( Youngest, at the front of the line when dexterity was handed out, but Talking? Not so much.)
The lovely sentence in the caption, complete with allowable expression of disgust, brought to you by Youngest -- as he thundered out of the master W.C., clad only in his slipper socks and pj top, carrying his wet pj bottoms at arms' length. He added "YUCK!" for emphasis, as he slid his eyes my way on his way out the door, heading towards his room to get fresh pj's.
You cannot know how this entire sentence made tears of joy spring to my eyes. For over 2 years, we did figure 8's around a diagnosis of autism for him, never allowing the label to attach, always hopeful that speech and emotion would permanently take residence in him. Therapists have worked him over like bread dough, lovingly kneading words out of his reluctant lips.
We worked with 'the system', and qualified for 4 visits a week; then 3, then 2, then 1 (which seemed to pan out to more like 1 or 2 visits a month) as the services dwindled due to overloads on the system. When he was 3, he qualified to attend a half-day District Preschool in the School District 4 mornings a week, 2-1/2 hours a day, which had 6 special needs' children and 6 typically-developing peers. Trouble is, the services were then diluted to one hour of group speech therapy and occupational therapy once a week! While attendance at school was great for him socially and he did get the benefits of group ST and OT, (and visits from a psychologist, physical therapist and social worker every so often), he really didn't make any progress. The system is so overloaded that progress is painfully slow. Right before he was 3, we found private therapists to work with our son. About 4 months ago, his progress took off like a rocket! I wish we would've known to get him much more help, much sooner. That's what it takes; hours of therapies a week, starting when you first suspect delays.
Luckily, we are fortunate that we could work the costs of his therapies into our budget; most families cannot. They get what help is available through the system, and it is pitifully little. I have since found out from other friends who have worked with the system much longer than we have that you have to be the squealing, screaming, screeching wheel to get your child front and center for available services.
We have a phenomenal group working with Youngest right now; his preschool teacher is known as the best in the District, her team is made up of top-drawer professionals in their respective fields and the paraprofessionals are outstanding. But what has done the trick to pull the words out of this reluctant rabbit's hat are extensive, intensive one-on-one therapy sessions, with the best professionals we could find. I wish all my dear friends with Special Kids would be so fortunate.
We're not out of the woods yet; but I think I heard a full sentence, WITH EMOTION, in this beautiful, wonderful, amazing sentence:
"FIDDLESTICKS! I pee'd on it!"