This past week I had Justin’s fourteenth (!) IEP meeting at his wonderful autism school, and as I looked around the table at the amazing practitioners who help my son five days a week it hit me that I would only come to this table four more times. I quickly pushed that thought away (after all, what autism parent really wants to contemplate graduation?) and focused on what all his teachers were saying about my boy.
It turns out, after a year or two fraught with trouble, Justin is doing really well.
Two years ago this fall Justin began displaying body movements that would ultimately be diagnosed as tic disorder, an event that would completely derail his life and our family’s as we tried desperately to help him. He was very challenging during that year, both in school and out. Of course his teachers handled it all beautifully, and eventually with a medication change we were able to get him out of the woods. Although he’s not where he once was, he is much improved, enjoying his life and able to go through his routine.
A year later, I can say he’s still in a good place.
And as I sat at the table and listened to what my boy was doing in the classroom, in OT, and in speech, it hit me.
All is good. I can exhale now.
I’ve written before that autism, at least in my house, is a cyclical event. Sometimes the wheel spins in our favor, and my son is happy, engaged, and productive in his life.
Sometimes, he is not. And that affects us all.
One thing I have learned over the years is that it is so important to grab onto those good times and truly appreciate them, because it is a guarantee that more difficult times will return down the road. I am really making a conscious effort to savor these moments that have luckily continued for an entire year, to revel in his happiness.
Because at the end of the day, my most important goal in life is to see both of my boys safe, happy, and productive.
There will be challenges in our future, of that I am certain. In the not too distant future we will be tackling guardianship, Medicaid/SSI, and hopefully finding a good day program for Justin where he will not only be safe, but enjoy himself. I know there will be struggles ahead.
But for now, all is good, we are at peace.
And I take it gladly.
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