Monthly Archives: January 2016

I believe this may be the life philosophy of my second and youngest child, Adrian. He had me worried at every stage of his life. I worried when there was no baby talk, until one day, out of the blue, he spoke a whole sentence and was perfectly capable of full conversations after that. I worried when he never crawled properly or attempted to stand or walk, until one day he stood up and briskly jogged all the way down the passage, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. (We had not thought to put delicate things out of reach of a running toddler just yet!).

Of course, he was not an ordinary child and these things were just early indicators of this. He was diagnosed in late primary school with Asperger's Syndrome. So what is Asperger's Syndrome? You may read more about it here on WebMD if it interests you to know the details: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-syndrome.

Suffice it to say, Adrian has always had an extraordinary mind. He has always been "ready" to do some things later in life than others, but when he decides that he is ready, then he tends to skip the first few, basic, steps. Needless to say, the ordinary school system posed a significant challenge for him. His IQ was too high to qualify for special education, but the ordinary school system did not cater for his "slow to start and then rushing ahead" learning pace at all. The school system did not cater for his struggle to cope with noise or his eccentric behaviours.

Adrian spent much of his school life on Ritalin and weekly visits to developmental specialists and neurologists. I enrolled him in an expensive private high school as they promised small classes and special attention, but unfortunately he did not get past Grade 9. We tried one more time with a technical college, but that also did not work out well. After that, Adrian decided to take an apprenticeship as a farrier. He enjoyed the work and worked hard, but as with school, the social interactions were what challenged him most. He also did not earn enough to survive as an apprentice farrier, and after almost 5 years, he decided to re-evaluate his priorities.

In October last year he told me he is ready for Grade 10. And this is how I find myself on a Sunday afternoon, listening to my extraordinary son read and explain Romeo and Juliet to me, and how scientific notation works, and algebra...he uses Khan Academy videos to explain the subject matter and somehow he just "gets it" all!  Have a look at: http://www.khanacademy.org/  I have a feeling we are going to have some amazing academic adventures this year and I am so looking forward to the trip!