Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Autism

Autism is a funny thing – sometimes it consumes me and it's the only thing I can think about. Other times it’s a faint thought in the back of my mind. It’s always there, but the level of intensity changes from day to day or even month to month. When JD first got diagnosed it was all I could think about. Therapy options, schools, the future – my mind raced with uncertainty and fear for weeks. As we got settled in our “new” life those worries started drifting a bit. It wasn’t all consuming anymore, but still a very big part of my life. Maybe it was acceptance, or just the fact that your world does go one even if you never think it will, but a year later I find myself almost forgetting some days that JD is even different. The everyday stresses caused by his autism are just a normal part of our day. But recently I’ve found myself back in that panic stage. JD is turning three this month and it’s dawning on me that we’re just in the beginning of this long, long road. His therapeutic preschool program is closing (due to lack of enrollment) and now we’re trying to find a new place for him. That has caused me to think about other therapy options, looking through ALL the programs again and trying to find the right fit. Then our youngest, Kyle, is growing at light speed. He’s only 16 months old but is now able to do so many of the things that JD just learned to do. I spend so much time just watching him, wondering how he knows how to wave and point already – like HE’s the abnormal one. I feel like he’s so ahead of the game, when really he’s right on schedule. I just can’t believe that him and JD are so close developmentally, but so far apart in age and size. I feel this guilt for not being as “active” in his therapy and the autism community for the past six months. I think in some small way it’s been easier to put on auto pilot than to worry about it every day. However lately I’m back on – checking out the autism websites, reading autism blogs and looking for ways to get involved (like I have any spare time!). I guess that’s the way it will be all of his life. Learning how to juggle being a mom, a wife, an autism advocate, a career-woman and an individual.

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