an autism journey


As a mom of a special needs child, I find it easy to get caught up in the “work” of raising a child with autism. Let’s face it, it takes a lot of time. There is a lot of hands on care giving to be done. There are doctor’s appointments, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and in my case a full time ABA program. I find that I spend most of my day with Samuel. We are working on behavioral strategies, feeding programs, seat work,  teaching play skills, encouraging speech, preventing and coping with meltdowns.  I am with him morning, noon, and night…together and yet somehow I seem to miss the real time of just being together. I am talking about the time that I spend just being with my son, expecting nothing in return from him…. Just enjoying him. Today I took the time out to do just that…. Just be with him.  We didn’t work on any skills, I didn’t prompt him to respond or to speak…. We were just together. We spent hours today, just singing songs, reading books, and playing…. I let him decide what he wanted to do and for how long he wanted to do it.

Something amazing happened out of it…. We just had fun, real fun.  We laughed and enjoyed each other. I found out that I really, REALLY like my son (of course I already knew that, but it was nice to be reminded). He is funny and smart. He has even developed his own way of teasing me now. He does funny little things just to see how I react and then laughs and laughs… then stops to see if I laugh and then laughs harder when I do. By stepping out of “Autism Mom” mode and just being “Mom,” I discovered my son has really come a long way in the past year. We connected. He made eye contact. He made verbal requests. He paid attention to me and he sat willingly of his own choosing for over an hour to read book after book after book. That in itself is a miracle since back in May our ABA goal was for Samuel to sit for 5 minutes to do ANYTHING…. Yes, really. He even on his own just spontaneously gave me a kiss and said , “I love you.”

For a little while today, autism didn’t play a role in our lives. We were just mom and son. It was awesome. Of course the autism will eventually be sure to slap in the face to remind me it is still here, but that is ok…. Because so is my son……


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