As the last day of 2011 quietly turned to night, I sat and looked back at videos of Skyler that were taken throughout the year. It’s hard to measure progress when you spend so much time with your child each day. But looking back over the videos, I can truly see how far we’ve travelled down the road towards recovery this year. It’s nothing short of amazing!
The child I always worried would never talk now talks constantly. In fact, today I threatened to change my name to “daddy” because all day long I’ve heard, “mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy.” As much as I joke with Skyler about this, I secretly admit that his little voice calling for mommy is music to my ears. Parents of children with autism yearn for that loving “connection” with their child, but too often we have to settle for brief moments of shared attention. With Skyler’s recent increase in affection, I am getting huge doses of hugs and kisses to make up for lost time. The words, “I love you, mommy,” are etched permanently on my heart and soul, and no matter how bad things get in day to day life, those words always bring me back to a peaceful bliss that I can hardly explain.
It also seems like Skyler is really taking in the world for the first time, and he asks questions about EVERYTHING. While riding in the backseat, he asks, “Where’s everyone going, mommy?” He then wants to know where we’re going and how we get there. When I yawn, he sweetly chimes in with, “You sleepy, mommy?” His vocabulary has skyrocketed too! I have no idea where he learns so many words. While playing with his Squinky toy that Santa brought, he opened the ball to reveal a trophy inside. I smiled and said, “Oh look, a tiny gold cup.” Skyler looked up at me and exclaimed, “It’s a trophy, mommy!” A trophy???
Another area Skyler has excelled in this year is pretend play. It warmed my heart to see him playing with Toy Story figurines at my mom’s house this week, creating little conversations between the characters. He also play acts complete Dora episodes for me in the bath tub, while I look on in awe. And, he has such a wonderful sense of humor! The highlight of Christmas was Skyler’s sweet rendition of Feliz Navidad. We have no idea where he learned this song, but after singing it for us a few times, he broke out into his own silly version. Instead of wishing us a Merry Christmas for the chorus, he was giddily singing, “I wish you a coke, daddy, I wish you a tree, mommy, I wish you a clock, mommy, from the bottom of my candy.” Now that takes some imagination that children with autism rarely display!
As 2011 draws to a close, I pray for all the families out there dealing with autism in their daily lives. Although there is not yet a cure for autism, I can definitely say that biomedical interventions and homeopathic remedies have played a huge role this year in helping Skyler to advance (sprint) towards recovery. We will definitely continue with both in the upcoming new year, and I hope to see 2012 become the year we lose the autism label completely, and good riddance! Sounds like the perfect resolution to me!
Happy New Year!