Wow, what a year!! Of course we have had ups and downs but the boys and I have accomplished some pretty amazing things this year.
First of all, this year has been a growing year for me in many ways. At the end of 2015, I started running. I forced myself to make time for me and I chose to use that time to run. Trenton finally let me get a good four to five hours of sleep at night so I actually had some energy to put a foot in front of the other one so I decided to run. (It's amazing how good four or five hours of sleep every night feels after you have lived through years of one or two hours of broken sleep every night.)
Whew! So glad I did. I love it! It has been a blessing to me in many ways. I finally lost the weight that my body gained from the years of sleep deprivation and stress. Running and exercising is very good for a person's health. I found out in 2016 how crucial it was for my health and the issues that I started to have. So, as of now, 2016 made me a dedicated runner:)
I have met some amazing autism families this year. My blog and book has led me to some of the most extraordinary people. I would have never met them if it wasn't for my advocating work. I am forever thankful for the road that God is leading me on.
Trenton and I achieved the hardest task that we have ever tackled yet and that was potty training! As I have said before, it was a brutal 16-18 months but we did it! We accomplished it! Consistency, battling through the autism challenges and not giving up is crucial and we did it!!! I have not been any prouder in my life than I was, and still am, of Trenton with this accomplishment. To top it off, since our last medicine change, he is getting very good at going number 2 in the potty, too!
Trenton has made progress this year but it is slow and it will always be slow. If you look at it as a whole, he has been in therapies since he was 18 months old. His use of spontaneous words is very few BUT it's better than it was over 4.5 years ago when we first started therapy. We have to look at the positive side. Our gains and accomplishments are very tiny but they are huge because it takes us a very long time to reach what we do. We have to be consistent, rigid, maintain same routine, and have lots of patience. When you maintain these, it is amazing the things that you can accomplish over a long period of time. It takes a long time, but without the consistency, strict routine, and patience-you don't accomplish what you should.
Trenton has grown in his ability to go out in public this past year. Again, he is slowly getting there. A year ago he wouldn't go into McDonald's for more than one minute. Now, he will sit in there for a good ten minutes at least. This is small yes....but its huge for us!
Of course he has grown in many other abilities but these are the ones that I hold so close and dear to my heart because I know EXACTLY what we have went through to reach these and it wasn't pretty!
Andrew has had many challenges this year. He has a lot of emotional/anxiety challenges. This was in full force for the first six months of this year while he was adjusting to the divorce. I don't speak about what I went through with Andrew very often, but it was very emotionally heartbreaking and it left a forever scar on my heart. However, he has worked through his emotions and is doing much better.
Andrew completed his one on one ABA program this year! That was our biggest accomplishment with him!! I am so proud of him. He will be starting at Harsha Autism Center again but his training will not be the intense one on one. It will be more focused on social/learning settings.
As a family of three, we have grown a lot! We have an amazing routine down that I don't bend much on (just ask our close family members. HA!) and I couldn't be prouder of the boys. Life is going smoothly! More smoothly than it ever has but with autism things take time and we are finally seeing some of that this year!
This year proves just how important consistency and routine is crucial to our accomplishments and to our learning experiences.
May the blessings of 2017 be wonderful to you! I pray that in 2017 things keep looking up for us!!