Sharing stories about Aaron is the best way to have insight into how Asperger’s Syndrome affects not only him, but all those who live and work with Aaron. A key to surviving life with Aaron is to understand what makes him tick. Then you can better function yourself and not live in constant frustration or bewilderment. Training and directing him is also accomplished with better results when you can get inside his head and realize just how and when to redirect or when to wait it out.
We moved to Wichita (Goddard), Kansas in 1999 when Gary retired from the military and accepted a job here. A couple years later we enrolled Aaron in a school here that offers training to high functioning special needs students. This training prepares them for being able to get a job upon graduation. There were many great aspects of this school and its program, but it never was a good fit for Aaron. One big reason is that the staff never understood him and so didn’t react correctly to what he said or did.
I’ll never forget the open house and parent night during Aaron’s first year. The students were to accompany their parents into each of their classrooms and introduce us to their teachers. The students were treated as adults and so were to address each teacher by their first name. The evening was going very well and Aaron was doing a great job. It was nice to meet each teacher and to see his new environment that he was to be a part of now. The evening was winding down and we had one more teacher to meet. As we stood in the hallway, waiting for the family ahead of us to come out of the room, Aaron was beside himself with excitement. When he’s excited he bends over and rubs his hands together, over and over. He hadn’t acted this way with any of the other teachers and so we were perplexed at this behavior. We tried to get him to calm down but to no avail.
Finally, the room was empty and we walked inside. There stood his teacher, with a very pronounced spiked haircut. Aaron quickly walked over to her, rubbing his hands together, and said, “Mom and Dad, this is Cindy (name changed). She looks like a hedgehog, doesn’t she?!” Oh. My. Goodness. Time stood still. We were horrified. Aaron was delighted. Cindy was unhappy. Her reaction told us that things would not be easy for Aaron in this school. Yes, Aaron needed to be corrected but not with disapproval or anger. The battle stage was being set and Aaron will never give up. It was a very long two years. But Aaron did LOVE that haircut!