Okay, I know it's been a while since I've posted. I could offer all kinds of excuses, but the bottom line is that a) I'm lazy and b) my life is actually kinda boring. Plus I'm studying for kind of a big-deal test which I will hopefully be taking within the next few weeks.
Okay, fine, I just cracked the book today--but crack it I did!
Anywho, onto the blog post, which is, incidentally, what I'm here for. Last week we got some GREAT news regarding Caleb's progress in therapy. His ABA program puts "protocols" on him periodically (I'm learning all SORTS of new terms here lately). Basically, they teach him new skills and monitor his progress on achieving them, including everything from imitative and play skills, to verbal communication and everything in between. Well, my little super-munchkin "mastered out of" SIX in the last month. I have no frame of reference, but I'm assuming from the director's tone of voice in imparting this information that this is GREAT! They re-evaluated him and he is testing WAY higher on the little graph-y thingee than he did when he started, which puts his scores falling "primarily in the appropriate level for his age." I was FLOORED when she told me this. I just couldn't be prouder, or happier that we made the decision to get him early, aggressive therapy when we did. It's been a long and scary road, but it's SO encouraging to see progress.
I had a conversation with Caleb's sitter today (he's in ABA three days a week, and goes to an in-home sitter for the other two) that was very encouraging also. She went on and on about how much progress he's made, and what a different child he is now after just three months of therapy. "He's just so HAPPY now," she told me. During what I now refer to as The Dark Time Before Therapy, he had a lot of problems at her house, staying mostly unhappy and mute, crying for long periods and not interacting much. I struggled with a lot of guilt, knowing he was a trial for her, but not knowing what else to do since the alternative was a standard daycare setting, in which I KNEW he would struggle even more. She made a comment that almost made me cry (okay, fine, I did--but not until the drive home). She said that the other kids, all under three, had noticed there was something not right with Caleb, and when she would try to get Caleb to say something, they would tell her, "Caleb can't talk." That broke my heart to hear, to know that children hardly more than babies had noticed that there was something different about my little man, when it had taken me so long to accept it myself.
Now, the same children never say things like that anymore and look at him as more of an equal. One little girl even waved to him today, cheerfully calling out, "Bye, Caleb!" as her mother and I loaded our respective children into their car seats. If I hadn't seriously considered the possibility that her mom would have been slightly alarmed at my actions, I would have run over and kissed her. One of the (many) things I have worried about is the possibility that Caleb will never have any real friends - that he will go through his life a solitary soldier, coping with but never really enjoying life to the fullest. What fulfills a (typical) person's life but people and human interaction? I was just learning to accept the possibility that my idea of fulfillment might not match his and that that was okay, when this happened. One little smile and wave from a curly haired little moppet, and hope was born.
Because Caleb, my little MIRACLE, smiled back.