Welcome to a day in my life. I can't guarantee that this will be an exciting read for anyone. My life is filled with all the mundane activities of a stay-at-home-mom just trying to raise her three sons to be the best men they can be.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today's Man

Sunday night, I was channel surfing, trying to find some good excuse not to watch the 11 p.m. news. I landed on PBS where a documentary called "Today's Man" was playing. It was a documentary done by Lizzie Gottlieb on her brother's remarkable life as a young man with Asperger Syndrome.

TODAY’S MAN tells the story of Nicky Gottlieb, a former child genius who, at age
21, is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. People with Asperger’s, which is a form
of autism, tend to be highly intelligent—often geniuses in certain subjects—but
are unable to pick up on social cues. The subtleties of body language, facial
expression, tones or gestures are lost to Nicky, and his own behavior can be
considered by others to be bizarre and inappropriate. (taken from the PBS,
Independent Lens site)

The camera followed him as he tries to get and keep jobs, as he tries to relate with others, tries to find his place in a world that isn't structured for those who aren't neuro-typical, and as he tries to become an independent adult.

It was a documentary that hit so close to home for me as Matt moves into those years of his life. I'm constantly worrying about his future. While he isn't Asperger's, NLD is so closely related that he has the same challenges and issues. I worry about life after school for Matt and how he will function in this world. I worry about jobs, girlfriends, socializing ... all the things that someone who is 17 should be looking forward to.

While Nicky struggles with all of these issues in the documentary, the one thing that I took away from it was that he seems to meet the challenges head on, free of anxiety. When things don't work out, he's OK with that. He moves on. He's happy, and he's able to embrace who he is as person ... a wonderful person who has so much to teach this neuro-typical world about enjoying life.

That's what I want for my son!

I would urge you all to watch your PBS TV listings for when they show this documentary again. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/todaysman/film.html. It's very insightful!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link.

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  2. We all have dreams for our children to be solid productive citizens who passionately love with compassion and generosity. It is my desire that your children and ours will be such productive individuals. You are in our often in our thoughts

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  3. Sounds like a great show... I read the material on the PBS site, and I would LOVE to catch it again when it comes back on.

    I find myself torn from time to time... wanting to push my son to be "just like everyone else" and doing exactly as you described... just letting him be and allowing him to be happy as himself. It's a delicate balance at times, trying to figure out when to push and/or help and when to step back. *sigh*

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  4. I watched "Today's Man" when it first aired as well. I too immediately thought of Matt. I also looked at the reasons why "Nicky" has had a successful life. It is because he has always had a family that has loved him and accepted him unconditionally. You and John have provided that for Matt, and as such, he is a wonderful, caring, bright young man who will continue to thrive through all of life brings his way.

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