia as my eldest son has the opportunity to visit Australia for the summer holidays. My daughter piped up "In that case we would have to pin a set of rules on the wall such as 'everyone sleeps in their own bed' and 'no sleeping on the settee at night'"

I replied that it might come across as a bit weird and my Aspergers son announced,

" I don't think it's weird,it's normal to me' and I had to admit that it is. I was heartened to note that he didn't feel 'different' in an uncomfortable way he just accepted that that's the way it is - I'm convinced that home education has given him that confidence which may have been knocked out of him by his peers had he remained in school.

We have had a lovely week, in fact on reflection it has been the most normal week we have had in months, even years. Whilst our eldest has been to Austria with Explorer scouts we have spent an idyllic week in Scotland at Tigh Mor Trossachs.

We have been several times before so nothing was new for my son and, although apprehensive at going without his brother , he was looking forward to it. It has its own swimming pool and games room and a lovely area down by the lake where you can fish or row.

It is a time when being a twin is very useful as you always have a companion for support and his sister was great.

We went boating on the Loch, swimming every day, played pool and table tennis, went ten pin bowling, walking and played pitch and putt.

The learning that went on was unbelievable. We learned that William and Dorothy Wordsworth travelled all the way up from the Lake District by horse and cart to holiday there. What a journey that must have been through rugged uninhabited country side on muddy tracks. As a result of his writings Sir Walter Scott travelled in his footsteps and wrote about Loch Katrine in his poem  'The Lady of the Lake' so encouraging more tourists to flock  to the area.

We read books.Witch Child by Celia Rees and then learned on our travels how a local priest had been found murdered during that same period in the hills near Aberfoyle. He believed in faeries and wrote descriptions of them in a book which the locals believed would anger 'the little people'.

I also read Freedom Fighter by Carlo Pichio , a childrens book about the partisans fighting in Italy during world war 2. When I first started out on the road of Home Education I little realised how much history you can learn from reading fiction.

We visited the Hydro electricity dam at Pitlochry and learned how it was a sustainable energy but that they had had to weigh the ecological damage against the benefits of providing electricity. The government had dictated that when building the dam ,a fish ladder had also to be built to allow the salmon to pass up the river to spawn.

During our week, we had no panic attacks, normal sleep patterns, periods without ear defenders on a huge healthy appetite and my son declared the holiday to be fantastic. He hadn't once been on a computer or mentioned the lack of it. I had to wonder how much of his 'disability' is psychological- he obviously feels safe and secure when we are together as a family- he has often said that but his demeanor reminded me of the child we had at 4 or 5 and it proved that it is possible for an Aspergers child to live a happy and comfortable life - it gave me hope.

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