Nathan's Battle

by Stacey | August 21, 2013
Asperger's/Autism, School Environment, Breakthrough Moments, People Who Changed a Life, From Struggling to Thriving
Where do I begin? My son Nathan has struggled from the day he first entered pre-school. From day one, the teachers told me there was something not quite right about my son. After a few months of pre-school, the teacher and administrator set up a one on one meeting with me to express their concerns. They began by saying that Nathan was most definitely autistic. Hearing the word autistic sent me into an emotional roller coaster! They suggested I have testing done on him right away. His physician prescribed Vivanse to help with what they called mood swings and attention deficit disorder. Within 5 minutes of Nathan taking the drug he began to hallucinate saying over and over again "I'm ice man and I have ice powers in my mouth." For the next two hours I held my son in disbelief that his physician, knowing he was only 4 years old, had prescribed medication meant for a child over the age of 6. I cried for days after beating myself up for what I had put my son through taking this medication. We began testing with our local psychiatrist for autism and he began behavioral therapy. The psychiatrist suggested we try a different drug and started him on Adderall. Sure the drug helped him concentrate and calm down some but he stopped eating, complained of stomach aches and couldn't sleep. After a few months I decided to take him off the drug. The therapy was going well and his therapist said she didn't think he was autistic but was on the spectrum. "On the spectrum" I thought to my self...what does that mean. Asberger's syndrome was mentioned in our conversation so I went home and immediately started researching autism and asberger's syndrome. They had me convinced there was something "wrong" with my child but I didn't agree it was autism. We crossed our fingers and off Nathan went for his first day in kindergarten! The first week went well and then I got the phone call. "Mrs. Amaro, we need to meet with the school psychologist and principal to discuss your son Nathan." I thought here we go! The same exact thing happened! They did testing on my son and said he was autistic. I cooperated and agreed to put my son in a different school in a special education class with other students "like my son." For the first time Nathan had a teacher that was so compassionate about his learning that he actually started to learn. At the end of his kindergarten year she told me that Nathan was not autistic and we just wasted a year in her class. Now it was time to start kindergarten all over again in a standard class. Within one week the phone calls started again. To make a long story short, four schools later and the insistence of putting my son on drugs for ADHD or he couldn't attend school was the last straw! Nathan had a tutor that told me "your son is gifted, he's just a challenge. Look into K12 online! I promise you wont regret it." I took her advice and enrolled Nathan in SCVCS. I was nervous when he took his scantron exams but he scored on target for third grade!!!!! After so many people gave up on my son I was the only one that didn't! I am now his mother and his teacher. We are only three days into his schooling and it is not easy. In fact Nathan is extremely challenging...not that he can't do the work! He is very bright! He just needs constant supervision and redirection. I am hopeful for a successful year and I already know I have all the support I need in SCVCS. In all my experiences with Nathan and SC public schools, SCVCS is already more supportive, understanding, and quick to help me if I have any problems. Best of all they listen! I am not putting my son on drugs for ADHD and not once was it suggested or pursued in our conversations. Thank you for finally listening to me as his mother and now teacher and realizing what is best for my son! Stacey
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