The Boy is a Senior.
In high school.
He's had his FINAL IEP meeting. In June (God willing), he'll be one of three graduates in his class.
He's growing up in height, and maturing, too.
Here's what he's been up to lately...and all of it is good.
He has social skills!
He's been attending a monthly Teen Asperger's group. One Friday each month, he mixes and mingles with other kids his age (dare I say, young adults?). They chat and snack and play card games and play on the Wii. He's been appropriate and funny to both the kids and the adults (it's a hangout for parents too, where we share anecdotes and talk about how we're helping our kids to navigate the stormy waters of adolescence). As everyone lines up for pizza, he still struggles with knowing when to stop piling food on his plate, and often drinks more Diet Dr. Pepper than the entire population of the state of Delaware.
There's one young man who also likes talking about Muppets and cartoons, ad nauseum. He follows The Boy from room to room, launching into his monologue about theoretical shows with cartoon characters (from different shows or networks) appearing together. The Boy has been kind and good-natured about this "fan boy".
At the last meetup, after an hour or so of fan boy's constant shadowing, The Boy came up to me and said, "It's time for us to go before I make a fool of myself." He had reached his limit of tolerance. Instead of acting out, he requested that we make a hasty retreat...and I obliged. Progress!
He has dance moves!
Last Friday, he begrudgingly attended a dance for disabled teens and adults. I bargained with him and agreed to be in the parking lot a half hour before the event ended. If he was ready to go, we'd leave. If he was having fun, I'd wait in the car until the dance was over.
We left 30 minutes before the end of the dance. He had had enough. He said it was "noise, noise noise" - and he wasn't talking about the music, which he tolerated quite well. To be heard above the din, everyone was shouting - that's what got to him. He also said that he was the least severely disabled person in the whole room (and he may have been one of the youngest).
He has friends!
The Boy has a few good friends at school. He attended his classmate's birthday luncheon. He, the classmate, and fan boy all attended an animation workshop at the St. Louis Art Museum.
He has spent the night at another friend's house - twice. The friend also spent the night here. There were no arguments, there was no friction at all. The boy's mom said "The Boy is a joy to be around and he's welcome at our house anytime." I said pretty much the same thing about the friend, and I considered adopting him into the family when he said, "Boy, I think you're being a bit of a dick to your mom right now" when The Boy was giving me some attitude.
He has a hobby!
The Boy tried out for the school play. Though he got a callback for a second audition, he did not get a part. Last night, he started his gig as cast prompter. He follows along in the script and calls out lines when one of his fellow actors forgets their line. He'll be taking notes for the drama teacher/director about staging changes, and he's now the understudy for a minor role.
He has some publishing credits!
Back on the best day of the Boy's life thus far (you can read that post here), The Boy met Ryan, who is the brains behind Muppet Mindset, a blog about all things Muppet-y. Ryan asked for submissions, and The Boy got an article published. He's also written some articles for another web site that features Roger Rabbit. He's a pretty good writer, and I hope he continues along that vein.
He still has his surly moments, like all teenagers. He's still sloppy, like most teenagers. And like all parents of teenagers, we wonder how they will ever make it on their own.
We're flirting with normal lately, and it feels wonderful to be looking forward toward a brighter future for him.