I am a realist. I don't kid myself or live in a fantasyland in denial of what life is and of Aidan's autism. It is what it is and like so many other families, we deal with it the best we can. Aidan has been doing great for awhile. Therapy is the best thing in the world as far as I'm concerned. He has extensive amounts of therapy that costs more than we or most people can afford.
We are lucky that he has had the same therapists for years. We are even luckier that his babysitter Meghan has decided to change her major and become a therapist because of her love for Aidan. Aidan's therapist Alyssa is on maternity leave and the company which provides therapy for Aidan has hired Meghan as well. Most of his therapy happens in our home and typically while I'm at work.
Aidan has come so far already its amazing. From a non verbal kid who didn't respond to his own name to a kid you can talk to and have a conversation with. He goes to school and is very social and loving. He sings in the shower and watches tv. He now goes to the bathroom on his own.
The other day he said to me "Daddy, I need my own iPhone 6 and xbox1 please." I asked what he needed them for and he replied: So i can call you, mommy, Justin, Colin, Grandma, Pop Pop, aunt Dina, uncle Bob, aunt Brooke, uncle Dude, and uncle Pete. I then said why an Xbox1, you don't know how to play video games and his response was Colin and Justin have one. Just like any other typical kid. There was a part of me that was so happy thinking how far we have come.
So, whats the problem? Well we had a bit of rain and he heard thunder and ran to the closet. He was very freaked out. It took some time to get him to come out. I don't think he understands that the thunder won't hurt him. He has started something new where lights on in the house bother him. He says they hurt is eyes. Recently I've noticed when having conversations with him, he struggles to get out words to convey what he wants to say. Sometimes his speech is very tough to understand and when i ask him a few times and have to guess the word or what he means i see this incredibly frustrated child standing in front of me. Not a mad child, but really a sad child in front of me. Its painful for me when this happens.
As a parent I don't always want to think of my child with a disability. Im not in denial, I just sometimes start to think how he is (for lack of a better word) normal. No disability. He talks and plays and watches tv. He sings, dances, does tons of activities. He counts and spells words just like any other kid, only he's not just like any other kid. He is different. He does struggle. He, like so many other kids with autism need consistent therapy just to maintain, move forward and not go backwards.
I guess these are the times I am reminded that I have to have extra patience. That Aidan has a disability, that there is a new normal in our home and it requires lots of work to maintain. Not every family is as lucky as we are to be able to get the therapy their child or children need. Not every family is lucky enough to have found an Alyssa or Meghan who go above and beyond with him. We are so appreciative of the way they interact with him, teach him, and I can say, love him. There were a lot of tears in our home on Alyssa's last day. All I can say is thank you for caring.