A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A special appearance by Jen T.

After my recent Cameo Appearance at Living Life With a Side of Autism, I suggested it be a crossover event where I post on Jen's blog and she posts on mine. Plus, this saves me a day of coming up with brilliant material to keep you people entertained. Any time someone who doesn't have a kid with Autism finds out that I've got one of those, they ask: well, is she at least high functioning? I understand that many people think high functioning means easier, or "better", but that's not nesessarily the case. I love the way that Jen debunks that myth and tells it like it is. I like Jen. You will, too. Take it away, @JenTroester!

My daughter Katie is 7 and has a high-functioning form of Autism called PDDNOS. High-functioning, at least for us, has never meant easy, and we have had our share of struggles over the years. Some so difficult our family has almost been driven apart.

As with any child on the spectrum, real glimpses of progress can be few and far between. Katie is no exception. It can be frustrating pouring copious amount of money into private therapy, to supplement what she gets at school, and see no change or, worse yet, regression.

These past two weeks have been tough. Katie has had a bad cold which has meant big time behavioral regression. I have been so stuck in that, I almost didn't realize the significance of what happened this morning. I was busy making breakfast when my son woke up and came downstairs. Katie stopped riding her scooter (her latest obsession) to look at him and say, Good Morning, Ben! On her own. Unprompted.

Most take something like this for granted, but it made me stop in my tracks. I have often times wondered if social skills are really something that can be taught, or if it's a "you know it or you don't" type thing. That one simple sentence, Good Morning, Ben, proved that even though social skills don't come naturally to Katie, she can learn them. It proved to me that all the time and money we spend on therapy is worth it.

Progress might be slow, but it's there. This morning hope was given back to me. I really needed that. 

You can visit and follow Jen's blog at Living Life With a Side of Autism and follow her on twitter at @JenTroester. I'm assuming you're already following me on twitter, right? (@TheRealDaniG)

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