Will they see ‘you’- Meeting the Teachers
Today we received a home visit from Kaedon’s teachers. I had already been informed of their skills, one even having years of experience in working with children on the spectrum, and fully equipped in sign language; so the anticipation to meet was great! … And they came, and then we spoke, and then we laughed, and then we shared our expectations of my son and of his new school. And as quickly as they entered, they left. And as quickly as they left, I grew an immediate sadness. Did they see the autism? Did they believe how severe the meltdowns get? Would Kaedon show an entirely different child again this year, making my tales seem fictitious…again? Or would they see at least one meltdown? One good & victorious meltdown. And not because I want the meltdown to occur. Clearly not…. But because sometimes, just sometimes, we want people to understand the severity of our truth and the raw of our story. Because sometimes we just want to introduce the autism that we face every day; to reveal the reality of a day. Because sometimes, just sometimes, it’s difficult to find a much needed an understanding embrace, on what stays so discretely confined in four random, brick covered walls. #FirstDayofSchool
“But because sometimes, just sometimes, we want people to understand the severity of our truth and the raw of our story.”
Not My Kid!
My son Dylan always seemed ahead of the curve. He walked at 7 1/2 months, completely skipped traditional crawling, was climbing 6 feet off the floor before he was a year old, and to us (his parents) just always seemed “advanced”. As parents of older children, we always saw “weird” or “unusual” behavior from Dylan. But, with him being the only boy child of the family, we chalked it up to “boys learn differently”. However, after he turned 2 and had his annual checkup, the verdict came in that he was behind in speech. To say this was expected or easily accepted is an understatement. I always thought Dylan was “advanced” because of earlier milestones met. This couldn’t be happening to my child!? NOT MY CHILD!!! But it was… and it was a hard slap to my ideals of parenting success.
Speech Tactics was recommended by his pediatrician for help, and through the initial evaluations, everyone involved (the team at this facility and us, the parents) decided he also needed an occupational therapy intervention.
Dylan’s classes started in August 2016. Even with some hiccups concerning insurance coverage, which was handled so beautifully and gently to ensure Dylan could still receive services, the team at Speech Tactics has been amazing in providing help to my son!
As a background note, I have an older child who has never needed intervention in her short 8 years of life. When I was told Dylan had delays and needed extra help, I felt crushed and so alone. I still do feel alone, because it’s just me, his mom, day in and day out; with no close family support, simply because my family lives far away, and trying to find parents with a child similar to my own is not always easy. Through building relationships with everyone involved in my son’s therapy classes, I’m finally feeling less alone. Regardless, it hasn’t stopped me from trying to help my child.
Since Dylan’s diagnoses, I have made it my goal to educate myself on his delays. From asking all sorts of questions (embarrassing or not) every single week, to saving up some extra money to buy books that explain more on his conditions, or therapy items (like a weighted vest), I have set out to help Dylan and to educate his family, our friends, and strangers, on why he is the way he is. Even with the tools Dylan and I are learning, every day is a brand new learning experience.
However, had it not been for the exceptionally talented staff at Speech Tactics, I would have never known how to continue treatment outside of their office.
Dylan has blossomed over the last 8 months that he has received “treatment”. And the term treatment is an understatement, because whether it’s his schedule therapists or not, every person working for this facility takes time out to acknowledge Dylan, and every child as well, to encourage the child’s comfort zone and growth of success.
Dylan has gone from repeating the same simple words over and over, using grunting sounds and pointing his fingers to signal what he wants, to saying brand new words and sentences every single week. Through occupational therapy, I have learned why Dylan has always been picky about food, or couldn’t handle simple instructions, couldn’t handle large crowds, and simply why under no circumstance his routine couldn’t change. There’s an entire list of his uniqueness, but through therapy, we have finally learned the “why” and are now learning how to help Dylan. I can’t even put into words how much his therapeutic classes have helped him and his family in creating a healthy and understanding environment for him.
To any parent or caregiver reading this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That’s the biggest message I want to send out. The team at Speech Tactics can help in every way needed to give resources and support. I can 100% verify their willingness to aid in all matters concerning your child’s continued success and to help you find other understanding support systems. You are not alone, and it “takes a village to raise a child”, as the old adage says. If ever there was a 100% dedicated village, Speech Tactics is the place to be.