our journey of hope and healing through autism
(aka- the post where I randomly intersperse pictures of my kids holding newborn baby lambs, because kids and lambs are way cuter than my innermost feelings. 🙂
When March began with big blowy snow storms, I thought of the old saying about March, “In like a lion, out like a lamb”. My month has kind of been like that. Often, I put the best face on things, and try to be brave, and cheerful, and positive. This isn’t one of those posts. Just honesty here, folks.
I started the month under rested, and overwhelmed from things unrelated to Hannah and therapy. Unrelated to anything, in a way. I was having nightmares every night, and sleeping crummy, and trying a little too hard to be a perfect parent, and catch up on years worth of accumulated unfinished projects. Blech.
Then, the second week of March, Hannah had her annual fine motor skills assessment.
Big deal, right?
Well, not so much. When you have a child with autism, and are doing everything in your power to help them make progress (and if you’re me), you get hoping that their delays will get less severe. But, I also knew that if Hannah didn’t test out with a severe delay in at least two areas, we wouldn’t have our intensive funding renewed for next year. It kind of stinks- desperately hoping that Hannah is gaining developmental ground, yet knowing that if she makes too much developmental ground, she’ll have fewer therapy hours to support her development next year.
So the occupational therapist came, and assessed and Hannah had made great strides- but still rated as severely delayed in fine motor skills. Less severely delayed than a year ago, but still a severe delay.
At first, I pretended to be okay with it. After all- Hannah’s therapy time targets so many areas that have made great progress this school year- in language, in dressing herself, in expressing her feelings and controlling her temper, in playing with her peers… But really, I felt devastated. When I shared my discouragement, people had a hard time understanding, and tended to suggest I should just cheer up. Which felt even worse- alone-ish.
After all, I may be the only one who has her heart set on Hannah recovering from autism (some kids actually do recover-Yes, I know you mostly all think that is crazy, and yes, I know that’s why some hate the biomedical-treatment-for-autism movement-creating hope in parents where there may not be room to hope), or at least improving so much that autism does not rule her life and dictate what she can and cannot succeed at. (.) But I have seen what in my mind are true miracles in Hannah’s development in the past 12 months, and so I continue to hope, and pray, and support Hannah’s development in every way possible.
On top of this, Hannah had been having more tantrums than previous months. Some of them pretty big, miserable out-of-nowhere tantrums. Logically, I knew that even “normal” kids take a developmental step backward before making a developmental leap. Officially, I knew to expect this even- as Hannah had started a new biomedical treatment (methyl B-12 shots every 3 days) that sometimes more meltdown are a side effect at first. On top of that, kids following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet protocols often have flare-ups of symptoms at 3 month intervals, and Hannah was approaching her 1 year anniversary on the diet. All of that made sense, but I was scared. What if we lost the progress we’d made with Hannah in controling her temper, and couldn’t get it back? Nothing wears me out emotionally like coaching Hannah to calm down from a screaming fit, and it had seemed that we were done with those.
An amazing thing happened, in the last few days of March. The tantrums eased up a bit, and I realized that Hannah is talking better than ever before, more naturally than ever before. She’s consistently speaking in 7-8 word sentences. We’re having conversations about things, and she’s sharing her ideas and her memories. Hannah is playing with her toys more age-appropriately than ever before- having conversations with her Barbies… it’s glorious. Perhaps, even better, I’ve remembered that God is at the helm- that if I do my best, I can rely on Him to guide us in this journey.
So, here’s to March going out like a lamb, and a salute to spring (which should arrive here sometime in the next 2 months!)
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