Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Did I drink the Kool-Aid?

The short answer is no.

I had an enlightening lunch meeting with a friend from high school who finds herself on this extraordinary journey that is parenting a child with autism. It's amazing how much you learn about some one by the questions he or she asks. It was good stuff! We are in interesting places relative to one another on this road, but I'm in a place where I can actually be of some help.

I like that, because there are plenty of people I rely on for help as I wade forward. As my kids get older, this road does not necessarily get easier. R asked me if I discussed with Nic what he has going on. The thing is, Nic notices the difference but hasn't asked me about it. I'll be ready to talk to him whenever he is ready, but this will not be one conversation--it will be many, over many years.

As much as possible, it won't be medical. I don't want him ever thinking CAN'T. He throws that word around a lot--particularly when he doesn't WANT to do something. Big difference between can't and won't. And he knows it.

I never want to hear can't. But I hear it a lot. So we press on, and he proves to himself time and again he CAN.

As for school, he continues to prove that inclusion is working for him. He has come so far from the Kindergartner he was. He still has so far to go, but I didn't think it would ever be possible for him to do any township sports. We're there. He's not a great success, but he's DOING it, which is its own success.

And I get irritated at times when people tell me that it's only because 'Nic is so high functioning that he can...' First of all, I hate the whole high functioning--low functioning dichotomy because it's stupid and it says nothing. These kids have challenges no matter what their level of conversational speech, ability to tie shoes or ability to infer is. I look at other kids are regardless of where they are in the spectrum, they are members of the tribe no one really wants to belong to.

Nic is where he is not necessarily by luck, but because he works his butt off. I work my butt off and all the teachers and aides he's had through the years have worked THEIR butts off to help Nic get where he is. Nic as he exists today did not just *happen*.

But having said that, we had a lot of raw material to work with. Nic has speech. He was potty trained. But he also had severe disruptive behaviors, major anxiety and little to no conversational speech.

Wow, he has come a long way.

But...we have such a ways to go.

Anyway, he does well at school, and increasingly the behaviors we see are when he gets pulled out. I'm thinking it's time to tone down the number of pullouts and move to the big bus.

Getting there.

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