Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Life With Autism

I saw a mom on a yahoo list talking about her son with autism. He's five and she wonders if it's normal for the autistic kids to cry a lot more at five than other kids.

My son with autism is now 11 and he still gets that toddler tantrum cry. Noooooooooo! It hits your bones. It pierces the soul, just as the infant cry does. So to still be living with it (although it has decreased immensely over the years)can be tiring, depressing and many other emotions mixed in.

I do think RDI can help. Tammy has shown that with her daughter Pamela. I think I've seen it help in our home. However, truth be told, I don't "do" RDI anymore. Right now, we're just living our lives. This is my confession time I guess. I admire so much those families that are keeping up with it and I follow your emails and blogs with enthusiasm, cheering you on, cheering your successes and feeling your despair when things aren't working well. (That goes for all the families with special needs children that I know, not just those doing RDI.)

I was pretty much 'done' with therapies by the time I found RDI. I thought when I learned about it that I was ready to start again. Ready to embark on the next chapter with gusto. Ready to delve into what I could do as a parent to help my child.

I was wrong.

I got into it and it totally exhausted me. My life was once again taken over by the autism. Examining the goals (and believe me, trying to figure out what the heck they mean is just too mind boggling for me), then figuring out if your child has mastered it or not, coming up with ways to work on the goal, remembering to video it (and i still have an old computer and camera that means i have to mail vhs tapes!!!) editing the video, etc etc. I'm just done with all that for now.

As I said, we're just living our lives. Since I found Charlotte Mason and the AO information, school has been so much easier. Oh and finding Math U See too. Wow! What a difference. This also doesn't mean I have forgotten the principles of RDI. I do still think about how I phrase things. Making statements instead of constant questions. I'm sure if we were videoing I'd find a lot more I need to change in my communication style. I'm still on the RDI lists. I still read RDI blogs. I still think about RDI almost everyday. It has affected our lives, but right now I can't let it control my life. I found it very difficult trying to cut my very demanding younger child out of the picture while trying to concentrate on my older one. Very stressful for all of us. The King can't even fathom trying to read all the info he needs to read about RDI so we talk about it sometimes or at least talk about some of the principles of it, but it isn't there as pressure.

Everyone needs to do what's best for their kids and family. We're all trying to find the balance. It hurts me to see all that Pooh still has to learn. But I've seen so much progress over the years that I know it will get better each year. Yes, he's very unreasonable some days. Some days we just can't get through to him. Other days, we make these wonderful connections. And one thing I know about my son's autism is that he does remember things we tell him. It comes out in other areas that he's remembered little tidbits of those connections and he'll apply it in ways other than what we were referring to.

We can reach his heart and it's that that helps me get through each day.

So for those of you with the fight still in you, RDI can help. For others, just understanding the principles of RDI can help. I haven't 'given up', I'm just taking it slow and easy. I'm still learning to 'let go' of those parts of autism that I have no control over right now. It's not that they won't change, but that it's going to take longer. I'm done with examining everything I do to see if it's handled right or wrong. I want to just be. Be happy with each day and teach my sons to be happy each day.

Thank you for all the encouragement, thank you for your blogs, thank you for sharing your trials and triumphs. I hope that as I continue to share our lives through our blog, it will help others and give a realistic view of life with autism.


live4evermom said...

Loved this post. You have good balance. Soon all will be better.

Julee said...

I love this post. It is so where I am right now. We've been "taking it easy" with our autistic son for the last year and have seen him flourish. I as a mom always have that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should be doing something, but like you just can't let it take over my life again right now.

Thanks for being honest, it helped me right now as i'm trying to figure out what I'm doing again!

- Julee

teachingmom08 said...

I must agree with the other comments. Loved this post! Way to go! Sometimes as Moms we are often trying to "control" the situation, but so many times it is best to know when to just let it go. When we let it go and simply let somethings be, what amazement we find. Things actually turn out just fine.