It’s hard to describe certain feelings. Some interesting things are happening. Bryan’s language seems to be coming along. We are noticing a lot more complete sentences, some new expressive language, and some questions. Hmm. I have also noticed lately a lot more meaningful eye contact. He holds the eye contact much longer, so he’s not just looking at me to talk but he’s gauging a response. If your kid has autism, you hold these glimmers of typical behavior close to your heart. They sometimes don’t last. At times they come and go and sometimes they are here for good. You just don’t know so you must savor them. A few weeks ago he seemed so out of focus, drifting along, and now he seems with the program. Ask me to explain it and I cannot. However it comes and goes, we are grateful.
Bryan is on the cusp of so much grown up stuff; sleepaway camp for 7 weeks, middle school, Bar Mitzvah. I forget sometimes how old he is; it is one of the crazy things about autism. The kids grow up in slow motion when it comes to speech and language, but physically he is a big boy. One of the challenges when your child does not talk in an age appropriate way is that it is easy to think he doesn’t understand what you are saying. Bryan understands every word we say and we know this because at times he will say something so revealing that it stops us cold. His comments are always met with happiness to hear his thoughts, yet fear that he may have heard something that might make him feel bad. I see a lot of parents who talk about their child like he or she is not there. They are there, and they know all. It’s a lesson that needs to be learned and re-learned daily.
The breakthroughs that Bryan experiences and we comment on filter through our marriage too. Earl spent about 30 mins at lunchtime today talking Bryan through the tuna fish he made. Bryan loves plain tuna fish. Earl made it with carrots, red pepper and corn to try to get some veggies in him. Bryan did not want to eat it but Earl was so patient and calm and encouraging, he gave in, tried, and loved it. I could never do this; but Earl was able to reach him and then Bryan was very proud of himself for trying food for a big boy, eating it, and earning his dad’s approval.
As a married couple our communication skills have improved dramatically too. We have a lot to discuss all of the time and we need to be able to respect the other person’s opinion and not discount another point of view. The sheer determination to help our son has put the focus on being happy rather than being “right”. So simple yet so tough.