Today I'm reposting a post from my personal blog (My Family's Experience With Autism). I'm posting this mainly for anyone reading this post who recently learned that their children are on "the spectrum". Nothing is "over". Their future isn't "lost". Tomorrow still holds the wonder and mysteries that it did before you learned your child was "autistic". And THAT will never change!!!!!
This week was our anniversary. Anniversary of learning that we were a living in "The Autism World". We had been living there for a while at that point....we just didn't know it.
Yup.....March 12, 2009 is when a developmental pediatrician told me that both Ballerina and Music Man were "clearly on the spectrum". All those questions went through my head.....the "hows" and "whys".....the "what are you talking about"s....the total disbelief and feeling my entire world crashing all around me.
3 years ago, neither of them were showing any interest in language and communication. Neither of them were making eye contact. Neither one showed any interest in playing with toys (appropriately). Music Man loved to flap and spin. Ballerina NEVER smiled. Music Man was a TERRIBLE sleeper. All of these should have clued us in that something was wrong, but we missed it all. We just thought they had a language delay and we kept falling back to the excuse that "twins develop language later". The rest.....we just didn't see it. We never thought about how I always had to keep them in the stroller when we went out -- we just had never done anything different. Rigidity in routines? All kids thrive on routine. Tantrums.....well, they're 2.....2 year olds tantrum all the time. That's why they call it "Terrible Twos". Did you find yourself using any of these excuses before a diagnosis was staring you in the nose?
But now, they are totally different children. Ballerina talks up a storm and love to play. She practically potty trained herself when she was 3 years 4 months. She's often smiling and we've been told for almost 2 years how much her teachers LOVE to work with her. We go to the playground and she climbs up every climbing structure she finds, seeks out slides and goes down them forwards and backwards, loves to play on the computer, on her iPhone/iPod, knows her letters (upper and lowercase) for reading and writing, knows her numbers and can manipulate her numbers.....we are even considering the possibility of her entering a typical kindergarten classroom next year. Music Man also talks all the time, loves to play at the playground (although he will still sit under the structures to play with the mulch), can handle social situations, enjoys playing on the computer and on his iPhone/iPod, knows all of his letters (upper and lower case), can clearly read even unfamiliar words, knows his numbers and can do simple manipulations, and (we can finally say) is potty trained. He will be entering an academic-based special education kindergarten classroom next year and will work on mainstreaming through his elementary school years.
Who would have believed that we'd be sitting here when they realize where we were just 3 years ago? Another example of the living proof that you never know what the future will hold. You just have to take it one day at a time and keep trying your best. Remember that the future isn't pre-determined......it's malleable and just waiting for you to shape it.
It's been an amazing and CRAZY 3 years!!!!!!