Alec scored his second goal at soccer on Sunday. I will try and explain why this is so fantastic, fantastic enough to make me cry.. again
When Alec was three he communicated with squeals, life in general would put his body into overload so all he could do was shut down, withdraw and scream. Scream in frustration, fear, anger and anguish. What few words he had he would repeat over and over again. Thomas the tank engine was his world, he would go places with a thomas engine in each hand, like they were his buffer against the world.
Then came speech therapy, every week I would sit there and watch his sessions, masking the tears as I saw how hard he worked and how wonderful his speech therapist was. We would make progress, then fall back a little but always going forward, each week another lesson learnt and lots of homework, our life had become a speech session. I remember when we started teaching Alec imaginative play. Rather than just line up all the trains side by side I introduced animals and some people, we were doing really well, the animals were all going to the train station to go on a train ride.. then the phone rang, 2 minutes later I retuned and there were all the animals lined up facing the rail way track.. imaginative play was obviously over but we had made a start.
The next year was hard, Alec was at kindy, doing 2 sessions at the early intervention centre and I session of speech each week and 4 half days of kindy, we drove a lot! We drove the same routes, there could be no deviation, routine was the most important thing in Alec's life, being able to predict what was going to happen next, which road was to be travel. No deviation no spur of the moment visits or stops. Then one day in August after 18 months of weekly visits we are told speech is finished! how far he had come, a little boy of few words and virtually no comprehension, how must it be to hear the words but not understand what they mean, I still can't comprehend what it must have been like for him not being able to tell what other people were feeling, not able to read facial expressions or body language, these were all things that had to be taught. Next up was pre primary and more early intervention, seeing him grow and learn, how good were those therapists, how much they cared and loved the children and how much do we love them for what they have given us.
Everyday is a new day, we still have issues, autism has its characteristics that are always there, but we built a framework for Alec to build on, learning communication, how to approach social situations, how to handle his sensory issues. In the last 18 months Thomas has been outgrown, he finally added people to his play and his brother, no longer was it just Alec.
We put a lot of thought into soccer, would he handle it, could he take direction and would he be able to work in a team environment. Each week he is getting better, listening, following direction interacting with others. Those arms are a bit less flappy, that head a little less wobbly and those legs aren't tripping him up 1/2 as much as they were in the beginning. And he has scored 2 goals! To see his face and body language, he literally walks on air when this happens. We are so proud, the work this little boy has done, never did he complain about doing therapy, it was always an adventure. Always bright always loving we are so lucky to have this beatiful boy. Autism is a challenge but I would do everything I have done again, I still worry, could I have done more what am I doing for him now and will it be enough. We take it day by day, week by week.
Labels: autism, soccer