This is going to be a big year for my boy
I think the new year really starts the day the kids go back to school. January... pffft. A sunny jumble of wet towels and sunburn. It doesn't matter. Everything's a bit nuts anyway.
But the day that school goes back, that's when things really roll over again.
And this year is going to be a big one.
Six and a half years ago I sent my boy off to his first day at kindergarten, not dressed in uniform or anything resembling school shoes because he literally wouldn't put them on, halfway through the year, with dread and fear in my heart. He yelled his head off and had to be 'helped' (by which I mean dragged, but in the nicest possible way) inside by the teacher while I left the school grounds sobbing and heartbroken.
And his 'day' was short. Two hours, to be exact. I cant even remember picking him up, but I'm sure it was emotional because everything else sure was.
For two full, heavy years, school was a big battle. Getting him there, keeping him there and making things work. And then I hardly noticed, but it seemed to be easier. And things seemed to be working. And he ran in the cross country races and participated in the art classes and held his own pen and did his own homework.
This year, six and a half years later, he's a senior in Year 6 and he's as happy at school as he's ever been. He likes it. And they like him - at least the teachers do... most of the kids are kind to him, and a few even seek him out to play on and off. This year, together with all the Year 6 kids, he is an official 'School Leader' with a badge, a speech and plenty of responsibility. He's up for it, he says. And I believe him.
This kid has come so far and done so well, and I'm really proud of him. (And if you're reading here for the first time, you might like to know what I attribute his successes to. Here's the list:
- FIrst up, the RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) program. We no longer do it formally but we continue to follow their principles of guiding in a non-confrontational way and helping him learn to think for himself.
- Dr Ross Greene's collaborative problem solving approach and his 3 baskets principle helped a lot.
- Change of diet to gluten and casein free, plus also avoiding the foods he was found to be intolerant of from a cytotoxic blood test.
- Our mindd.org doctor putting him on supplements, including zinc, fish oil, B vitamins, and other things. He also tested positive for pyrrole disorder so he takes things for that.
- Kinesiology helped, as did brain gym type exercises.
- Working hard to clear and heal his gut.
- Sound therapy for his auditory processing disorder.
- Using essential oils to help calm and soothe his nervous system.)
In fact, he's done so well in the last couple of years that his doctor said these words this month:
"I think, in a couple of years, if he continues to progress like this and if we do the work, he could possibly lose his autism diagnosis."
Want to read that again? Yep. Lose his autism diagnosis.
The possibility is very much there and it's what I've been aiming for all along. When I told the boy about it, though, he wasn't too sure.
"Mum, if I don't have autism any more, will I still have my super abilities?" he asked.
"Totally," I said. "You'll get to keep those all your life. You'll just have a few more abilities."
"Like what?" he asked. "You mean the socializing thing?"
"Yep," I said. "That's pretty much it. Everything will get much easier there."
Look, I know Year 6, especially at this school, is a great time. It's a really good year for our kids. And I know that teenager hood brings its own challenges. (Belieeeeeve me, I'm well aware of that.) But I'm really hoping that this year he can consolidate and build on his many successes so that he can start his high school years with confidence and competence and an awesome sense of who he is and that he's valuable.
Who knows? Maybe in three years time I'll be closing up this blog. No more autism here. Wouldn't that be amazing?