Monday, November 4, 2013
Not in Denial Anymore!
It has been exactly 1 year since my last post. Live is so busy. I think of writing every day and by the time I remember, it is time for bed. But lots has happened since last November.
Jonathan is now in 6th grade. He is doing quite well. His areas of difficulties continue to be language arts (particularly reading comprehension). But nonetheless, he is enjoying school.
We went back to Children's Hospital to have him re-evaluated. I was so sure that they would remove the autism label and put ADD in its place, but to my surprise, not only did that leave the autism diagnosis and add ADHD, but they also added anxiety disorder and higher language pragmatic disorder. In a way, I prefer it that way so we can better focus on the therapies he needs to continue to thrive.
I told Jonathan a year and a half ago that he has autism. He was in denial for a long time. When we got the report from Children's, he and I read it together and talked about the therapies that he needs to do to continue to overcome some of the behaviors he still has. And he has been very open minded and receptive.
Hi attitude has changed since we told him about his diagnosis and even more after he read the reports. Although he was in denial at first and sad, we talked so much and reinforced the family support that he slowly seem to have overcome his fears. He is happier and more in control. He is also making lots of friends. To his advantage, all the kids nowadays (neurotypical and on "a" spectrum) love to play video games and he is very good at it. He is also more in control of his emotions and cries less than ever. He is able to regulate his emotions and takes himself out of uncomfortable situations without a meltdown. He is truly in control. He still says things that are strange and out of context at times, but for the most part, he is in a great place.
When I first told him about his diagnosis, he begged me not to tell his friends or sister. And I kept that promise. I don't even tell his extracurricular activities instructors. But today I learned that he has learned to accept his diagnosis and he is no longer hiding.
My husband and I went to the parent-teacher conference today. During the meeting, the teacher told us that Jonathan told the entire class (28 kids) 3 weeks ago that he has autism. It came out during a group conversation where some kids were wondering about other kids' behaviors from other classes and the teacher explained about autism. When the kids started asking about symptoms and behaviors and the teacher explained that it is a spectrum where some kids can hardly show any autistic behaviors and others were more severe, Jonathan raised his hand and told the class that he has autism. Everyone embraced the comment and told him that they would have never known and they asked him questions about how he feels and how autism affects him. When the teacher told us the story today, I wanted to cry so badly. I had a mixed of emotions from being very sad that he had to go through that to feeling happy that he is in a happy place. And when we came home I asked him about it and he was very casual and with a smile told me that he was fine and that he is happy.
He has worked so hard during these past years and we have worked hard with him so that this thing called autism does not handicap him too much. And although I know that he is always going to have some issues, he is in a much better place than we imagined.