So much has happened in our lives these past months it’s hard to even think straight. We PCS’d from Virginia to Kentucky (well Tennessee technically). The movers broke $300 in stuff and gave us someone elses futon frame (or half of it, anyway).
It’s been so crazy. K no longer has an IEP, which is both scary and exciting. Exciting that she no longer needs the school sponsored therapies, but scary because this is a whole new world to us. We were only starting to figure out how the IEP system worked and now she doesn’t have one. She is in a completely mainstreamed first grade class, though she’s only five years old. It’s amazing to think of all the advances she has made these past few years. At three, she was barely talking and when she was, it was primarily echolalia (that is, scripted phrases from books and TV used in place of language when the speaker doesn’t know or understand how to respond). We thought she had a form of apraxia way back then. She clearly knew what we wanted her to do when asked or told, but she couldn’t respond in a linguistically appropriate manner. In two short years, her language has picked up dramatically. She does still use echolalia, a lot, but she’s getting much better at free expression and emotional language. So this year, a whole year early, she starts first grade. She is having a blast. K absolutely loves her teacher and has no problems adapting to the schedule she is given. We finally got her medical diagnosis this past summer, a few months after her 5th birthday. K is officially on the autism spectrum and she was diagnosed with ADHD as well.
The focus on development has shifted a bit. We are now focusing more on Little J, who just turned 2. I think having a first-born child with autism makes you hyper-aware of the stages of growth and development. Today Little J had a developmental screening. He passed, scoring highest in Motor Skills (22) and Cognitive Ability (20). He scored 17 in all the remaining categories, Social Skills, Adaptive Skills, and Communication, which each have a cut off point of 16. This means while he is inside the normal range, it’s only just barely. We will need to work on his language and socialization, while continuing to monitor his toe walking and repetitive, unimaginative play. It’s tough, but we’re gonna keep working with him on it. Better to be safe than sorry, I’d rather annoy people with my hypersensitivity to his behavior, than have him slip through the “wait and see” cracks that K did.
I’m so proud of both my kids. In their short lives, they have taught me so much about myself and the world around me. People are only cruel when they are afraid and don’t understand. My strength is bigger than I am, because the one who gives me strength is bigger than I am. Through accepting my kids as they are, I have learned to accept myself more. Through loving them unconditionally, I have learned so much about God’s love for us as His children. I can be who my kids need me to be when they need me to be it, and I’ve learned a lot about how to do that better these past years while bouncing between doctors and schools looking for answers. Riding the autism spectrum can be hard, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything. I wouldn’t take it away if I could. To change something so fundamental to who they are, would be like completely altering their personalities, and I don’t believe they would be the people I fell in love with. I love them for who they are, just as they love me for who I am.
So very proud of them! I love them so much!