Limits. I’ve always said, to myself and others, that I place no limits on Nate, that we’ll know them when they come. It’ll all become clear, I thought, so why put up artificial barriers. In my heart, I knew, and dreaded, that Nate’s progress was bound to slow down, maybe even stop, in some areas. But I also thought that just maybe, he would get through all the biggest challenges and be left with his quirks. That would be manageable: open vistas and eccentricities.
This semester was bound to be a tough one. We all knew that. Not one Graphic Design course, no computer-based class that he could ace, or at least get a B. Mass Media, Humanities, American Government, English Composition II: these are reading and fact heavy courses with a greater than usual amount of writing. Trouble loomed.
Facts are usually Nate’s strong suit. Memorize them, spit them out and forget ; he’s passed many tests with that strategy, but this semester there seems to be just too much for him to retain. Reading comprehension is always a battle, and writing, well, writing he can do mostly on his own but he needs support and prompting. That’s a fine line for me and his aides to walk. There’s no point in telling him what to write. It does him no good and we’re not being the ones graded, but we all are acutely aware that there’s more in the Nate mind than he’s willing to initially give. How to extract his knowledge without doing the work for him is a delicate art.
He’s been failing repeatedly. His last two exams, one in Government, one in Mass Media, have not gone well. The boy works hard, of that there’s no doubt. We spent all weekend reading packet after packet of Mass Media presentations, but Elise said she didn’t think he passed.
So, have we arrived at the dreaded point where this is as good as it gets? I don’t know; I can’t accept that emotionally even though intellectually I’ve always known it was bound to happen. The fear is, of course, that once one limit is reached more will become apparent and then, like dominoes, Nate’s options will fall rapidly, leaving us in a barren field with our hopes toppled. It makes me sick to think that.
On one hand, I don’t mind, when I think about the school work in particular. These are not his core classes. If Nate is going to succeed in the world, and get some kind of productive job, it’s going to be in some graphics/computer related field and he does well in those courses.
On the other hand, I’m distraught over the mere thought that, in some areas, Nate is as good as he’s going to get. Those limits, the ones that I half-thought were a mirage, may be turning out to be as solid as a brick wall. Crashing into that wall hurts.