Thursday, March 24, 2011

Peaks and Valleys


Sometimes I like to pretend that we've never heard the word autism around our house. And sometimes its really easy to pretend that it doesn't exist within these walls. Like when a new friend says, "He has autism? I would have never guessed!" Or when his teacher says, "He's caught up with all the other kids in the class with many of his skills!" Or when our ABA Supervisor takes mastered programs out of our notebook and doesn't replace them with new ones.

For the past 12 months, we have truly seen a light at the end of the tunnel. We've seen Jayce grow leaps and bounds in development. He's matured so much and come so far socially.


But many professionals and friends alike have warned me that autism isn't something you "fix" or a sickness that goes away. Autism is the name for how Jayce's brain is wired. How he learns, how he thinks, how he feels.

Although he has made significant progress in some areas of motor skills, social development, and behavior, its still a work in progress.

There is a theory that kids on the spectrum seem to cycle through difficult periods every few years, sometimes even sooner.

So far that's been the case for us. We go through periods of happy bliss with Jayce, taking pride in the typical 5 year old (almost 6!) behavior he exhibits. In the past year we've seen a reduction in his tantrums, stimming, overreactions to stimuli, inappropriate reactions, perseveration of objects/subjects, and anxiety.

Unfortunately, much of those behaviors are back for another go around it seems. I am happy to report, however, that they don't seem to be as bad as they were last year.

It still breaks my heart to see my baby so upset at the drop of a hat. My ears had grown accustomed to only listening to happy playing or simple sibling squabbles (Jaina would be proud at my alliteration!). Now I'm interrupted several times an hour with Jayce's shrill screams for a myriad of reasons. He may have seen a bee outside his window, or gotten a drop of yogurt on his shirt, or lost at a game he was playing with Jaina, or thought the wind outside may be turning into a tornado.

We've had a lot of changes around here lately; a new van, new therapists, a new assistant teacher at school, new allergy medicine. Jayce can handle change if its small and he is well prepared for it. Part of the problem is that we take for granted that Jayce still needs us to help structure his world. We've gotten so accustomed to seeing Jayce act like a typical little boy that we are quick to lose patience with him when he's not.

So, its time to pull out our old tricks again. Back to a structured schedule, a sensory diet, lots of social stories, and tons of patience.

'Cause he's totally worth it.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this post. He is so precious!

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  2. Yes, thank you so much for sharing. It also gives me hope for the ups and downs we experience. Jayce is an absolute doll!!

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  3. I have noticed over the last few posts that you do have many more pictures of Jayce smiling. Which you have said is a challenge, so it does show a lot of progress. And I like seeing his smiling face better than his mad one, lol.

    I hope the return of bad behaviors is short lived, for yours and his sake.

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  4. Jess! You are such a wonderful mother and Jayce is so lucky to have you! I have a son with autism and can completely relate to this post! Thank you for sharing this! Jayce is one amazing little boy and he is going to do such amazing things! :)

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  5. Bless you, Jess! I agree with Kristin that Jayce is so blessed to have you for a mommy. I love seeing pics of Jayce here (and Jaina, too, of course)!

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Thanks for commenting!