Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just Thankful...

Tonight I read a posting on the Autism Speaks blog called "Be Still" and it really touched my heart. In so many ways I relate to what the mother of this posting is going through but it also made me really thankful for what we have and how far we've come in the last 4 months with therapy.

Before JD was diagnosed his normal days mostly included stimming with his trains on a small end table, watching tv and having very large tantrums during meals, getting dressed, changing his diapers, playing with his sister. He really never approached me very often, would only respond to his name about 50% of the time and never said anything other than choo-choo and chugga chugga.

Fast forward from March into mid-July... JD is a different child. It's not that we don't have difficult moments with him (geez, three days ago he just cracked our flat screen tv by hurling his sippy cup at it), but in so many ways he's changed.

JD now has over 60 (probably more!) words. He is pointing, gesturing, dancing, imitating, laughing, singing, smiling, interacting, listening, communicating... it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Today him and I had the best time dancing around the family room to the song "I've gotta feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. We spend hours hiding in our "fort" aka the walk in closet and every night before bed we give kisses to pictures of everyone in our family.

Things that I never appreciated with Ashley are now huge accomplishments with JD. Today in OT he learned how to crawl up a slide... something Ashley could do right after she started walking. JD was terrified and it has taken him over two months to finally get the courage up to do it. But today he did and he was ecstatic! The pride I see in him when he says, "I did it!" in his hardly understandable language. My heart explodes with happiness.

I guess that's why I'm thankful. I feel like the past few months have taught me to enjoy every minute and every accomplishment. To not take things for granted that I did before. To really appreciate the people that have helped him and us - our family, friends, his therapists, teachers, the other parents with children who have autism. Because this is something we couldn't have done alone.

This month JD gave me a kiss for the first time... a totally unforced kiss on the lips. I think that moment changed my life and now every time he does it I remember how far we've come. :)