Today’s post reveals where the title comes from (in case you missed it somewhere, the title is “Make A Wish For Me”) Feedback on that would be helpful, as a title is really important.
We celebrate Ryan’s third birthday in relative quiet. He loves chocolate chip cookies, so I bought a cookie cake from the store and Jenna, Dan, and I sing to him. He delights in the candles and smiles so brightly. His smile has such a way of igniting my soul. It thrills me every time he smiles because I am painfully aware of how blessed I am that he can show emotions. I’ve read about many autistic children who have no emotional response to most everything.
True to Dr. Hunter’s words, he is not the same kid. Well, not the same tantruming, screaming unhappy kid, he’s actually happy now. What more could I ask for…
We saw immediate changes in him when we started the therapy. It’s hard for me to believe it’s been a whole year–already. How I dreaded that initial time getting used to the sessions and learning all that was required of us just to teach him how to fit into ‘our world’; and keep him from going too deeply into his. Program after program, behavior after behavior, we climbed with him in his successes and progress.
Tomorrow we are going to look at the preschool program the school district has in place at an elementary school nearby. When you have a child with any “delay” you are allotted services by the county, like speech and occupational therapy, depending on where the delay lies. Upon the child’s third birthday they become “property” of the school district. Therefore, if you want to continue services, it is customary to place them into one of the district schools. We want him back in school with other children, but he has not been in a school setting since we took him out last year when we started the in-home therapy. His last experience with school was not necessarily bad for him, but not so great for the other kids.
Brie attended school with him for a few weeks and reported things to us that the school had never mentioned about his behavior. He was very withdrawn from the class and played alone a lot. He had become the ‘mafia boss’ in many ways. The kids were mostly scared of him and stayed out of his way. If one of them got too close, he would clock them with whatever toy he had in hand. And if he wanted a toy they were playing with, he simply took it away. Even children at that young age were perceptive enough to know not to mess with him. They were all communicating in their early language, but Ryan’s body language was crystal clear. “Don’t mess with me”.
Putting him back in school brought excitement and trepidation for me. We weren’t going to have his therapists with him to help him and we would have to go back to relying on a school for information about his day. We have become spoiled with the therapy going on right at home and we hear the progress as they work or are given a detailed account of his session. We also have monthly team meetings where we talk about his progress, set new goals, and are an integral part of all that is going on with him: emotionally and developmentally. It is very hard to think of letting go of that control and leaving him in a new environment without us or his therapists as a safety net.
He blows out his candles and I snap a quick picture of his sideways smile. I turn away and wipe a tear as I make the wish for him. I know he doesn’t understand the tradition of making a wish before you blow out the candles, but I do. So I make the wish for him. And it’s no longer for him to be” normal”. It’s for him to continue to be happy.