Dean(15) is a young man who is struggling to accept himself and find his way through the turbulence of growing up. He only sees his flaws and must be constantly reminded of his abundant amazing qualities. He is a sensitive soul and feels things exceedingly deeply. He reacts very strongly to his feelings and the world around him. He loves beauty. He is insightful and has always been a deep thinker. He hates injustice and dishonesty. He worries....his worries often consume him. He has a gorgeous smile but doubts his looks and often hides his smile. He is shy. He is passionate and strong willed. His heart is filled with love. He never intends to hurt anyone, but his words are often very judgmental and harsh. He is a really good young man with strong morals. When he fails his own expectations, there is no one harsher on him than himself. He is his own worst critic.
This year was a huge struggle for Dean. His emotions threatened to consume him and succeeded many days. He fought depression -- some days just getting out of bed and taking care of personal hygiene was all that could be managed. He was brave and he persevered. With the help of supplements, therapy and time, he is coming out stronger on the other side of that depression. There is still much work to do and challenges to confront, but I think we all feel that they can be accomplished. Recently, there have been more peaceful days than stressed-out days. He is winning his battle with his emotions.
He received a medical diagnosis this year which he is struggling to accept. He would prefer that I don't share it, but I will say that it is due to his birth mother's irresponsibility during pregnancy. It is not really a surprise to us but causes heartache none the less. It explains much, but it means that some of his challenges will not go away with a magic pill or surgery, which is a great sadness to him. He so wants to be a normal guy! Well, actually, he wants to be extraordinary but not from a special needs point of view. Sadly, as the doctors have examined him from head to toe, they saw other concerning things that may lead to a genetic diagnosis as well. When and if these come, we will meet them and triumph.
Dean is an artist and a photographer. He has an amazing eye for beauty and captures it well with his iPhone, pen and paper. He spends hours and hours drawing. He loves sunsets. He is forever trying to capture them. He had an opportunity to make a mural this year of his very own. It is now hanging on a building on a main street of our city. It was a great challenge for him. He is not a huge fan of painting because the brush is much harder to control than the pen. However, he pushed through and finished it, satisfied enough to let it be hung.
Dean is doing well in his summer volunteer job at the nature center. It is a wonderful place of growth for him. It is working out even better than I had hoped. He is making new friends and gaining a little bit of independence and responsibility in a controlled, safe environment.
Music ~ He is still very passionate about music and loves to visit the guitar store several days a week just to explore and play instruments. He owns three guitars and one ukulele. One can hear music coming from his room at all hours as he practices. His guitar teacher is very pleased with his progress.
History, Language Arts and Science ~ He completed all three of these courses without much difficulty. He especially enjoyed chemistry and earth science this year. History seemed boring to him, so we will change that up a bit next year.
Math ~ This subject is his least favorite and gives him much sorrow. He wants to be successful, but the concepts just elude him. He seems to be stuck. We tried five different programs this year and all were very stressful for him. I have suggested time and time again that we just start doing real world consumer math and put hard things like algebra aside, but he is against that at the moment. So he plods along.
Dance ~ Dance has been a huge part of his life for years. He loves performing, but the classes stress him out. He struggles with flexibility due to cerebral palsy. He feels like a constant failure in dance. His teachers all think he is doing great and love seeing all of his progress. Dean just sees his flaws. He is a perfectionist through and through. He finally made full Junior Company starting next year, an honor he has desired for years. However, just in the last week he has suddenly suggested maybe forgoing some or all of his dance classes! I respect his decision. We shall see what he feels closer to the start of the new year. He is trying to find a way to take care of himself and feel better. I am proud of him for working so hard.
His goal for the coming year is to feel confident and content. I think he is well on the way to healing.