Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Awards Day

Awards Day gets me every time. Part of it, of course, is that school is ending, leaving a vast unknown ahead of us. Before I had kids, I wasn't great with change. Then I had a kid with ASD, and change is even more anxiety-provoking. Besides the yawning abyss of summer vacation immediately before us, I also know that most of what we accomplished during the school year will need to be re-accomplished come August, and the thought of this makes my heart race.

So maybe I don't always go into Awards Day with the best attitude. I mean, I appreciate the idea of rewarding accomplishments and noting things that are notable. Thing is, my kid isn't going to get most improved. He will probably never be the best citizen in the class. And, his Christian attitude is easy to miss when it's camouflaged by his personal space issues and his tendency to say whatever's on his mind regardless of whether it's appropriate or not. He won't even have perfect attendance since he misses an hour every Wednesday for speech and OT (even though we get up extra early that day so he can get most of it finished before his classmates are even done with breakfast).

Sky's accomplishments are no less noteworthy than his classmates', though he will probably never be rewarded for them. He interrupted his teacher less this year. He had fewer meltdowns and panic attacks. He started to better grasp the concepts of personal space and turn-taking in conversations. He didn't hate school.

I know I'm supposed to take solace in the fact that he's making progress, but it's still hard to sit through Awards Day and not daydream about how things could be different. Part of the time, I find myself wishing Sky's struggles didn't distract from his learning experience, and part of the time I wonder if he has some hidden untapped genius like the Indiana kid who turned out to be an astrophysicist. I know I'm being ridiculous and that I just need to keep encouraging Sky's strengths and helping him overcome his weaknesses, but sometimes it's hard to stifle those thoughts especially when award-day activities slip from the first hour into the second one.

Fortunately, it seems like whenever I find myself obsessing about these things, Sky turns around and does something that reminds me we're doing okay as his parents.

Today, it was this:

In case you're wondering (if you aren't now, you will be by the end--trust me), he hijacked the Mary Engelbreit stamps I had in the garage sale pile. Of course, you will have to get to the end to find out why the robot got an "F" on his attempt to rule the world. And, I know some of you probably think I should stop posting these stories by my 8 year-old, but you see what he wrote in red. How can I say no to that?

I love two things about this picture:  the sense of perspective and motion, and the fact that the guy in the picture is making a Japanese sound effect when he flies through the air.

The good news is the robot seems to have an on-off switch. The bad news is that I have no idea how Sky knows the "I believe I can fly" reference. 

Some of this feels vaguely like Iron Giant, which would explain a lot. But not everything. I mean, where does he get this stuff? We don't let him watch much that's PG even, and besides one of the Star Wars films, he's not seen any of the stuff most boys his age have watched.

This is where the story initially ended, but I had more work to do, so I encouraged him to keep going. You can tell me whether you think it was a good idea. Also, in case you're wondering, the X's on the eyes are never a good thing.

More X eyes and smashed buildings. 

Notice the bird on this page and the one before it?

I kinda love this alien. It's as if he's a cross between Gumby and the Marshmallow Man from Ghost Busters.

But he's totally bad ass.

Even when running away.

Of course he was. 

Of course he did.

Of course they did.

I had to ask about this one. Apparently this little robot can only shoot from his feet. You'd think that might be a disadvantage.

But it turns out it's not.

I don't know about you, but I think the ME illustrations might add a layer of meaning that wasn't entirely intended.
Before I had a chance to post this story, Sky went to speech and OT and wrote this addition. I really heart it on a number of levels:

About the Author 
Sky grew up in [small town, state] with his family. He loves robots and is always curious about how they work. He loves to look at the detail in explosions. He likes to hear them too. He also loves to build and draw; that's why he made this book on June 3, 2013. He also has autism. He never lets autism get in the way of things, even though it's hard sometimes. Autism has made him really good at some things too, especially drawing. He made more books and comic books, like "The Wagon" and "The Wagon 2 Weirdo." He's very good at origami. His dad named Ren is Japanese. His mom Moe is American. He lived in Japan for a few years when he was young. He loves the trains in Japan, almost as much as he loves robots!


Jewel said...

Amazing! I wish my children could concentrate long enough to write any type of book....Loved it Sky, can't wait to see more!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! I wish I had half the creativity Sky has!

FMBMC said...

Way to go, Sky!

viviane said...

The beginning makes me think of "The day the earth stood still" (the original movie). And I love the onomatopeias (?) and the "genral" who said "fire". Bravo !

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. I just love these drawings!! Brilliant!!

RKO said...

Keep writing and drawing, Sky! You tell the best stories, and you make me think of a certain little me that used to draw on every surface I could find to get those stories out there. Never ever give up on showing the world what you can do, especially when you have so many gifts.

It might be hard, and other kids might not get you at first, but there are people out there that find you totally, completely awesome. And I mean a lot, I mean, there's a whole Internet out there, right?

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Sky, I am really impressed with your drawing skills and your patience and creativity. It is really amazing that you can write such long stories and illustrate them so well. In addition, I know a thing or two about art and I can tell you that your lines are amazing!

euchlid said...

Sky, you certainly have not let autism get in the way of your creativity! When I was a kid I used to draw comics too, and I found it was the best method to focus and channel my energy. Keep drawing and making comics! You are a wonderful and creative kid and you deserve to know that. :)