This post is to honor my boy, L. And to pronounce my faith to you all.
I honestly don't know where to begin. Well, April is Autism Awareness month. You will hear and/or see a lot of people talk or doing things to "Light It Up Blue". This is in awareness of the disability.
My son is autistic. Or my son has autism. Or my son is on the ASD spectrum. Depending on how you care to verbalize it. All of it says the same thing. We began to notice something wasn't quite right when L was approaching 2. Well, I did. Most of the people in my life kept telling me, he's fine, he's a boy, he'll catch up, etc. But, like with most things a mommy knows.
So, right before his second birthday we began the process of having him tested with early intervention. This is amazing in our state. If anyone has any doubts regarding their child, they will let you know. It's free and if something is "wrong" they can direct you to the next steps.
The testing showed L lacked language skills, fine and gross motor skills. Well, the tester got 2/3 right. He had the gross motor skills. So, we were directed to our local school district where they do their own set of testing. I remember how heart breaking this time was. It's really hard to admit to yourself that your child may have needs that you really don't want to say out loud.
At this time they put L in a category called "Early Childhood Development Delay". The rest of that school year we spent taking him to a speech therapy play group where we would go with him. He would spend two hours twice a week playing in a group setting and getting therapy and being taught by a special education teacher at the same time. It was a big year. His behavior changed dramatically!!!!
At the end of that year it was recommended that he return the following year to go to the three year old special ed preschool. It was four days a week, half day, for free. At the end of that year, we continued but did something amazing. During four year old preschool, he was doing so well he spent the majority of his day OUT of special ed and was in inclusion in general ed.
Towards the middle of four year old preschool it was decided to test L for autism. This is a big deal in our school district because once you make that distinction and that check mark, there's no going back. So you have to make sure. The school district gathers a committee of professionals of all types from across the district that does not know your child and brings them in to observe and test, so they can be as objective as possible.
I remember the day the findings finally came back. I knew the answer before I was told. The social worker at his school and I had a really good relationship and she said I wouldn't ever tell any parent this over the phone but I know you and I know you already know. Yes, we believe your son is on the spectrum.
I still cried. I still cry. It makes me sad that my son gets angry when confused or frustrated. Sometimes it makes me angry too. Sometimes I'm just plain sad.
Good things have happened along the way. L wasn't ready for kindergarten. He has a late birthday (November) so even if he didn't have the disability he would have likely still did junior kindergarten. His junior kindergarten teacher tells me he is the most talkative, articulate autistic child she's ever had. He has building blocks built in him we have to constantly work at. Meaning socially we see specks of him understanding social cues and making friends. And emotionally he lets us love on him and chooses to love on us in his time.
Now comes my faith. My God is a great big God. I could be angry and say why my boy. And I have. Trust me I have. But, if you can recall from my November blog regarding his birthday, my son shouldn't be alive or at the very least he should have cerebral palsy with the oxygen he lost. So, I choose to believe that God has something amazing in store for this little boy. He is teaching P and I something through our little man. And He is walking with us through every tough moment.
Autism is hard. If you don't know anything or anyone that deals with it, I encourage you to do so. Please feel free to push my blog out. I want people to understand that we live real lives. Autism effects real first grade boys and moms who have weight issues. Not just celebrities who claim their kids are cured by the foods they eat.