Friday, June 11, 2010

Now for something a little different....

When our son was about 1 and 1/2 my wife and I noticed a change; something had happened. While always a happy baby, he seemed more distant, like he was somewhere far away, like something had come in the night and taken a piece of what was him. I would see him in the back yard putting dirt in his mouth and he seemed to have different reactions to tactile surfaces and textures. My wife took him to see the pediatrician and after a few visits we were told he was autistic.

We were told that's why he didn't speak and we may have to think about sign language and speech therapy. We were also told he probably would have to go to special schools where he could learn skills to someday join the workforce and hopefully be able to live on his own. I remember it was all very scary and as a parent I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

So my wife, being who she is, quickly got him enrolled into as many programs as she could, she got him a speech therapist (Jennifer Ross, yes I'm calling you out :) She would come to our house during the week and work with him, basically training him , forcing his brain to re wire itself. It wasn't easy. And we as parents had to be very strict with what he was allowed to do and eat. He soon learned some sign language; when he was hungry or eating he would put his little hands together to tell us ,"more".

Did I say it was hard work? Oh yeah. I'm one of those guys that doesn't like a scene and there was many a time when he didn't give a damn, he'd lose his shit in the mall, in a grocery store, it didn't matter. He once tried to kick a waiter for taking his cheese crisp and if you were in Disneyland in 2003 by It's a Small World you probably remember the kid having a total mental meltdown. Yep. Good times.

Well, this was years ago and I'm glad to say he just got "promoted" from 8th grade and will be attending regular high school when summer is over. He's attended public schools most of his life, and has gotten good grades consistently. I'm not sure where I'm going with all this, but at a mark like this I can't help looking back at how I was worried he'd never have friends or be labeled the "weird guy" and yeah, he's not perfect, he throws a fit when he has to do chores, doesn't like changes in his routine too much, and can get a bit overwhelmed around big crowds. And sometimes he's just a spazz (yeah I said it) but that's most 14 year old's , right?

So, I guess I just wanted to say thanks (in writing) to the family, teachers, and friends that have helped him to overcome so much and enjoy life as a "regular" kid. You had to work so much harder than most of the kids in your class Seth, and you continue to suprise and overachieve.

To Jennifer Ross I say thank you and to my wife, Cammie, I say thanks most of all. Without you I fear what would have become of that little kid putting dirt in his mouth so many years ago.


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David Jackson said...


Alec Fletez-Brant said...

Congrats to Seth and a job well done to you, Rory your wife, and all that have helped him,as I would've never suspected him of being autistic, if I wasn't told. My fam n' I wish you all the best.

Jim said...

Powerful post. Great illustration

K said...

I am a speech pathologist and your post moved me to teary. :) It's so nice to hear an "update" on a child that, often, SLPs don't get to follow throughout their life. I hope that Jennifer reads the post. Thank you for sharing. :)