Friday, April 01, 2011

the hard days of autism.

Today is the beginning of Autism Awareness month (tomorrow is the official "Autism Awareness Day" for the sticklers out there). In a quasi-ironic reminder from the universe, the last few days with Max have been really tough. He is getting a cold, hasn't been sleeping well, and has brought back some of his favourite behaviours from the "challenging behaviours we were hoping we were done with" hall of fame.
It is always discouraging for us when this happens.  We try to remind ourselves that whenever Max is sick, his behaviour goes sideways and that he will get back on track once he is feeling better.  But that is little consolation when you are in the middle of it.  I can sit here and write about it now and feel calm, repeat the mantra "two steps forward, one step back" and take a deep breath.  I was not so cool and collected this morning as Scott and I tried to get the kids out the door.  In fact, it was Scott who kept his wits about him and told me to go sit in the car and cool off and he would get the kids ready.  He was the strong one this morning (thanks Scott!!).
All kids have patches of regression.  We see that with Cameron and toilet training and sleeping in her own bed.  But when your child has Autism, it hurts so badly because you fight tooth and nail for every bit of progress.  Last week Max did wonderfully at his social language group.  This week I spent the entire hour blocking and redirecting him to keep him engaged.  The only thing he wanted any part of was the popping bubbles activity, and even that he made into a contact sport.
future wide receiver?
Of course, the other kid's mom was at the group for the first time, so her first impression of Max is that he is a bruiser who is incapable of sitting down and participating.  I don't know why I care what another parent of a child on the spectrum thinks of Max.  Her child is very high functioning, so they aren't even in the same realm.  Come to think of it, I probably should have just called and cancelled the group given how out of sorts Max was (but I am loathe to cancel any therapy of Max's unless he is completely incapacitated).
There is no doubt that Max will turn it around and have a burst of progress once he is feeling better.  And you know I'll be sure to report on it when it happens.  Just keep in mind, for all families dealing with Autism, that the hard days are frequent and likely harder than you can imagine.  Please consider sponsoring Max for the Toronto Walk Now for Autism this June.  He's worth it.  All these kids are.

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