I’m Back | Sharing the Progress

by J

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Image by S

I’m back!! (Well, hopefully anyway) I started this blog on S’s second birthday, and as we are quickly approaching his 6th (what????) I’ve been reflecting a good bit on the progress he has made, over the years. This, of course, led me back to my blog & I was surprised to log in and find so many comments, likes, re-blogs and shares. I’ve had several people message me to share their experience or thank me for sharing our story & so I felt it only fitting to get back into posting.

I’m Back | Sharing the Progress

When your child is young and you first start down the path of an autism diagnosis, it is a pretty scary time. It is filled with SO much uncertainty, as you have no idea what the new baseline of expectation is for your child.

You see, when you have a typical child, you have a reasonable expectation that they will potty train, talk  & grow up to graduate high school, find a career path, move out on their own and possibly start their own family one day. Of course, this is guaranteed to no one, but it is certainly a reasonable expectation.

Then, when your child is diagnosed with autism, that reasonable exception is completely re-set. Autism is short for “Autism Spectrum Disorder” or ASD. In short, it is a spectrum disorder and it is very difficult to assess what a child’s prognosis might be in their early years. Some children will make fantastic progress- learning to talk, use the restroom independently, go to school with typical children and lead relatively normal lives as they grow. And, for others, they may never do any of those things, while others fall somewhere in-between. It’s a pretty scary prospect for parents to read the “prognosis” and to have NO idea where their child may fall.

I know that for me, that was the most stressful part. Would I have a 15 year old in diapers? Will I ever hear him say “mommy” or “daddy”? Do we need to start planning for long term care, should our son never be able to live on his own? Who will care for him, once we have passed?

These are not fun things to think about, when you should be playing patty cake and making crafts with your little one. 

It’s been about 2 years or so, since I’ve last posted and I am BLOWN away at how much progress our son has made, in that time. I attribute this progress to the overwhelming amount of early intervention that was provided to our son. If you are early in this journey, take every ounce of therapy you can get for your child!

Since I last posted, our son went through two years of pre-school in a program designed for special needs children in the public classroom setting. This year, he started kindergarten in a fully contained classroom with two other children on the spectrum. Half way through the year, his class was merged with a typical classroom and the bursts of progress have been outstanding!

We are pleased to see that our son is a smart, funny, loving, kind, playful, active, attentive, engaged & affectionate little boy. He loves to learn, snuggle, explore & play. All. Day. Long.  Next year, he will repeat kindergarten in a fully included environment, with the support of a 1:1 aid and we just can’t wait to see where the year takes him.

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Image by S

Our almost 6 year old is a talkative, potty trained, pre-reader with a love of camping, science, kitty-cats, spider-man, video games, hiking , taking pictures (see above)  and running. Is he still autistic? Yep. Does he still have struggles? Absolutely.

Do I have any reservations about him growing up to be a healthy, happy, well functioning adult in society? NOPE. 

We are now in a place where I have NO doubt that he will grow up and lead a full and wonderful life. And while I know that he will have challenges, I feel better prepared to help him overcome them and continue to grow into the amazing person that we call our son.

So, if you are new in this journey, I know it is scary. I know that the bar of reasonable expectation has been completely reset for your child and I know what an awful feeling that can be. But don’t lose hope and don’t give up. Keep fighting for your child… getting your child early intervention and moving forward. When given the proper support, our kids can do amazing things!

 

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