It’s been just over 4 years since the word “autism” was brought into our life.
The boys have had many (MANY!) evaluations. They have logged countless hours of speech, and OT. They have graduated from an autism day treatment program, and they stand before me looking far different than they did on that December day, when Early Intervention came for a speech evaluation.
Today, after 3.5 years of speech and OT, the boys have “graduated” from Fraser.
This is most likely just a break from speech and OT, and a much needed one. We are now mentally in a place where this seems like the right thing, the best thing, and we are not afraid of scaling back to “just” school, and the services they get there. I couldn’t say that two years ago. Who am I kidding? I couldn’t say that a year ago!
The absolute hardest thing for me, is leaving Lincoln’s amazing speech therapist. All of our therapists have been great, but Maureen has been with Lincoln since day 1. From early on, she was his “person”. It certainly wasn’t me or John. It was sometimes Grandma, but mostly Maureen. It took much longer for Lincoln to find his words, we were preparing ourselves for him to never talk. And it was really hard to imagine, considering Wyatt had started picking up sounds and words just a few months after starting ECSE.
But then, he started naming letters. And making more sounds. And then words. And then came the reading. Oh the READING! And now, we have a 6 year old who is constantly narrating life, navigating all of our adventures, and telling some very tall tales.
Today, as we walked from our car to the front door of Fraser, I remembered those first months, when they were not quite 3. The boys had to wear their backpack leashes just to get through the parking lot safely. I was an emotional mess at every session. Everything was overwhelming. Autism was scary.
I recognize that although they still have some issues in waiting rooms (Wyatt can’t walk by a reception desk without checking on the state of the computers), it’s really hard to leave the building without making a dash for the “big gym”, and they still have countless hurdles ahead of them…they have come a really long way. I have come a long way. Autism isn’t nearly as scary as it seemed in 2011.
Today feels really good.