This time every year I reflect back of the year for both my children and myself. School is over and it is time access the changes. Samantha aced biology and was actually a teaching assistant for the biology teachers. She did well in honors world history closing the year with an 86%. Health was 96%. However, math, english and spanish not so good. She wanted to take french and I persuaded her to take spanish. I was wrong and should never have done that. She has grown in other ways that more than make up for the less than perfect grades though. Her tolerance of JR has increased dramatically.
This past Monday was the hubbie’s company picnic. It was held at a local state park that had a man-made lake. Samantha, Kayla and David met us there. We told them there was swimming but they didn’t bring their swim stuff. Well JR wanted to go swimming and we brought his and Rodney’s swim wear. Well we forgot the sunscreen and when one has lupus sunscreen is needed. So, it was Sam dressed in black jeans and a tee shirt who took JR swimming most of the day. And JR had to wait a good bit too. I watched as my two children played in the water. JR occasionally grabbing a handful of sand. He loves the feel of sand wet or dry in his hand. I watched as JR did something he never does for Rodney or me; he floated on his back. Allowing Sam to help him if he needed. That tells me that their relationship is founded on trust. He’s swimming now too because of Vista and Samantha.
The changes in JR have been remarkable as well. This first 2 week break of summer he prepared his own french fries from beginning to end. I supervised and that is all I did. He did everything himself. We prepare his french fries in a toaster oven and I counted the steps from turning on the toaster oven to putting the fries on a plate. This is a twenty (yeah I said 20) step process. And he did it ALONE!!! His life skills are increasing daily because he now has imitation skills as well. Anyone who has a child with autism knows how important those imitation skills are.
Academically he still has a far road to travel but he is progressing with them as well. There is a program on his dynavox where he has to pick the missing word from a choice of three currently. He is doing very well with this. Letter recognition has him to the letter “L”. Number recognition isn’t going so well. Oh well, this too shall improve.
I remember when we first started this journey and how the mountain called autism looked insurmountable. Now that we are firmly on the mountain the perspective has changed to something more easily manageable. The mountain looks more like a hill now. Steep at times but easier to handle than we ever thought it could be.
My family is happy; truly happy for all we have and grateful for those who helped us get it.