Monday, January 26, 2009

6 is no longer the magic number

Our boys turned six years old on Wednesday.

Will and his dad. Shirtless as always.

We held a birthday party for them last Sunday. All of their school 'chums' (as my Pop used to say) came over to our place to tear the house apart, then we headed to the bowling alley for some Cosmic Bowling. The overhead lights are all turned down low and the neon lights and laser lights flash all around while loud rock music blares from the speakers. Any other time this would have been a blast, but not so much for Will. Sensory overload. He missed out on the fun and spent the rest of the party in the van with Jonathan. As soon as Will left, Owen lit it up and had a great time. With some assistance, he would go to pick his own ball (always picked the green one), walk to the line, set the ball down, count to three then said "goooo" while he gave it a push. Very proud of himself. Owen and Ella, Jake and Joshua, Zack, Maddie and Jack, Eric and Rowan all had a great time. It was great to see all of the kids do so well.

6 year old Owen with Courtney

It has been an emotional week. I'm a typical mom, overthinking and probably being dramatic. But six has been a magic number in my mind for the last four years. The boys were diagnosed at 2 years and 4 months. At the time, we were in Ontario thinking that we would be on the waitlist for therapy for a few years, but that maybe we would get some service before they would 'age out' at age six. At the time, children were being discharged from the provincially funded therapy program when the child turned six. This most likely was the magic age because scientific evidence for ABA is strongest for the youngest, ages 2 to 5. You'll often hear other parents of kids with autism who say that during these years, we hear the ticking time bomb as we approach that magic age.

The truth is, that somewhere along the countdown, my belief in what autism is and what potential my boys have, has completely changed. Age six no longer holds that power for me now that I believe that there is more out there than just ABA. ABA has been absolutely critical in bringing my boys to where they are today. They have fundamental skills that I don't think they would have ever had, had it not been for the hours of intensive therapy that they have worked through.

But ABA did not take Will off of Ritalin. It did not dramatically change Will's sleeping habits from spending hours awake in the middle of the night every single night to sleeping through every single night for the past 5 months. It did not bring the colour back to Owen's cheeks and add weight to his bones and bring a new light into his eyes. It did not sharpen his focus and attention span. The changes we have made to both Owen and Will's diet, in addition to the supplementation and other biomed interventions we have undertaken are the root of these accomplishments. There is no doubt in my mind. The details of these interventions are meant for a more detailed post on another day. ABA AND these interventions go hand in hand in marching my boys on a path to a more independent life. All of our most dramatic achievements and successes have taken place in the past five months. Owen and Will's sixth birthday will not change that path. In fact, it has offered me an opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and because of all of our recent successes, it makes me hopeful and excited for what is to come. With ABA AND our efforts at improving the boys' health, I know that we will have even more successes to brag about on their 7th birthday. But there is still that tiny part of me that feels sad that we have hit this age. Because I would be lying if I denied that way back in the beginning of our autism experience, I didn't dream and pray that my boys would be two of the ABA recovery success stories. But there is no time or room for wasted negative thoughts. Instead, I'll try to stay focused and positive and will do my best to post of each success for all of you to see and cheer along with us.


jennifer said...

wow happy birthday boys i have a blog too add me

jennifer said... there is my address

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