“Just because I can’t speak doesn't mean that I don’t have anything to say. “
We have come a long way but have so much further to go with our little man. Michael is considered often to be non-verbal and has limited language for the time being. He knows some animal sounds, signs, and a few sounds in words but other than that…he doesn’t have a “voice” yet. We can’t wait to help him bring that out and we know that he has so much to say. We look forward to hearing more of that precious little voice and dream of those days! It’s in the little moments where he actively participates in the world with others (outside of his usual and comfy self-bubble – in his isolated element), that he achieves the most. We all do. We give him praise and love in those moments as well as the ones he creates and enjoys in his individual solace – where he can be in his own little world doing his own “things” as we like to call it. He will be smacking a giant exercise ball with a mallet (his own version of whack-a-mole, we like to think), acting out movies or shows, hiding under or in things, etc…These are the times his very understanding, compassionate, protective, and loving sister will explain to those in sight, “Don’t mind my brother. He is just doing his thing. He likes doing that. Just let him.” Oh, how we adore these two sweethearts!
It’s the little moments that make life big and they all count. There are some that stick out in our minds the most. These monumental memories bring tremendous pride and joyful tears to our eyes! In these moments you can’t help but feel very grateful and blessed. When a child with autism accomplishes a simple thing, we celebrate it as many would celebrate bigger things! It is the little things that make a big difference and eventually (sometimes longer than we would like) they add up to the big things. Through the journey (often an extremely hard one filled with all the emotions you can imagine combined), you will learn more than you ever thought possible about all aspects of life. “You will look back on therapies, appointments, sleepless nights, tears, triumphs, milestones, equipment, ignorance, struggle, strength, and you’ll say with certainty…It was absolutely worth it! Here are some of those times that give us hope and prove that if you never give up, good things come to those who wait! Through perseverance, faith, courage, patience, consistency, determination, and hope – you will find that rainbow after the storm.
Today our son said, “ahhh –dee” and did his own hand sign similar to the one meaning open. This was his way of telling me that his movie was all done. He also has said, “ Ma-Ma” a couple of times this week and although it isn’t consistent, it made my heart leap out of my chest in utter joy and excitement. We will never forget the tremendous strides he has made in speech therapy, occupational therapy, and ABA – applied behavior analysis. We are eternally grateful for his support team and couldn’t have done it without them. He makes us beam with pride when he completes a peg puzzle, peg board, or shape sorter. We will never forget when he finally learned motor imitation – such a huge and crucial, pre language skill. We love hearing him do the animal sounds to “Super Simple Songs” on YouTube and delight in watching him act out movies – so hilarious. It took him 6 months to figure out how to get “air” so he could jump on a mini trampoline. Until the moment that light bulb “clicked” he would just bend his legs and act like he was jumping but couldn’t figure out how to get his two precious feet of the ground and now it is one of his favorite things in the world to do! He finally conquered his fear of bouncy houses on Easter and who would have thought he just wanted the security of his shoes on in there (since he normally detests wearing them). It was so neat to watch him figuring that out and enjoying it with other kids. He recently warmed up to one of our friend’s daughters and treated her like she was his sister. That moment made want to cry and I got the impression he might have his first little crush – what a cutie pie. After ½ a year of therapy, he finally could roll a car on the floor back and forth with his sister and this joint play made his therapy team and entire family (extended included) want to cry and smile from ear-to-ear! Moments like these are what life is all about!
Autism has taught our family to be thankful in all circumstances, trust in the faithfulness of God’s word, accept help from others (you will need it when you become weary on this daily autism race), have hope for the future, courage for the present, and never give up! Keep on, keepin’ on and stay strong! Take a deep breath, shed a tear or go to a room for a quick time-out sanity scream, pick up your shield and go fight the battle of autism! Live life to the fullest and know it’s a gift! Know there are others out there running this exhausting and challenging race with you, cheering you on!
Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Sister-Gabrielle
(Written by Kandi Moore)