I've been a bit heavy on the Vlad focus lately, but I doubt anyone could blame me. I mean, even if it is our third time on this roller coaster, each experience has been different. So yes, I've been fairly focused on him both in what I've written online and what I talk about in person.
Now? I think it's time to find some balance.
Am I still going through the emotional process of accepting the diagnosis? Absolutely. There is no rushing these things. But it's time to take a step forward and focus on the health of my family as a whole.
And boy, there has been a whole lot of life going on that I've failed to mention.
For instance, Diva Girl has been making huge strides recently. We've known for a while that she can read, but it's almost impossible to determine just how much she can read and how much she comprehends. There is one very enthusiastic therapist in her life right now that really felt that there is much more going on than we could see in regard to reading, and he has been pushing for us to keep challenging her in this area. So, we set some new goals. This week, at her therapy center, they pulled up the keyboard on Proloquo2Go and asked her to spell a word. And she did. So they asked her to spell another word. And another. And another.....
She can peck out words. Whoa. Then they handed her a worksheet with directions written at the top. Instead of telling her what to do, as they normally would, they just let her look at it. The directions told her to use the color brown. So she looked at her crayons, picked out the brown, and got to work. She. Read. The Directions. She didn't just read it, she comprehended it.
I want everyone to pause with me for a moment. Let this sink in. Let the possibilities sink in to your brain and understand why I am so excited that I'm practically doing the happy flappy dance myself! If we keep down this path, Diva Girl can open up a whole world of communication. Her inability to access speech doesn't have to keep her silent. For maybe the first time, I am looking towards her going to school and am actually excited, because she may be able to participate in a way that I wasn't sure was possible. All this time we've known, we've been so sure, that this little girl has a brilliant mind. That those stinking test scores don't even come close to measuring the capabilities of our Diva (read: More Than a Number.) Don't let her body language fool you folks, this girl is listening and soaking it all in. She is reading for goodness sakes! Just because she isn't looking into your eyes, doesn't mean she isn't hearing and learning and storing it away in that world within her head.
I wish I could visit that world. For even one minute. I bet it's beautiful.
And Rascal? Well....he's been a Rascal, I can't lie. His toddlerhood is testing his boundaries and testing my patience. But even then, I see sparks of understanding and learning that are fresh and new. Tonight, we played together. Went over to the play kitchen and made a pretend meal and ate a pretend dinner together. Sure, I started it and kept it going, but he joined right in. He was interested and was enjoying playing with me. I wasn't "working" with him or wrestling with him....we played. I'm not sure we've ever truly done that before, not like this. Not with such a bright smile on his face, and a willingness to participate, and an understanding of what I was pretending. Again, I look into his eyes and I see so much behind them. A depth of understanding, a spark of liveliness that shows me that no matter what life throws his way...he's going to be okay. He's a fighter, that kid. And I don't just mean that recent love of tackling people (and why, oh why does he tend to tackle any pretty girl he meets??) I mean that he is tough enough to overcome the difficulties of autism and let the blessings of autism shine through. Yes, that's right, blessings of autism. They are there, folks.
As I refocus on my whole family, I'm liking what I'm seeing. I'm reminded of why I am jumping through the hoops of early intervention for Vlad- because I've seen its results in Diva Girl and Rascal. I'm also reminded that the therapy isn't the be-all-end-all. I made plenty of mistakes in Diva Girl's early days, and she is doing just fine thankyouverymuch. It's about balance. Between the therapy time and the play time. Between one kid and the other. Between the kids and The Husband. It's all a balancing act. Now, let's see just how coordinated I am.