It will be ok, I told myself. He’s just a little late, he will roll over soon, he will crawl eventually. But “just a little late” turned into late for every milestone, skipping some all together. By 2 1/2 years old BB was barely talking, much less than his typically developing peers. I remember the day before we had his first evaluation with our Neuro-Developmental Pediatrician. We were in the mall, a very sensory rich and overloading environment. I had taken BB then 2 1/2 and LS then about 6 months old with my old high school best friend and her daughter to the mall to play in the kids play area. We stayed too long, i told her we barely had an hour at most before it’d be too much for BB. Even back then I knew his limits and warning signs, even before when knew he had Autism. She kept pushing to stay longer, until ofcourse her baby needed her nap then it was “hurry up lets go she needs her bap” BB lost it in the middle of the mall, wailing, screaming, frozen, standing and rocking himself and tapping his head repeating over and over “apple, apple, apple” i looked up to my friend for help, but she was so mad at our embarrassing her and my son ruining her schedule and her daughters nap time that she walked off without us, which made him more distressed. I was trying to help him with one hand, and hold the baby stroller with LS in it with my other hand. The mall was way crowded, people were staring, whispering, judging, shooting dirty looks. I was crying at this point, i was scared for my boy, mad my friend abandoned me and not sure what to do. I thought to my self ” He’s Autistic, he has Autism, this is what Autistic kids do” I tearfully picked him up, and tried to hold him with one arm and push the stroller with the other. When i finally got to the car my friend looked at me and said “That’s NOT normal!”. Wow, really? thanks. The next day we got the ball rolling with the Neuro pediatrician. She prescribed OT, Speech and talked about other interventions besides the ESD early intervention he was receiving through the early childhood program in our school district. I spent the next few years in crisis mode. It became all about BB. How to help him, how to help him communicate, help him eat more foods, how to get him to let me bathe him without a 2 hr meltdown, etc. We had a third baby in that time also, great idea right? 🙂 we love our kids, but most people thought we were insane. LB joined the world and we went on, our little family of 5, in this weird noisy world together. BB went on to Kindergarten, we met his amazing teacher Ms. B and things started to click. BB made a lot of progress in her class. It was in that year I had my first glimmer of hope. Ms. B told me that he would be ok, that he was smart and wonderful and he would succeed. Autism or not he was a great kid. Find your tribe she said, youll be ok. After BB left her class things took a really bad turn. BB got worse, LS got lost in the shuffle and LB started showing signs of developmental delay and sensory issues just like BB did at his age. We took him to the same Neuro-Developmental Pediatrician and got the OT and Speech and ESD help going. I was crushed, discouraged and tired but i didn’t quit. “This too shall pass ‘ I said.”Find your village”, i told myself, “find your tribe. It WILL BE OK!” It was just this year that I had more ease, even in the really bad moments. The kids are now 10, 8 and 7. I watched BB yesterday in his last Soccer game, playing his heart out, flapping his hands away in his stimmy run, fearlessly after that ball, just like any other kid. His coach, treated him like every other kid, the other kids did too. I could’nt help but think to myself, it really WILL be ok. My boys have special needs, my daughter has a learning disability, I’ve got a little bit of craziness called bi-polar, but you know what? WE ARE OK! We live, we laugh we love. My kids are smart and beautiful. They are talented, caring, kind, silly little creatures. I don’t care what labels you throw at us world, bring it on! because in the end I know, I have found our village, I’ve found our tribe and WE ARE OK!
Keep it real. Embrace, accept, educate, advocate.
BB Soccer 2015 LS and LB Easter Sunday 2015 LB, LS , BB Summer 2011