Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alex's prospects

We had a meeting with Alex's teachers on Monday. On the bright side, his academic skills seem to be coming along nicely. Although he doesn't use language as much as we'd like, he appears to be cutting at a first grade level, and coloring, and writing words, and understanding sequences and stories. This is all very encouraging given his early speech delay. I have felt for a while like Alex is learning the same set of things that other kids would, but delayed a year or two.

In fact, the main barrier to his entering regular kindergarten now is behavior. He hits his teachers and headbutts, screams, and throws tantrums. His teachers are doing heroic work keeping everyone safe and putting him in time out. We are learning that Alex is set off when he doesn't have options.

He seems to respond well to structures like "X or Y" and "first X, then Y". So we are now saying things like, "Do you want to get out of the tub by yourself, or do you want Daddy to help you?" and "First put on your clothes, then we can have breakfast."

I've noticed lately that when we tell other parents about Alex's autism, they definitely look at us differently, like we're doing this heroic thing to raise a boy with this problem. I tell them that we're happy with how things have turned out so far. We got Alex into early intervention because Sarah was monitoring his development very closely.

But Alex is our only child so far. This is all we have ever known. I don't measure Alex against kids his age. I don't compare him to another kid who would be telling me stories and talking my ear off.

I wish he was. I can't wait until he does. I think he will someday.

Every parent is challenged. We have just had different challenges. We're not super-parents. We're just muddling through, picking our spots to place our effort, and praying for our child.

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