Well, I recently took a break from blogging so I could focus on school and Praxis exams. And thankfully, I passed the core exams and 2 of my classes for this semester are done, which means I’m back to it!
There are many reasons I decided to start writing a blog about raising a child who has autism. More than anything, I hope other parents are able to relate and feel like they have support out there. We live in an amazing time where we have the luxury of social media support groups and the option to ask questions whenever we have them. A question I recently asked in a support group was related to my son’s speech. He’s nonverbal but he does babble on occasion. I posted a video of his babbling and a couple of people mentioned he may have speech apraxia. Side note: I do not recommend researching things on the internet unless you have mentally prepared yourself to do so. Reading about it when I did immediately made me burst into tears. I knew better than to look it up when I was already feeling overwhelmed.
I know it’s possible that my son will never talk, but I will hold on to the hope that he will one day. I used to think that being optimistic meant that you weren’t allowed to think things could go wrong. That’s not the case. If you think things won’t go wrong or that they will only go well, then that’s setting yourself up for major disappointment. The heartache caused if things don’t go the way you wanted can be devastating. In this situation, optimism can be focusing on what my son can do, and less on what he can’t. And that’s what I try to do. However, I do have to be aware of the areas he needs help. Otherwise he won’t receive the therapy he needs.
One of the things that amazes me is how communication can be done so effectively without words. My son’s speech may not be in words, but he finds ways to communicate his wants/needs. It’s not always clear, but at least it eases some of his frustrations. He is getting better at signing and he will let us know if he’s hungry/thirsty by dragging us to the kitchen. I know many of us have heard the phrase, “If you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism.” This speaks volumes to how we can never make assumptions about what a person with autism can or cannot do. Many assume that children with autism are not affectionate. That cannot be further from the truth with Elijah. One of the ways he communicates that he is sorry or feels bad is that he gives hugs and kisses. He will also randomly come up and give hugs and kisses which shows he is using it communicate or express his feelings. If Elijah is never able to say “I love you”, I will still know he does.
It’s not easy when we are told every day what our child is not doing right. To me, that just means it’s more imperative that we be the advocates and the voice for our children. Not only should we focus on what they can do, but we need to make sure they focus on that as well.