We are now several months into this autism thing. And let me tell you.. it is work. It nearly broke me in the beginning, especially since it coincided with Michael going to school. OR that was the theory. Like most children who start preschool, he picked up every germ there was to find, and therefor was almost constantly sick. And being sick, the autism 'manifested' doubly bad. He would just.. zone out completely, lay on the floor and move a car back and forth. I was so... so scared.
I am still scared, but thank heavens (and with some help from the doctor, it got that bad) I am past the panic. Things are going the right way. Michael is getting therapy and Bill and I know more what to do. Nobody can predict the future, but unless things change drastically.. we should not have to worry about the long term future. There is every chance that Michael will later on go to a normal school, have friends, go to college.. chose a life for himself. But it is the short term that makes things hard. I was at the point where the practical things in life were just about to get easier. And now.. they've become well.. harder. Therapies, worries, appointments, and endless phonecalls with voice automated services...
I do realize we are lucky. We saw the signs very early, within just the first.. weeks of things becoming visible. We managed to find the right services very quickly and bright start, the early intervention coordinator is helping so much in finding us a way through the maze of services. On top of that we have insurance that actually covers autism therapy and evaluation. Because we are still working towards getting the actual medical diagnosis. Still.. we are set to get that within the next two months. That is.. incredibly quick I have learned.
I am tired, and most especially tired of all the extra hard work. Children are a lot of love and also a lot of work. But an autistic child (or I believe any special needs child) is even more. One of the most important things to do, and something of which we see clear results, is to engage Michael almost constantly, working on his language, challenging him. This makes me feel guilty, because it leaves so much less time for Joseph. The fact that Joseph is in school more than Michael takes a bit of that pressure off, plus the fact that he loves his brother and understands that there is something wrong for which Michael needs help. In fact, he tries to help. And I think over time that will be an enormous asset.
I am more.. positive as I look towards the future, but I am still.. exhausted. I thank God for my husband who pulled me through those first three months. I am praying the rosary, because that is the only prayer I have energy for. I am not ready yet to see how and where this may fit into God's plan for me. I am not ready to delve too deep into anything spiritually.. or even practically to read up much more about other people's experiences with autism. I am.. extremely selective in what I read and only read as much as is needed to help Michael. I know people who pour themselves into research. I can not do that. It overwhelms me like an avalanche all that there is still to do, all that will be involved just to get him the chances and social interaction and the life.. that other children take for granted.
I am tired mostly, of the extra burdens and feel overwhelmed as well. But I am at least at the point where I can function and struggle on, and treasure the good moments as well as the progress that is being made.