Tuesday, April 13, 2010
a proud mommy on her tiny soap box
April is Autism Awareness Month and it seems i've been bombarded with this topic lately. So i would like to express my feelings on this "epidemic" and try to avoid getting too preachy or opinionated. Within my circles of family, friends, and facebookers i know of 8 families with children on the autism spectrum. The current stat is 1 in 144 children are diagnosed with some sort of this pervasive developmental delay. When jared and i saw some points of concern with caden at age 3, the scary "A-word" never came to mind. As his speech plateaued for over a year and his social behaviors were extremely difficult, the exact problem was still undetected. We had begun the assessment process, nothing clear came out of it except a speech delay (thank you very little). I will never forget that day at church when a good friend becky threw the word out there. I sheepishly brought it up to Heather, and her confirmation of her concern reignited our efforts to find an answer. It's now been a year and a half since Caden was given the label of High Functioning Autism. there are days where i'm still in denial--thinking of his future, questioning, will he... what if he...i'll be sad if he never gets to... all go thru my head and pierce my heart. which is why i can not dwell in that place. EVERY day i get a good morning from him and we have our huggy moment as we wait for his little bus to take him to his special school. EVERY day he cracks us up with his memorized scripted comments and questions. and EVERY day i am in wonderment at how his brain processes so differently than mine. Kendra the big sister said, "it's ok, that's just Caden being autistic". With the unknown causes, medical ambiguity, and even more diverse theories of "cures" and treatments, it is indeed complex and overwhelming to formaulate a plan on how to manage this for him. At the same time Jared and I feel very relaxed, at ease even, with how our son is. It's ok that he climbs the counters, cuts open his bag of snack,and microwaves his pizza rolls. Since that day I called Rosie looking for advice and help for a private preschool till now, he is a COMPLETELY different kid. I didnt expect him to put together his own creative thoughts, to ask appropriate questions, or to follow ANY sort of schedule. He reads like a champ, attends church and classes, plays with a few kids spuratically and can conform to most social situations. Roller skating, birthday parites, the park are all do-able for him now. I'll get sucked in for hours watching parents' videos of their stories. I keep up on the info, stay involved with the local support group, he's getting both his speech and occupational therapy, and we are participating in the big Autism Walk in June. There's always new studies, laws, ideas, and hints that are available and helpful. Strangely enough, I feel lucky to be part of this group and share this awareness with others. I was recently asked if there was a "cure" for autism would i want that for Caden. I had a really hard time answering that, of course I want the best for my child, but my heart tells me EVERY day that Caden is who he is for a VERY special reason, he is mine and i love him for it.