Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Actually the whole season between now and Christmas. And now the kids are at the perfect age where they are filled with wonder and excitement and it makes this time of year even more special. So for Thanksgiving I try to reflect on my life and remember how much there is to be thankful for. I feel thankful for so much in my life. But this blog is about Mateo, his achievements, his challenges and bringing awareness to Autism. My hope is that one day he will want to take over and tell his story. So we can learn more about how he sees the world.
So today I will reflect on Autism, Mateo and how thankful I am for the amazing progress we have made in a year. I started this blog just over a year ago in November 2009. I just read my blog from 11/21/09, just over one year ago. https://mateosstory.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/finding-the-words/ And this really put things into perspective. One year ago we were struggling to get one simple word out of Mateo:
I wrote “He hands me a granola bar. And he will look at me. I will always say the same thing, “What do you want?” And he will stand there, beautiful brown eyes wide and think. I imagine he’s thinking, “What does she want me to say?”. Sometimes he will blurt out “Open!”. And I get excited, and tell him, “Great job Mateo! Open!” And other times he will just look away. Does he not remember the word Open?”
Today, he will take me to the cabinet and I will ask. “What do you want Teo?” he will respond “Chewy Bar” or “Goldfish”. And I will hand it to him and prompt, “What do you say?” He will reply, “Thank you!”
I still have to prompt him, sometimes he won’t always tell me what he wants. But it’s amazing how far he has come in a year. He has worked so hard to get those words. And to many people it may not seem like much, but to me it’s incredible! Many kids with Autism are never able to communicate with words, they use Ipads these days or other devices to speak for them. One of my favorite people I follow on Facebook is Carly. She is a teenager, now attending a typical high school and cannot talk and her family never thought she would be where she is today. Take a look at her site and watch the video: http://carlysvoice.com/
So I am very thankful for how far Mateo has come in a year, he has achieved so much! I am thankful for my amazing and supportive husband and a daughter who takes such good care of her brother. I am thankful for the tutors who dedicate so much to helping Mateo to find the words. And I am thankful for my friends who are so supportive of our family. And to our amazing family who supports Mateo in everything he does.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Thanks for supporting Mateo and for helping everyone to see what the world of Autism really is.