I am starting out the new year in celebration of my son Nick.
What is there to rejoice about you may ask! Am I glad that I have a child with an intellectual disability? Am I delighted that he has autism/is autistic? Am I thrilled that I don't have the *freedom* of life like that of my friends? Of course I am heart sore that Nick will not get to experience life like his big brother. There is no doubt that I am concerned about his future and what is going to happen to him when I pop my clogs (so to speak!). Yes, I am terribly sad that we are a dysfunctional family and that there are times when Nick is excluded from family activities......
Over the years I have had a few choices;
1. Become an absolute misery and let my situation rule the rest of my life.
2. Become obsessed with autism to the detriment of my family.
3. Bore everyone to tears about the woes of having a child with special needs.
4. Pick myself up off the floor and keep moving.
5. Take on board my son's disability and all that it entails.
6. Become informed and also inform.
7. Accept my son for who he is and embrace his individuality.
8. Provide the right input to insure that he continues to progress.
9. Pull this child of mine into my arms and love him, no matter what.......
I choose to celebrate my son.
I celebrate the amusing stuff.
Nick has become very tactile and he has this need to touch my face and my arms. This is all very well, until he starts pulling on my jowls or flapping the underside of an arm!! On many a shopping trip, Nick will come to me and then pull in Thomas and Allan for a family hug. No doubt we have had some strange looks, although I prefer to remember the smiles! I enjoy how he is the typical boy when it comes to Bottom Burps (love Purple Ronnie!). He takes great delight in highlighting what he is about to do ~ how can you not smile at that!! It gives me joy to watch him initiate a chasing or throwing game with his brother. I love how Nick starts making his *humming* noise and then waits to see who will reciprocate! :-)
I celebrate his little patterns.
Nick certainly shows signs of OCD! In fact, a few years ago, his need for repetitive patterns really hampered his progress with learning and living. This obsessive need has decreased, or perhaps, I have become accustomed to these odd quirky little patterns that are part of Nick. We have had the *drop to one knee* routine, the *go back and check the door* routine (oh, hang on, I also do that!!!!). This week it is the *close the loo door, run the fingers over the light switch a few times* routine. Last week, it was *have a sip of juice and then hold the container to the ear* routine. My word, we have had some funny ones! :-)
I celebrate his progress.
Nick continues to surprise me in all aspects of his development. A year ago, he was a stubborn mule, refusing to get off the couch and quite adamant that he was NOT going to engage with me! Today, he will sit on that same couch, look at me with a cheeky smile on his face, and then leap to his feet to come and join me! We have a lot of big words in our vocabulary; relationship, resilience, competence, flexibility, objectives, evaluation, personal experience memories, spotlight, reference, mastered, communication (and non verbal), perspectives, engagement, regulate, pacing........ and the list goes on... He is doing great, WE are doing great! :-)
I celebrate his nature.
Nick is a gentle soul. He is not an aggressive child. Sure, on occasion there will be a little bit of self injurious behaviour, however, this is generally under extreme stress or anger! I haven't seen much of this over the past year. He can be cross and shake his head for no. He can stamp his foot. He will wave goodbye when he doesn't want anyone around. He will sign "finished" if he has had enough. If we are doing something that he isn't keen on (long walks!) and he becomes *flat* and unresponsive, I start singing to him! His favourite jingle at the moment is Bananas in Pajamas and I only know three lines! This perks him up and gets him smiling! Nick is an uncomplicated chap and has ambitions of being a couch potato. Sadly for Nick, my ambitions for him are a little higher! :-)
Speaking of which, I need to stop procrastinating and get back on track with our latest objective...... It is all about Perspective!
I celebrate Nick and I know that 2012 is going to be a very good year for us