Tag Archives | milestones

Reaching milestones is cause for celebration!

Every parent praises and celebrates their child when they reach milestones. We’ve all heard people go on and on about how their child took their first steps, or said their first word… but when your child has autism, and you wonder if those milestones will ever be reached because you’ve long passed their expected arrival time… you don’t only praise your child for reaching them, you throw a party!

Well, ok, maybe not a party with balloons and noise makers but pretty close. A milestone isn’t just a right of passage for a child with Autism, it’s a major achievement.

Some children reach milestones right on time, some miss a few and some, sadly, never do reach some milestones through out their entire life.

That’s what we all fear, that’s what we all know is a possibility.

Cameron in the waterI’m very proud to say, because this is my mini celebration, that Cameron has been doing very very well leading up to his 6th birthday (in 11 days).

In the last month or so, he’s learned how to buckle up his own seat belt, he’s learned how to swim on his own (with a life jacket and noodle flotation thing) and he’s even learned how to get fully dressed on his own. Not just an item or two but we can give him all of his clothes and he does it.

Pretty big stuff for a little boy about to turn 6!! Even bigger for a little boy that couldn’t figure out how to press a button just over a year ago. He has come so very far, so very fast.

He’s determined, he LOVES being able to tell people about what he can do.

So, sorry for a brag post… but you know what? We all need brag posts. It’s time to celebrate and no one should ever feel shy or guilty for their child hitting those milestones. Shout it out loud!!

Besides, one day he’ll read this blog (I hope) and I’d love for him to know how proud I am of him.

Comments { 1 }

Let me tell you a little about celebrating Autism

When I tell the average person that my son has Autism, they feel really bad for me. The fact is that there is a lot to celebrate.

Milestones are an achievement, not just an item on a list

When you have a child with Autism, you learn to appreciate the milestones, both big and small. Some would say that we celebrate a little too much for such little accomplishments but I’d argue that we celebrate accordingly, it’s other parents who take them for granted.

First words, learning to walk, swimming, riding a bike, reading, writing… all these things that make parents proud are far more than just steps along the way when your child has Autism… they’re cause for celebration.

Take nothing for granted

Along the same lines, but very different from milestones, is taking nothing for granted. Unless you have a child with Autism (or another disability like it), you’ll probably never know what it’s like to be lucky enough to be hugged one time a year.

Does your child look you in the eye? If your child has Autism, maybe not. Does your child give you a hug or kiss sometimes? If your child has Autism, maybe not.

You will never ever realize just how much the tiniest little things can be so extremely important until they’re not there.

Patience, more than you ever thought possible

The biggest problem with milestones is that everyone knows what they are and when they should happen so when your child is missing them, everyone says something. It’s hard, it’s oh so very hard.

After a while though, you develop a thicker skin… not just the patience required to take their “advice” a little better but also to have the patience and self confidence in knowing that if you never give up on your children, the milestones will come.

The beauty that is around us

The world around us moves pretty fast and can be so filled with sights and sounds that it turns into a bit of a blurry mess. Our mind makes it that way to keep us from becoming overwhelmed, crazy and tired. We filter through a lot of everything that goes on in our daily lives without really realizing it.

Many people, especially the children, with Autism don’t have the same filtering capabilities and often times do get overwhelmed by it all. This often results in meltdowns or even violence.

You, as the parent, become increasingly aware of the world around you because you have to, because you need to know what you are getting your child into. Loud restaurants, carnivals, movie theaters… many many places can be far too difficult for your child to be able to process and you need to be aware of that before the fact.

As you develop this ability over time, it forces you to slow down and truly appreciate the sights and smells and sounds that surround us every single day.

You go outside and there isn’t a car in the neighborhood… it’s so very peaceful. Before you likely never would have noticed, much less enjoyed that feeling of peace, because your mind builds that filter in place before you ever go out and so you don’t notice if there are cars or not.

Your child is perfect because of who they are

It isn’t until others see your child as flawed, and worse, until you start to see your own child as flawed, that you can learn what is truly important… not a disability, not a disorder, not even a gift… a child is who they are inside and who they are inside is exactly who they are supposed to be… your child.

It’s ok if no one will ever look at your child the same way you do, they’re not supposed to. Our children are amazing human beings with unlimited potential.

The difference

Celebrate the differences, not just in your child, but in yourself. For better or worse, you’ve become a better person for it, you’ve become a better parent.  Your child isn’t like other children… and that seems hard to take but honestly, before your child was born, and you saw how “other children” are on the news or in movies… is that really what you wished for when you imagined having a child? For them to be like all the others?

No, none of us want our children to have it harder than anyone else, and no we don’t want our children to suffer… but many of us recognize that we can have these thoughts and these feelings while still being able to recognize and celebrate the differences.

Your child is amazing. You are amazing. Celebrate it… you’ve earned it.

Comments { 7 }

Hooray for the Tooth Fairy!

Cameron lost his first 2 teeth in the month of September… that’s 5 years and 2 months old for those of you keeping score. Both were the front bottom two teeth.

Now, the reason I’m writing about this is not that it’s been an issue, it’s that it’s been an unissue! Yes, I just made that word up.

You see, as parent of a child with Autism, it’s just such a wonderful feeling when everything just goes so.. normal! His teeth fall out when you’d expect them too, he’s excited about leaving them for the tooth fairy, like you’d expect him too, he loves getting money that he can spend on anything he wants, like you’d expect him too… it’s just… it’s normal and it’s wonderful!

Pulling his "CHEESE!" look with 2 less teeth

That’s not to say that his life is so bizarre or out of the ordinary that this is a completely unique feeling, but it’s still wonderful all the same. A lost tooth was definitely something that we thought could have lead to quite the meltdown or possibly some anxiety anyway. Sometimes you just crave those moments where you’re not thinking about the screaming fits, the therapy sessions, the talks with the teacher…. and so on. It’s just another day in the life of a child, as it should be.

And so here we have this toothless wonder, super happy that he’s getting to be a big boy, super excited that the tooth fairy comes just for him and gives him something super special that is just his own.

It’s pretty fun for the parents, any parents… but when most things are either delayed or don’t go as you might expect, it’s just that much more fun for me and that much more wonderful.

Comments { 3 }