Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 15, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 18, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Could Have Danced All Night...or at Least for 45 Minutes

Well, he did it!

Weston survived his first middle school dance. Pheeeewwww.

I am very proud of my son. But not for the reasons you might expect!

Yes, I am proud that a pretty older 8th grade girl asked my son to dance with her and her friends.

Sure, I am proud that he said "yes" and danced happily with these girls.

He was even brave enough to take a turn in a dance-a-thon. Several young boys highlighted their dancing prowess in the center of the cafe. Many students surrounded these boys as they each took a turn "strutting their stuff". Brave, eager Weston took his solo turn amidst the center of the cheering crowd and boogied to the beat of some funky techno sound. To his pleasant surprise, it was his own classmates the...7th grade girls who encouraged this dancing fool and cheered and cheered for Weston. Not wanting to be outdone by the 8th graders, I believe the girls in Weston's class are seeking to recover, that which they lost.....dear Weston!

But what I am the most proud of is the simple fact that Weston knew when it was time to come home.

He became very over heated by his dancing exposee. By this time of night, all of Weston's ADHD meds have left his system. This medication purge is necessary so that it is possible for him to sleep. Unfortunately, it also leaves him very vulnerable to improper bursts of impulsivity. His mood is disturbed by things like loud noises and over heating. Typically, in the past, he has just lashed out at others during these times and alienated himself by exhibiting this bizarre behavior. This year at school, however, he has been working closely with his new aide to learn the skill of self advocacy. Knowing when to ask for help or when to remove himself from uncomfortable situations.

Last night, Weston, removed himself from the dance before he acted improperly. And although he only spent 45 minutes at the dance, it was a very good 45 minutes. And for that I am the most proud.

Dad was waiting patiently in the parking lot and was there to whisk Weston home when he was ready.

Of course I ruined it all when I heard the car return so quickly.

Inappropriately, I asked,

"What happened?"

Since they were home so early I assumed (making an ass out of just me) that things went wrong. It was a terrible mistake. Weston, who had worked so hard at the dance to keep it all together, now exploded.

"Mom, why do you have to ruin it!" He screamed and ran off into the living room.

My husband rolled his eyes and looked at me.

"I don't understand?" I asked.

Pete very patiently explained to me how Weston had determined on his own, that he had had enough. He was tired and could not stay at the dance any longer.

"I'm sorry Weston," I said. "I am glad you had a good time and more importantly I am glad you knew when you needed to come home."

He relaxed, said he was sorry too, and sat in the living room to watch tv with Dad, needing some quiet time to regroup and calm his emotions before going to bed.

It wasn't until this morning, that I was able to carefully extract tiny bits and pieces of his adventures at the dance. Of course, not all at once...but carefully timing my questions at long intervals apart.

I did manage to discover that Weston's new friends were sad when he announced he was leaving the dance. Leaving a social situation on a positive note is a healthy "first" for Weston.

Yes, today he is feeling happy and secure. He seems to be walking a little lighter and taller and smiling a lot more.

I am very proud of my son.

He was successful at this important social function. And for the first time in his life, it was he who saved himself.


The Henrys said...

Surviving the first school dance is a huge step, for him and the parents! I'm so glad it went well for him!

Anonymous said...

Well he had more interaction than I did when I went to my first school dance. I say it was a success. He left at just the right time....leave them wanting more. :)

Lisa said...


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