I have not had much me time lately. Not since starting my new job anyway. I feel more and more like Autism has taken over even the “normal” parts of my life.
Today at dinner I was so famished I couldn’t wait to sit and eat. I was up before the sun with my son and just after dropping off my typicals at the bus stop I was met with his aba tech at our door by 9am. By 945 a.m. I was on the road with a coffee to work my aba case and was back home at 1:06 to prepare for my sons second session from 2-5. I had yet to eat as I peeled the potatoes (I never cook instant potatoes) and boiled the corn. I found half way through grilling the pork chops that our propane tank had emptied at some point and would have to finish them up in the oven. Once all was done I fixed mine and the children’s plates and sat down to eat as both of my typical children entered the house in unison one through the garage and one through the front door. They sat down and dinner began.
I saw it happen immediately. His eyes changed somehow as they always do when the other children sit at the table. they grow darker, angry and you can see it bubbling up. Aiden’s tech went to the kitchen to fetch him the cup of water he had manded for and that was his opportunity. He lunged out of his chair and began pinching Caleb’s arm aggressively. I threw down my corn and lunged across the table to block the behavior and screamed “STOP”. The tech came running in to see what all the commotion was as Aiden sat back down in his chair glaring at his brother out of the corner of his eye. He continued to stare at caleb and twist and turn in his seat while emitting some strange type of growl almost as I prepared to inverveine. I felt bed as I rushed Caleb to eat and vacate the “ring” wishing he didn’t have to come home to such a stressful situation. There are times that Autism just breaks your heart. Not for the one directly affected but for the innocent bystanders.
This isn’t the first time he has done this. He often will “act out” in this manner unprovoked. “This is why I stagger our meals” I said to the tech. She replied, “you shouldn’t have to though, you should all get a family meal”. I don’t know what sparked first, the hunger or the exhaustion but my first thought was “this is the least of my worries, I’ve picked my battles, and staggered meal times just don’t seem to be that big of a deal in the scheme of things”. I thought this with an inner monologue of an almost irritated tone and when I became aware of my irritation I tried to talk myself down to my own inner justification by saying “it has been a long week of people who just don’t get it and its only Monday”.
“We found a tech that fits with Aiden’s schedule and we will be dropping his hours from 15 to 12. He is doing so well I don’t see reason to staff for the extra 3 hours”. My sons BCBA wrote today. I took that as a good sign that maybe, just maybe we are getting closer to graduating the program. That’s the ultimate goal right? Really, I do think we need ABA just a bit longer and I have to admit that its felt great to be at 12 hours the past few weeks. Its almost like a vacation of sorts. Like right now, There is NO tech in my house. I repeat “THERE IS NO TECH IN MY HOUSE!” We are down to ABA only two days a week and my soul sings in excitement over this fact. Could it be that all those countless hours and compromised living situations have paid off? I mean its a Monday and I’m sitting here with dinner done, Aiden resting in his swing and me with a glass of a wine to my right, feet on a table and writing this blog. All my favorite things. ON A MONDAY!
In all seriousness though, Aiden is doing very well. We have completely won the battle with the potty accidents and are 100% back to completely potty trained. The other day on our way to Sonic to get shakes, because in the summer they are half off after 8pm ;), and we all saw something funny happen outside of our truck and we all started laughing and what i heard was short of a miracle it was his low monotone voice asking, “what happened?”. I whipped my head back and quickly looked at my husband who sat staring at the road ahead in disbelief at what he had just heard.
He is now able to answer upwards of 75% of the questions we ask him (simple ones of course) but I am thankful everyday for the blessing of every word he speaks because I know there are so many who are praying for their children to speak even just one word. I thank the lord everyday for every word. Sometimes, when he speaks I close my eyes and take myself back to five years ago and tell my past self, “don’t worry momma, he will get it”.
I dont know, maybe it’s where I am in life. Maybe its where he is. Maybe its the blessing of my job or maybe, just maybe the light at the end of the proverbial ABA tunnel is fast approaching. All I know is that as I watch him grow I hear is voice more, I hear his laugh more, I appreciate his brutal honesty more and more everyday even if its him just wanting me to go away.
I am not blind to the new behaviors we are beginning to face as the pubescent years are now upon us. I am fully aware of the battles we will face but I feel almost ready to face them as they come I mean, I have grown to realize that a person with autism lives the same life we do. Its the same struggles only intensified. God seems to send just who and what we need right when we need it. This new tech, is a male, thank goodness. Lord knows he has had his share of female therapists and, at this point in his life, I think a male is just the thing he needs.
That is all for now. To those of you not facing autism on a consistent basis I write this to teach you and to those of you who face it daily I write it to say “I see you, I got you, I Believe in you!”