There are so many things you won’t know when your kiddo is first diagnosed with autism.
There are so many things that will soon come right along to turn your world upside down.
There are so many things that will do their best to confuse you and crush you and end the dreams you held for your kiddos before they were diagnosed.
There are so many things that will turn your life into a gray zone that seems to hardly ever make sense.
There are so many things and people and words that will make you break into a puddle of tears for no-reason-at-all.
There are just so-many-things.
I felt that way when my boy was diagnosed in 2001. Oh how I felt that way and oh how that puddle of tears seemed to follow me wherever I went. I didn’t know how to do autism. I didn’t know if I was doing everything I could to help my boy. I didn’t even know IF I could help my boy. I mean…AUTISM. I thought it was bigger than me. I thought it was bigger than my little boy. I thought back then, it was bigger than both of us. In those days of our early diagnosis, my boy was the classical case of autism lacking words and eye contact and interaction. He was sweet. He was cute. He was even cuddly but he was also all of those classic signs that screamed autism loudly into our lives. He was a Thomas the Tank Engine genius in a world dominated by Thomas, Percy, James, Diesel, Sir Topham Hat, Annie and Clarabel.
There were so many things. So many things they said he could not do and so many things he would not be because…A-U-T-I-S-M. And, let’s be honest, it was the experts who were making predictions about my boy so who was I to question them? I was nothing more than a tired mom….so I crumbled and I cried and I fell apart at every turn because that’s how I rolled in those early, post-diagnosis years. Until that one day when the person my boy was becoming ran counter to who they said he could be and, on that one day, I decided I’d never again put all my eggs/hopes/beliefs/dreams into any single basket the experts gave me. I decided right then to let my boy decide who he was going to be.
And that is the one day I stood up straight, strengthen my back bone and watched as our spectrum journey really began one day at a time, one step at a time, sometimes rolling fast and sometimes at a snail’s pace, and always supporting my boy’s progress.
So you wonderful Wonder Souls might be wondering what any of this has to do with the Spanish paper that’s sitting at the top of this page. Today my boy is fifteen and I found this in the Spectrum Kiddo’s room on Friday. It was folded up with the words on the inside sitting on his floor and, on a lark and thinking it was trash, I opened it up. And then my jaw fell open because…GOBSMACKED.
There are just so many things that I did not expect.
There are just so many ways autism has opened my eyes.
There are just so many ways he leaves me gobsmacked more times than I’d like to admit.
For a boy who was not supposed to make it out of Special Ed classes, for a boy who had a severe speech delay and who still is working on mastering conversational English, for a boy who one teacher recommended this year should have a one on one aide…well, just look at THIS. SPANISH. My boy, just like any other kiddo in his class, doing his homework in Spanish.
Simple, right? It’s just Spanish homework, silly girl.
To the rest of the world..sure.
For us..it’s simple and complex and mystical and gobsmacking because he is so much more than the plethora of “theys” said he could or would or should be when their abysmal evaluation listed all the pieces that would never be part of my boy’s life and yet, despite the experts and their in-stone predictions, here we are.
He is already so much more than that limited view of life they predicted would be his goal. He is so just so much more…on every level.
My boy is so much more than anyone could have ever expected him or projected him to be. And while I understand that evaluations are important in their own right to gauge where a child’s growth currently stands…don’t let anyone hamper your vision of your child. Don’t ever stop seeing your kiddo as the whole and brilliant child that they are because different is not less.
Always raise those expectations and goals.
And just when you may be falling into that puddle of tears, remember….SPANISH…because Spanish homework papers don’t lie. It’s right there…in brown and white.
Sparkle On, my friends.