A Modern Day Fairy Tale: A Good Day {Autism Awareness Month}

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Good Day {Autism Awareness Month}

Every day when Shaun comes home from school, I ask him the same question, "How was your day?"

And every day I get either "good" or "bad" as my response. Then I ask, "What did you do?" and again, the same response. No details, no play by play...just good or bad. Anything beyond that I have to force out of him, asking him questions like, "Did you play with your friends? What did you learn? Did you have a snack? What did you eat?" Sometimes he will answer, sometimes he'd prefer not to. But every day I try in hopes that one day he'll decide to share without having to be persuaded.

That day came yesterday. As soon as Shaun returned home, I asked him again, "How was your day?" to which he responded, "good". So I asked him our second question, "What did you do?" Each day, he brings home a chart that tells me what he did that day, which allows me to ask questions accordingly, so as I prepared myself by looking this over, he surprised me and answered, "I had fun. I played on the swing. I had a snack. I ate yogurt. I got on the bus to Shaun's house." No further prompting required, he laid it all out for me with just one simple question.

Perhaps that doesn't seem like a lot coming from a 5.5 year old, but as most parents with children with Autism can tell you, it's absolutely everything! Shaun is extremely verbal, but his communication skills are severely lacking-he can tell you all about every train and every building on the Island of Sodor, down to the very last detail-but telling you about his day or anything else- not interested. He has the ability, but often prefers not to use it and as I said before, conversations can really be like pulling teeth! So while it seems like such a simple thing to most, to me it meant the world (and nearly had me in tears).

THOSE are the moments that make all the hard work and therapies worthwhile. Those moments where you can see all the hard work and persistence paying off. Those moments where he has a simple conversation, looks you in the eyes, follows directions the first time he is told, doesn't have a meltdown when things don't go the way he planned...THOSE are the moments that I live for and cherish so very much.

Having a child with Autism is not easy. There are days/weeks where it seems things are going downhill fast, with no end in sight. There are days when, as much as you love your child, you want to curl up in a ball and cry or scream at the top of your lungs. There are days when you wonder if you'll ever have a real, in depth conversation with your child. For some, there are even days when you wonder if you'll ever hear your child say, "I love you" or something so simple as "mommy". There are days when the meltdowns seem endless and  things go to crap- literally because your child had a pooptastrophe all over his bedroom and the entire upstairs!

Those days can suck! But these days where we see improvement, when we get notes from the teacher saying how much better he's doing, when he smiles on his way to the bus rather than being carried kicking and screaming. When he plays nicely with his peers, and on occasion even initiates the play. When he crawls into your lap and announces, "Mommy, I love you."...Those are the days. Those days make up for every single bad day.

Perhaps today, Shaun will come home and once again go back to his one word answer and once again I'll have to force the rest out of him. And if he does, that's okay- because I KNOW that he's getting there and one day he'll do it again...and again...and again. When I look back at where we started from 3.5 years ago when we started on this Autism journey, I am astounded at the progress Shaun has made. I am so proud of my little man for all of the accomplishments he has made so far in his life, and the many more to come! I know there are a LOT of great days in our future!

1 comment:

  1. I can completely relate! My 4 year old is in an ASD preschool class. He qualifies for services through the school but the doctors said he did NOT have Autism (I suspected Asperger's more than anything). But, every day I ask him how his day is and some days he doesn't even answer that! However, get him talking about another subject & he won't be quiet LOL


"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24