Another year down. One year since we shared our news with “the world.” It seems like nothing has changed and everything has changed at the same time. In many ways we are still exactly where we’ve been with all of this for the last 3 years, but in stepping back a little bit, can see all the changes that have happened.
Since 2014, we have noticed more speech. There’s more conversational skills, though most speech is still an attempt to get someone’s attention or get what he wants. There is more interaction, in general, and he loves to check what his siblings are doing, say good morning to people when he wakes up, greet family and friends when he sees them….it has been so nice to see that developing. He responds really well and usually right away to commands and requests. He’s able to do simple chores, and clean up after himself (even without reminders!). Overall, there is more self-control, but things can still spiral very quickly when frustrated. He still wants what he wants when he wants it, but is able to keep himself from a full meltdown if he tries really hard.
At school, he has been working very hard on behavior (as the academics are still coming very naturally and easily to him). We had to come up with some new tactics to manage behavior because he was having some very strong reactions to being told no and also transitioning to another activity. The changes made have all worked really well and he is having very successful days at school with minimal time outs or correcting needed.
Another change (and this is a biggie!) is news from the potty training front: he is fully daytime potty trained. WAHOO!! The process that started in November of 2012 has finally rewarded us. We still aren’t sure what finally clicked or why, but it doesn’t even matter because it did. There was a real chance for back sliding as a fast and furious flu bug hit our house less than a week after he started using a toilet all the time, but he maintained his new skills and we couldn’t be happier! He has even been ok at school, which takes a HUGE kindergarten concern off our plates. I don’t even care about night time training at all at this point because I am so glad for the full daytime undies.
Other big changes are the addition of glasses, as we recently found were necessary, and the beginning (FINALLY) of ABA therapy sessions! We are really looking forward to see how these 2 things especially help our baby grow and thrive. Luckily for all involved, he loves both the glasses and therapy quite a bit!
We have seen some great triumphs, shared many grins, giggles, celebratory treats, hugs, and high fives in the last year, but also had setbacks, heartaches, and challenging moments that felt like they could swallow us whole. There’s still a huge gap between our son and kids his own age, and that is sad and difficult, but it is our reality. Many of the fears we had a year ago still are fears today, and new ones creep in all the time. For example, we have tried to really focus in on him being able to respond to questions like “What is your name/address/phone number?” because if something were to ever happen, we were separated, or he eloped from home, he has to be able to answer those clearly. Scary, but at least he has been gaining ground and has them mostly memorized at this point. We are also working diligently to help him be as socially and behaviorally ready for kindergarten, which is just a shocking 4 months away. As always, there’s still work to be done!
On this World Autism Awareness Day, we hope everyone takes just a moment to think about the many people in our world who are living with or affected by autism. We also hope that people don’t just spread awareness but also acceptance. And if you feel so inclined, Light it up Blue!
RELATED LINKS ESPECIALLY FOR TODAY:
1. 30 Days of Autism Action Ideas to Help Friends and Family
2. Stats about Wandering
3. “Not So Different” article and song
4. 68 Things
5. 33 Resources