Yeah, I know there's no such thing as normal. It's taken me a while to accept that. However, there is the expectation that things look and feel sort of average.
Honestly, I'm not all that familiar with average, either.
All I know is that nine years ago on a sky blue August day my expectations for anything resembling a 'normal' life went out the window with Nic's autism diagnosis. My own and Gabriel's dx'es in 2006 just compounded the fun. I became fluent in jargon to facilitate my understanding of systems. I attended the church of "Throw it against the wall and if it sticks/works, keep it; if not, toss it and move on."
I became a practitioner of 'real life immersion therapy'--that is, dragging both boys everywhere so that they learn what appropriate public behavior looks like. And as a consequence, I've grown a very thick skin. Still, I grit my teeth and moved on, determined that my kids would succeed, and they would receive direct instruction from me on how to do it.
So where are we today? My middle schooler has a peer who dreams about him (and tells him about it). My second grader happily marches to his own tune, has friends, and has even become next month's shining star at his school's after care program. They are both in their home schools, working hard, making friends, and having fun. And they are doing a lot of the same things other kids their ages are doing.
They're happy and healthy kids who also like themselves.
Going out of 2011, I couldn't be happier or more grateful that their hard work is starting to pay off.
And I couldn't be happier that my vision for success for them both is now shared--in a big way--by so many people.
As ever, I am thankful for all the people who believe in them, but more importantly, expect them to toe the same lines other kids toe.
Truly, it is making all the difference. Although we are no where near finished, it's nice to look back at this juncture and see that we are already much, much farther than I expected we'd ever go.....