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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Weston Learns to Tear it Up

Weston jumps into my truck after school.

"MOM!" he says loudly.

"What?" I ask, praying he hasn't had another terrible day.

"There's a dance coming up and I want to go!" he says enthusiastically.

"Oh is that all," I answer, relieved that I don't need to hurry home and prepare for a call from the new principal.

"Mom this is serious. I don't know how to dance," he says with much concern in his voice.

October 21 is the first school dance of the year. Weston usually misses these types of functions since 6-8 pm is a difficult time for him. He has trouble controlling his impulses, keeping still and understanding social situations. In the past, he has not been interested in socializing with others since he is not always successful interacting with his peers.

This year however, is different. This year, it's all about the girls. Yes, the giggling girls have given my son some of that precious incentive. It is this incentive that has helped him learn how to understand others. It has taught him how to communicate with the opposite sex.

He has made many new acquaintances with some of the older 8th grade girls. He has discovered that older girls are more patient with his high energy and social awkwardness. Over this summer, he has matured, becoming very tall and handsome. He has found that this growth spurt has helped him to easily attract the attention of some of the older middle school girls. They are not aware of the difficulties he has sitting still during class. They are oblivious to the hardships he experienced during his elementary years. They are willing to give him a chance.

"Really Mom, I need help," Weston pleads.

"OK," I say, "Let's get Daddy to help us after supper. He's a great dancer. In fact, we were at a dance when we first met."

"Really?" Weston says, "That's cool."

So, after supper, Pete and I turned on some dance music and tried to teach our eager young son how to dance.

"You just move your body to the beat." Pete explains as he bounces to the rhythm of the latest techno tune.

"I don't get it." Weston answers. This is a very abstract concept and Weston struggles to grasp the meaning of "move to the beat."

"Try to be more specific," I instruct Pete.

"OK Weston, move your feet like this, back and forth. That's right, now use smaller movements, less flailing of your arms."

And sure enough it isn't long before Weston gets the hang of it.

"Is this how you do it?" he asks. He bounces and sways to the booming beat, smiling ear to ear, satisfied that he has mastered this new skill that will help him to become a middle school Casanova.

I smile as my young son learns to "tear it up."

"You know Weston," I say, "alot of times in the beginning of the dance, the boys stand on one side and the girls on the other, everyone is a little shy."

"Not me Mom," he announces positively. "I am going to be the first one to ask a girl to dance."

"Why's that?" I ask.

"Cuz I want to show all my friends how brave I am!"

After his many struggles last year both socially and academically, it is good to see my son starting to mature and feel confident about his newly emerging social abilities. I am happy to finally see him feel good about himself.

For Weston, the 21st can not come soon enough!

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