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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Living in spite of the labels

Today is going to be an interesting day. Our family is meeting with Hunter's psychologist to tell Hunter he has Aspergers. We have never denied that Hunter is on the spectrum. We have always been honest with family and friends about it. We have always explained to Hunter that he has struggles that other people don't have. He struggles with fine motor skills and has since he was about three, so he has always been in occupational therapy. He has always struggled with his social skills, so he has been in behavioral therapies, both individual and group. We have always intended to tell him he has Aspergers, but it has just never been important to us to put a label on it.

I am sure that many people will disagree with our decision, but we have truly done it for his own good. This world will not modify for him. He will always have to adapt to survive in it! Therefore, I don't think the label is important. What is important is overcoming obstacles in life and living life to the best of your abilities.

I had an uncle who was severely handicapped. His wife was handicapped as well. The amazing thing about the both of them was that they did everything they could to exist in this world no matter what the circumstances. They were an inspiration to our entire family. They were an inspiration to our small community. Things were not always easy, and sometimes they had to ask for help, but they made it work. They started their own business. They lived on their own and functioned with a little help from their friends and family. We all loved them for who they were and never saw them for their struggles, but for their strengths. Many things in my life have taught me lessons throughout the years, but few things have taught me as much as the lives they lived.

Watching Hunter over the years, I have been concerned that if we told him the name of his syndrome he would say things like, " I can't clean my room because I have Aspegers." or "I can't do that homework because I have Aspergers." Instead we have explained to him that we all have struggles. Some people struggle with reading, others struggle with athletics, some have illness, but everyone has obstacles they have to overcome.

Recently, he has seemed very confused about everything. This age is just awful for every kid. So much change is going on with their bodies and hormones are raging. Bullying has really begun this year at school, and kids are starting to call him names. His therapists and schools have always agreed with our decision to not tell him, but now, it just seems like the right time.

Today, Hunter will walk out of the doctor's office with an entirely new outlook on his circumstance. It may come as a total shock to him. It may be a relief. No matter the outcome, we will assure him that nothing has really changed.