Do you know how many countless hours of worrying and prayers I have put into my son Ian? I would worry and be anxious and worry and cry and pray and hope and I made myself sick over it. The anxiety that I had once became so unbearable I found myself at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, remember I'm a diabetic so I have a lot of prescriptions, and I started crying uncontrollably. Luckily I was in the same building as my doctors office so I went up the elevator and told the receptionist that I really needed to see someone. She saw how upset I was and squeezed my in very quickly. I explained to my doctor what was going on and he said to me, do you realize that most of what you said has to do with Ian? Yes, he was a handful. He put me on antidepressants and told me to get more help and respite care to get breaks from the house. Sometimes that's hard to do for an autism parent. Who can you find that would know how to take care of your child with autism who can't communicate?
He couldn't communicate, didn't know how to talk, ask for what he wanted or let us know how he was feeling. Do you know how frustrating that is for a mother let alone the child trying so hard to get your attention? He would slam our cupboard doors repeatedly to get attention to let us know he wanted food. He would gouge our walls with anything he could get his hands on like a DVD or keys or toy tools to let us know he wanted to watch a DVD or a show on television. We have triple locks on all our exterior doors for when he would escape out the door when we were sleeping or busy with something else in the house.....we do have 2 other children to care for. Nobody has any idea how hard it is to live like this unless you are living it yourself. Don't even try to console an autism parent if you have no idea because we know you're just blowing smoke and it makes us mad! You can't tell us how to discipline our child, that whatever worked for your "normal" child will work for mine because my child isn't your child and he has issues that make disciplining him do more harm than good.
During the summer of 2012 my anxiety was at it's highest. Ian was preparing for Kindergarten. We had held him back when he was five. He needed another year of IBI training because he was just too underdeveloped to go to school. Now after 2 years of IBI training in our daycare with his tutor, that certainly was and is a gift from God, everything would change and the security we had built around him would be changed. Turns out, I had nothing to fear.
Ian is thriving in school. He has two Educational Assistants, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. He still needs the one on one because he can't sit still in the classroom for very long. But, he can now sit for 10 minutes with his peers, which is huge for him. He can talk, we've waited so long to understand him and now we do. There's no more pounding on our cupboard doors, gouging our walls or trying to guess what he wants. He can tell us now and does plus he lets us know that he's listening to everything. He's learning everything his little brain can let him. He knows his alphabet and numbers, he can count to 100. He's learning to read and is doing quite well at it. His teacher, Educational Assistants and peers at school just love him. When he goes to school in the morning, the little girls crowd around and lead him into the classroom. The day doesn't start until he counts the number of days they've been at school that his teacher has posted around the classroom.
I am so proud of my boy. I'm grateful for everyone who's invested their time into him. My anxiety is gone, I now know I don't have to worry God is on our side and is taking care of him. I'm decreasing my antidepressants and hope to be off them soon. Life is good.