God is the madwoman in the attic.
I'm camped out on the threshold with my journal, camera, and plenty of snacks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

next steps as Autism Mom, inching along

The conversation with Little N's extended day teacher has provided me with a little extra push and perspective in my role as Autism Mom and primary caregiver.  Here's what I'm working on right now:
  • drawing from activities in Out of Sync Child has Fun for our weekly playdate with S as well as keeping me more conscious of how we play during the week
  • reached out to Little N's regular teacher and her team to learn what areas currently challenge him and so provide a place to start for exploring therapy as well as "homework" we can focus on at home
  • reaching out to a few moms to set up playdates in addition to our interactions with kids at the park
  • reaching out for ideas from a couple other Autism Moms
  • dipping into the Autism blogs
  • drafting logs for what Little N is tasting and eating, what we are playing and how his behavior develops along those aspects. 
  • designing a visual schedule for our afternoons (including some developmental play) so that Little N knows what to expect and can start to lead us through our time together 
I'm of two minds about all this.  Part of me, the Mommy-Guilt part, says we should have done all this sooner!  Alert! Wrong! Should! Bad!  Another part of me says, Little N is doing great.  He's happy and growing at his school.  He's secure in Mommy and Daddy's new roles and routine.  This is good timing for all of us for going a little deeper in understanding Autism.  Anything we add now makes his life and our family's life richer.  It is good. 

I'm listening to the latter but trying to let the former run herself out.  Because all those doubts and anxieties are mine.  They are reasonable, normal reactions to have and so they get a little time to bubble up and be recognized.  But they aren't the truth.  The truth is a happy kid, talking more, tasting new foods, tolerating unfamiliar kids in his personal space, testing the limits with mommy and daddy.  The truth is a mommy, me, growing into motherhood, growing into her son's special needs, stumbling face to face with adulthood.

These things don't happen immediately, or on any predetermined schedule.  It's an arrythmic call and response to what is occurring in our lives and the sense we can actually make of it.  There are no obvious guides to chart the course for Little N and our family.  With no previous experience to draw on we have to seek out the advisors and actions that are the best fit for us right now. 

The constant I return to in all this is Little N himself.  Is he learning?  Is he demonstrating new understanding?  Is he secure with mommy, daddy, and teachers; home and school?  Yes.  From that foundation we reach into what is new and a little scary for me and for him.  Inching along in tiny next steps that stretch what we understand and what we can do.

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