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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Woe is me?

Do you ever have one of those days where you wonder if the endless hours of therapy and practicing appropriate social behavior will ever actually pay off? 
I have listened to other parents confide that they just want to give up sometimes.  Today is my turn.  While standing in the middle of our living room floor after an hour of ABA, attempting to ward off a body dive-bomb attack from Buddy while listening to the therapist as best I can I began to think to myself ‘is this really helping?’.  I mean, our little guy gets ten times more worked up during therapy and then it takes three hours of deep pressure and sensory melt down to get over it.  This means four out of seven days per week is guaranteed to be sheer H E Double Hockey Sticks.  I thought we were making progress (sort of).  After all, we had a new strategy for flash attacks via flying objects and tiny fists.  But, victory is always far too short lived it seems. Well, it seems like it today.
 Today I was told that although our little darling appears to be making progress, it seems as though much of his emotions and actions are mimicked ----pause for kick in the gut----that maybe all those loves, tears and angry episodes are not a result of empathy or actual feelings but simply something he has learned, like the word awesome.  This would explain why he can hit me in the head with a toy and then jump up and down while screaming AWESOME.You see, there are other instances that lead to this theory”, the therapist explained, “for instance, his ability to turn off emotions like a switch or his ability to talk and eat, which comes and seemingly disappears at random”.  ‘Uh, so what’s your point?’ I am thinking hooray for the tiniest of victories, right?  No sooner had she popped my giant red balloon with a big sharp stick, time was up and we are going to discuss it in two days when we have our next session.  Now I am upset and feeling quite like I am the only parent in the world who has to deal with this (sniff). 
So as I sit here, woefully sipping my tea, I begin to feel guilty because it could be so much worse. I begin to realize something; that even though it seems like we go two steps forward and one step back, it’s still a bit of progress; and I will take it.  Sometimes life in acronym-land is disappointing and it can be easy not to see things on the bright side.  However, I have realized that it just makes the bright side that much brighter and it really isn’t all that bad.


  1. My little guy is 2 as well. It's both a blessing and a challenge to get the dx so early. Obviously the early intervention (we do ABA too) is fantastic, but it also means watching the full extant of your childs ASD slowly emerge. You are aware and consequently more watchful. Our expectations can set us up for falls too. There's nothing like having a young child with Autism to teach acceptance and living in the moment. I am always trying to project forward when I see progress, but then a day later I see the emergence of a new ASD trait. I have learnt to be philosophical about it. And full of hope.
    Good days and bad days, we all have them. Take care.

  2. Thanks for sharing! The wonderful thing about the autism community is that there is so much lovee and support within it. Initian Dx can be hard to take, and hard for extended family to come to terms with as well so finding support from people who understand is crucial. Bless your family and your little one, and hooray for the smallest of victories!

  3. Sometimes progress comes in tiny steps, so small that you don't notice at first. Other times, they make huge leaps all at once. Don't despair. He is continuously growing and developing.