Making Change

I follow a very specific pattern for my writing. I don’t do rough drafts. Never have. I sit down and think. I organize a pattern in my head for the message. Then I put it on paper. Well, on screen … online — you get it.

The last couple of weeks, though, I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down and think. Now that I can, I’m having a hard time putting words together. The last week, in particular, has been overwhelming.

After nearly a month of living with us and keeping Alex during the day, my sister flew back to Arizona last Wednesday. She was able to do that because the advocacy group I took part in led to an opportunity for summer programming that I didn’t even know existed before. The class was put on by a local foundation called One For Autism. The foundation runs an academy for autistic children and adults, and they happened to have an opening in Alex’s age group.
He started Monday. He didn’t want to go. He argued with me. He cried. He begged. That’s nothing out of the ordinary for a new place or routine. He did the same thing Tuesday, only at a lower volume and for a shorter duration. What happened Wednesday was truly a new experience for me, though. On the morning of his third day at a brand-new place with brand-new people, my son — the routine addict — asked me if he could go to “Summer Camp.” (I figured “school” or “daycare” wouldn’t be as well-received, so I experimented with some new branding.) He volunteered.

That won’t mean anything to you if you don’t know what it’s like to raise a child who is so averse to change that a simple alteration in the morning route to school can put him in fight-or-flight mode. But two days is, by far, the quickest adjustment to a new routine that Alex has ever made. By Wednesday morning, he was chattering excitedly about what he would do at “Camp.” He hopped out of the car and bounced up the sidewalk, then cheerfully greeted his teachers and classmates. We’ve gotten nothing but positive reports the last two days.

I can’t begin to describe how great it feels to know Alex is among professionals who are trained in and passionate about working with autistic people. I don’t dread dropping him off in the morning. I don’t worry about what kind of report I’m going to get at the end of the day. And I know that he is receiving the type of therapy and behavior modification that will help prepare him for the start of the new school year.

Additionally, the One For Autism directors offer year-round support for their students, when it comes to helping the district develop and refine individual education plans. This place has been a blessing in every way possible. We have five more weeks of work at One For Autism before school starts. And, for a change, I’m looking forward to change.

  1. That’s awesome!! I’m so glad y’all were able to find the right program for him.

  2. What a great start for Alex! It’s fantastic there is a local progam like this. And that he likes it! I can only imagine how good it must feel to know that he is happy, cared for and among people who understand him. 🙂

    • It’s just such a blessing to be able to talk to the caregivers on an analytical level. When they tell me about an issue he had during the day, they’re not complaining; they’re trying to help identify the cause of the behavior and work with me to develop a solution. Sounds like a little thing, but it’s such a better situation. The only problem is this place is too far away for him to be bused after school. We’ll have to find something closer for the evenings once the new school year starts, but they’re already helping us look into that, too.

  3. Laida said:

    So glad it worked out for him. Hope the rest of the summer goes smoothly for him – and the rest of you!

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