When Ian was three-years-old he went to the public preschool down the road. It was so scary seeing his little body ride away in that big school bus. I waved everyday but received only a stare back. Almost like he wondered what was wrong with me. He had been attending school for about six months when he was diagnosed with autism. The next day was very hard for me. I struggled with the worry of what was to become of him. I wondered if I had the ability to help him in the ways he needed to be helped.
I stood there fighting back tears as I watched the bus roll away. I weakly put up my hand to wave goodbye when I saw it. He waved back. Tears flooded my face as I wildly waved in return. I waved until I couldn’t see the bus anymore. I put my hand down and I smiled. It was his way of telling me that all was going to be okay. He would get it, maybe not as fast as everyone else, but he would get it. From that moment on we waved every day like crazed maniacs. That made me so happy.
Two weeks ago we took him for an evaluation at Blossom Park, a Precision Teaching learning center in Goodyear, AZ. I spoke candidly with Nicky Carter and she advised me that Ian lacked some critical basic skills and he needed therapy in order to be able to succeed in a traditional classroom setting. We could try enrolling him but she suspected he would be disruptive and potentially be asked to leave. I couldn’t have this happen. So today we opted to not attend Kindergarten and instead get the therapy he needs to be successful. It was a bittersweet decision.
Tonight our lives went on as usual and this evening found us in his room trying to pick up toys. Ian has always had a problem in this area. Ian would try and try to put his toys away but he always become distracted and ended up playing with his toys instead. For over two years I have argued, screamed, begged, threatened, and bartered my way through the process of picking up toys each and every night. Typically the night ends with the parents picking up most of his toys.
Tonight I had to leave the room to tend to his younger brother Patrick and asked Ian to finish putting up his toys. It was getting late and both boys were tired. As I was putting on Patrick’s night shirt I heard the familiar sound of train tracks hitting the sides of the plastic bin. I stopped and I smiled. He did it for me again. Right when I needed that sign that we were on the right track and all would be well, he put away his toys all by himself. He will get it, maybe not as fast as everyone else, but he will get it.