A New Year already. Time just passes so quickly. We live in a whirlwind of school, ABA Therapy, Social Group Classes, Doctor Appointments, Occupational Therapy appointments, Speech Therapy appointments, play dates and school and that’s just for Mateo.
But to me, everything is worth it. I see the progress in Mateo every day. The improvements I have seen through the past year are incredible. Mateo is talking more and more in sentences. He is using independent speech and even speaking more clearly, even his eye contact and response to people speaking to him has improved. I see the results of the hours and hours of hard work. Part of that I believe is from attending full day Kindergarten in a main stream class, he learns so much from his peers in class. But part is from the therapy and efforts he puts in each day to retrain his brain. To go against his nature, to help him to process each word, each concept and in turn speak the answers that sit in his brain, sometimes unable to find there way out.
Autism is so many different things to each child it effects. It creates different worlds for each family that lives with Autism. There will be no simple cause for Autism, just like there is no one way that our children learn to cope with this disorder. Because all of the therapy and treatment methods are only helping our children to manage a little easier, to find a way to somewhat blend in, a way to understand how things work in this world and to find their place in it.
I have heard of several people in my circle concerned for their children or grand children and whether or not they could have Autism. I always advise them to get them checked out, and maybe it’s nothing to worry about, but it’s better to know early. So many times parents are afraid of the diagnosis, afraid of labeling their child. And I understand because I had many of those feelings also. But dear friends, it’s the label that could make all of the difference. It’s the label that will help that child get the services. It’s the label that will help you to understand your child, and help you to cope. It’s the label that will help you to find support in online friends and parents that understand all of those emotions and feelings. It’s just a label. It doesn’t change who your child is. And if you are worried about the stares or your child being judged- I will tell you right now- that will happen with or without your child being diagnosed with Autism. But now you will be able to educate the people around you, tell them, my child has Autism and this is what Autism is.
In looking forward to 2012 I am not sure what the year will bring for Mateo. But my goal is to focus on more family and fun time together. To find time to have more fun, see more things, visit more towns, expose him and Maya to so much more. I hope that all of you wonderful friends find time to live life and make new fun memories amongst all of the challenging schedules. Thanks for being so supportive over the past year, I look forward to a great New Year with you all!