Struggle – This #Autism Dad’s heart is breaking tonight

After the drama at school today, Gavin’s struggle with his school work continued into his science homework at home.  As soon as he arrived home today, he immediately went to his room and did his homework. 

To be honest, I’m not sure how long he was working on it before he came downstairs and told me he was done. 

I hated to even ask him because I knew what I likely to find but I asked him to see his homework.  He was so proud of himself because he really took his time and was sure that he answered the questions correctly. 

Below you will find his science homework.  While I didn’t attach the reference notes, he had a worksheet to read first and then answer these questions.  The answers were very clearly in the material he was to read.  They weren’t hidden and there wasn’t really anything that he needed to infer.


As I began looking over the work, I was hoping beyond hope that I would be able to tell him that the answers were correct. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that because none of his answers were right.  I sat there while he looked at me as if he was looking for validation of his hard work. I can’t even begin to explain what it felt like to have to tell him that his answers weren’t right. 

This is so heartbreaking because once upon a time, Gavin would have been able to do this without much trouble.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  🙁

I’m overwhelmed with grief because I just can’t bare to watch him deteriorate anymore. 

When I finally found the words to explain to him that his answers were not what his teacher is going to be looking for, he got so upset with himself.  I didn’t even have him try and fix it. 
I simply told him not to worry about it and Mommy and I would speak with his teacher.

Lost and Tired really seems to describe how I feel right now because I have no idea what we are supposed to do and I’m exhausted from hitting dead ends on our endless journey to help him. 

I’m absolutely heartbroken because while he isn’t very self-aware, you can see him crumbling. The knife in my heart is twisted every time he apologizes for not doing better.

This is awful….

I keep trying to explain to him that we’re never disappointed or upset whenever he tries his best, even if every answer is wrong. There’s a big difference between not trying and getting the answers wrong and simply not being able to do something. 

I just don’t know what to do anymore. 🙁

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Raynette Jones

sick kid struggled with add in school before he was sick then after him getting sick the school teacher came but that was stressful. I was in a “my kid is fixing to die any minute” senario so a lot of stuff seemed stupid. I feel so much for Gavin (not that he is going ot die) but with his situation and if he was mine, homework would be done away with. school work is enough if someone wants to teach him he has things that have to be done. it is so hard to decide when and how much to push and if things ended tomorrow would the homework really matter. the bad thing is that we cant think that way because the kids have a future. my kid is still alive and too sick to “really live life”. i still say let us get him fixed enough to be able to walk down the street etc without having to be bedridden for a week to get over the walk down the street, but damn it has been going on so long and i always second guess. i never know the right thing to do. his older brother is my compass for when he has his brother for a couple of months, he can tell me, how bad off is he (i live with it everyday so i might think it is worse than it is, it is not), how is he doing mentally, do you think i should push something, is he ok mentally (from all he has been through and going thru).it is awful for his brother because he doesnt know what to do to help him, he doesnt know how far to push him, the pain is so bad, what do we no. what a f***ing nightmare

Michael Ridgway

you are not alone, I feel the same way and I have two of them. I tell him it is ok and nobody is perfect. And I do this anytime when there is a let down on his work. We will walk this road together.

Celeste Johnson

So sorry Rob. It absolutely stinks when this happens. Be strong.


I got a son austim too it not easy explain them thing they look at you with a sad face I understand you


Maybe make him a chart – it seems it was maybe confusing for him from the get go? On the left can be each type of energy source – solar, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, fossil fuels etc, then across the top “renewable/non-renewable,” “source” (like coal, gas, oil for fossil, sun for solar, uranium etc for nuclear, etc…) then “current uses”…etc…I could make it if you think it would help. A chart could organize it so he could understand.

Lost and Tired

It’s something like that. Gavin can read the words but doesn’t comprehend anything. The problem has become worse over time. Thank you for sharing because I haven’t really talked to anyone that has experienced something similar.


Just a thought: but is Gavin actually processing what he is reading? Or is he doing the reading as a separate function from the rest. My son Damien (High functioning ASD and SPD) was a ridiculously early reader. He taught himself using xbox menus. (Can’t find what you want in an ever changing content list if you can’t read.) It’s just his thing. A while he was lightyears ahead of everyone else academically, at that point, it became apparent that while he could read the words just fine, he didn’t have the understanding of what it was he had just read. He’s also 100% literally minded, so sometimes words are a mine field all their own. He is now absorbing the content fairly well, but that was another skill he needed to learn, and was slower coming then the reading part. Maybe discussing the content of what he just read before answering the questions might help?

Lost and Tired

@Rachel Griffith @Brittany Hays jaxxma @Kim Bailey @Tara Safarian @Janet Meliti @Holly Lynn Turner @Alison Lonnon Thank you everyone.  I really, really appreciate it.  🙂

Lost and Tired

jaxxma Thank you so much for your kind words.  Please let Jack know that he’s got friends here.  Same goes for you as well.  🙂

Janet Meliti

ah man this hard and sad I see the same things with my son too some days he can do things and get things right and sometimes he cant he is all over the map. I wish there effort and what was enough for all they do the things that are pretty awesome that does show how bright they really are but not enough in the eyes of this world to be counted good enough. Much of these days I just am thankful for what my son is able to keep on doing and what he is able to come up with and show what he does knowes.There is alot he is not able to with out difficulty anymore but he does keep on getting smarter.

Tara Safarian

He made the effort and that is awesome! His handwriting is great!

Cheryl Deuxberry-Beynon

Stay strong

Mercedes L Shea

I’m sorry that you are upset but he thing is,wen if he didn’t either right,he’s trying and making the effort and some things (especially things that aren’t in front of them) are just hard to grasp…. My sob does this often in homework and I let him bring it in that way,then the teacher can see if he’s gettin it or not…my son is very smart, he may not grasp certain things but I know he will get it,and I have faith your son will too:) just keep being supportive and praising him for making such an effort:)

Joey Maynard

One of the things we found with our son was to actually do the homework with him. Sit with him and discuss where and how he came to the answer he has. He’s in the 2nd grade and has made honor roll two straight quarters. Just a thought….

Rachel Griffith

If we can find an area they love and if they can learn and work towards that for their future then can’t our kids….and us!….forget all the homework and things that actually only matter in the short term?

Carolyn Delas- Pasquarella

I’m not in your situation but he had the initiative and perseverance to make his homework a priority and that is great. However I know the pain of wanting so badly to have something be right and understood correctly so you can feel new hope and they can feel proud of themselves.

Alison Lonnon

Focus on the positives, his handwriting is clear, he stuck to the subject…. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you. Just hope that you and your family can find a pace that suits you all x

Brittany Hays

Hang in there. I agree with Jessica, keep up with the positive it may not seem like sometimes that he registers the positive because he still gets upset, but I am sure it is helping even if it doesn’t show. Keep doing what you are doing. Praying for you guys.

Holly Lynn Turner

I’m so sorry rob…. my heart hurts for Gavin.

Jessica Wesolowski

Just keep praising the effort, hard work and dedication is worth more than 1000 right answers. Most teachers have far more pride in their hard working students than in the “right answer every time” students. Not sure if you have time, but maybe sometimes if you can read it over together before he starts answering & discuss the questions and answers together first so he doesn’t get discouraged after working so hard. Sorry to hear you’re both struggling-best wishes

Kim Bailey


Alisha Shiree J

My heart hurts for you on reading this! I’m so sorry. 🙁 I’ve never gone through this but I wanted to comment because I feel your pain, he’s Cleary trying his hardest!! Poor guy. Hope you can come up with a new education plan or figure out what’s best for his self-esteem to be lifted!! Prayers and happy thoughts your way!!!


Rob thank you so much for sharing with all of us.  I only have one son and he is on the spectrum (high functioning aspie) who has been through extreme medical crises in the past six months (a month in ICU in an induced coma) following a misdiagnosis.  He has missed 5 months of school and has had a major development slide as a result.  He’s doing well now and we are excited for the future, but I have to say that your blog and tweet links have helped me stay focused on getting through it all knowing that we are not alone.  Thank you for this, knowing we are not alone makes all the difference, and now I say to you – you and your boys and wife are not alone either, even here on the tip of Africa we think about you and discuss Gavin’s issues which so strongly reflect Jack’s, and Jack asks how you are doing like you are family friends that he knows personally.  I don’t have any advice and am not big on prayers but do believe that we can share love and support in situations that so many others just don’t get.  So love to the boys and strength to you and your wife, Jo & Jack.