Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Far We've Come (and we're still going!)

I had a chat today with a friend, who is another autism Mum. We met when our kids were in Early Intervention together.

Our boys are like a week apart in age, and couldn't be more different in the way their autism presents. They both have great skills - just completely opposite ones. They have both gone through extreme changes over the past four years, through completely different therapies.

They're both six now... boys on the brink of boyhood. Our tiny troubled toddlers have grown into their own lives.

And here's the preachy bit... the uncalled for advice to anyone who might be reading this who is at the beginning of this autism journey. Conversely, this next passage is for all the people who sat beside us without judgement through the early part of our journey.

We agreed today, my friend and I, that one of our biggest fears was that our boys would have dreams or desires that their disability would prohibit - that they would comprehend what they could not achieve... too early. And then live their lives within those perceived limitations...

Now, I totally get that we can't all live out our childhood dreams. But, now when our six year olds make up great stories or join their peers on the soccer pitch, it's because they love it and because they are good at it (in that six year old boy kind of way).

They are confident, happy boys who love and are loved. They enjoy stuff, they excel at stuff, they try stuff. They're at school. They are learning fast. So far, they are not self-limiting. In fact, they are soaring.

They still have challenges. They have a way to go. But don't we all.

Certainly in Billy, the autism is not going away. It's becoming more of him, really. But in a good way. He's growing into it, and it is developing through him.

We are also understanding autism better. It's not so scary now. Sure it's different, and it takes some flexible thinking some days. But it's like one of the family now. The whacky old aunty who makes Christmas a time to stay on your toes... but one of the family nonetheless.

I couldn't possibly list all the things I'd like to investigate in Billy. I've got fears coming out the wahoo. There are a million tests I'd like to do. But there are also many days when we sail through what used to be a ticket to insomnia and a 3am Google-fest.

Can you tell I'm waiting for a whole wardrobe full of shoes to drop...?

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