Autism is such a wide spectrum of disorders that each person’s fight is different from that of another. Even twins with autism function differently based on how autism impacts their neural functions.
Ben’s autism diagnosis also came with that of expressive/receptive language disorder and a motor delay. We really didn’t know all what that entailed on diagnosis day, but we have seen him work to learn to talk with us each day along the way.
As parents, we often anxiously wait to hear our child’s first words, wondering when and where and what they will choose to talk about, what will peak their interests, and what we may be learning about right alongside them as they grow.
Early on, we would hear Ben’s little voice repeating lines from movies or stories in which he was particularly interested. As he grew, we began getting yes/no answers. In time, we were blessed with the beginning of conversations, but the ability to tell us about something he had done or share an original thought simply evaded him.
What a precious gift then to hear our son’s voice from the seat behind me last weekend as he excitedly shared the routine of his Easter Seals days. But wait, it’s been nearly 18 months since he’s been an Easter Seals client! This is the first he’s told us about his therapy days. Because it’s been so long since we made that trek to Peoria a couple of times a week, I really had to stop and think about what it was he was sharing but once I got the pieces to connect in my mind, it was very clear that he was replaying the routine of his therapies. Mommy tears flowed as I listened to my son share his memories with the excitement of any typical kindergartner.
He went through the entire three-hour schedule of what he did at Easter Seals, right down to needing to buckle his seat belt to go. It was as if all these memories were locked up in a secret room, but the key had finally been found to open the door and release them all. Proof that all those hours and miles and tears devoted to those weeks were worth the investment. I can only imagine what he’ll share with us today and tomorrow and next week.
It was yet another example of the tenacious nature of our young son and the resolve he recently shared with me: I’ll never give up, Mommy.