Little C was diagnosed with autism exactly 9 months ago. I have been thinking a lot about how things have changed since that assessment. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. Other times, it feels like just yesterday.
Because the government was making improvements to intervention and changing service providers, it took a LONG time to get intervention started. Too long. I was excited about the changes, because I felt like C would get better service and support, but I hated having to wait. It was stressful, and I often felt like the I was failing him, especially when all you hear about autism is how important early intervention is.
That changed a two months ago, when we finally started intervention. We were so lucky to be matched with a great supervisor and interventionist. It was such a relief! I see him growing even more. It's also a great feeling to know that Team C has grown.
Looking back, I think I was probably a little hard on myself. It's not like we sat back and just waited as the months passed. We work really hard with him, while making it fun. We also visited a private speech language pathologist every other week, which helped me learn more strategies to work into our day. We have actually been going for almost 2 years now, and over the past six months, C's speech has exploded. He's gone from single words to five or more word sentences. He talks NON-STOP now. Half the time, I can't understand him, but it's like listening to music. He's so funny, too. I always knew he was funny and I knew that he was a thinker, but it really makes me wonder what has been going through his head all of these months.
I see so many changes everyday. He is also becoming more friendly with people and talks to them. He has always been a bit shy, but was starting to get really shy around the time of his diagnosis. It usually takes him a less time to warm up now. Sometimes, he really surprises us and jumps right in.
As his speech progresses, he opens up so much more. He comments on everything, asks questions, and makes a lot of requests (especially when something sweet is involved!) He's recognizing emotions in others, and says, "Sorry!" when he thinks he has upset you. When he gets excited and gets a little rough, it's always followed up with, "Sorwee, Ma." The other night, I was putting some greenish goop to my face (a mask), and he said, "Ma, WHAT are you doing?" He cracks me up!
Of course, some things don't change. He climbs everywhere and is always able to figure out how to solve any problem he encounters. What a dare-devil! He always pushes the limits, in a very calculated way. It's pretty rare that he fails when taking risks. He is also the most loveable kid you could meet and gives hugs and kisses so freely to those he loves. He is a great judge of character.
All of the worrying I had a year ago has been fading. He has come such a long way. This time last year, he had one word. ONE. He didn't say mom. He couldn't tell us anything he needed or wanted, and was so frustrated. We were frustrated. Now, with each day gets easier for us. This summer, we enrolled him in soccer. The first night was a disaster, but it gets better each night. I guess, that's what I have reminded myself over the past year - stick to it; keep working; it gets better... and it is SO worth it.
Life is good. Really good.
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