This week we had Nick's first speech and occupational therapy sessions. It was actually just one session, as both therapists were working together to get an idea of our little guy. The day started out rough for Nick from the very beginning. First of all, he was thrown completely off kilter when someone at the gas station said "hi" to him. He was off his routine and that did not go over well. I met Mike at the center at 9am to see his first session of the day with Courtney. Nick did very well with feeding himself yogurt. He was doing so well at using his right hand and keeping the spoon right side up(he still flipped it over upside down when he started). Then, all of a sudden he switched hands and started using his left hand. We were perplexed. Why would he switch?? A few minutes later; we found out. He had eaten all the yogurt on the right side of the bowl--so it made sense to him to switch hands and eat the yogurt on the left side of the bowl with his left hand. After his behavioral session with Courtney, we went straight to the speech and OT. Nick saw Tam in the hallway, and began saying "GO,GO,GO". He assumed she would follow him into the room as always, but this day was different. He clammed right up when he realized Tam was not in the room; and was a little irritable. To him; this room was to be only used by Tam and no one else. So, we decided to REALLY rock his world and change rooms---yeah, that went over REAL well!! At this point, he was stimming like crazy and was clearly dissheveled. They waited for him to calm down and offered him some fave toys to help. They got him to play with Play-doh(although, he never actually touched the stuff, he did use a toy to pound in it). One of the highlights was when Nick found himself in the mirror-he perked right up and screamed "BOBBY!!!" Just so you know, BUBBY is my little nickname for him, so he refers to himself this way. Our last piece to this therapy puzzle is the in-home therapies. I called our case manager this week, and she is working on this final piece of the puzzle. We have been at this since that appointment with Nicks pediatrician back in January. We have learned so much since then, and I often reflect on how much our lives have changed in the last year. I believe all of this has changed us for the better. I know what I want Nick to recieve. I know I want therapists and teachers who will push him beyond his limitations. I want Nick to be in a pre-school that specializes in autistic kids--not one that has much more severely disabled kids than Nick. I dont want him to get stuck in a school that just teaches him to dress himself,feed himself,etc. I want him to learn academics-I want him to attend regular school. Even if he needs an aid, I dont care. That is our goal-and we will do whatever it takes to get him there. I do not consider him a "lost" cause. There is a little boy in there that is just the sweetest soul; and I will make sure that everyone knows that. Yes, our son has autism--and he is just perfect.
It's just so funny when we talk to other parents. To most of them, our lives seem so alien. They are simply impressed with all the "abnormal" things we have to do. This summer was the first time I felt more qualified to give Michael his vaccines than the nurses. "Just give me the needle" I thought to myself. I have lost count of how many injections I have given him-and this kid, who would need two people to hold him down for mere Tylenol, takes these injections without much fan fare. We get excited over every inch Michael grows, and every pound he puts on. We make a celebration out of all the small accomplishments Nick does. We are in constant awe of our sons.
Not so amazing is the relationship Michael and Nicholas share. It was Nicholas who cried when Michael went off to school the first day. Their bond has no boundaries. I have walked in their bedroom countless times to see them sleeping together. They will crawl into each others bed at night and sleep next to one another. Nicholas gets visably upset if Michael cries. Nick will imitate what Michael does, and Michael loves to play "ring around the rosie" or chase with Nicholas. He kisses Nick all the time. Theirs is the unspeakable bond of brotherhood.