As parents of children with disabilities, we often ask ourselves if our children have made enough progress. Did they “grow” developmentally? Can we see a noticeable difference from year-to-year in our children? When I think back, I can always see the change in my son. Even in moments throughout each individual day, I will see a glimmer that shows me he’s doing something remarkable. My son, in his remarkable way, shows tremendous growth every single day.
5 Remarkable Signs My Son Has Made Tremendous Growth
- Chores – This year, we’ve worked really hard with Squeaker on doing little chores around the house. Taking out the recycling, clearing his spot at the table, and feeding the animals have become a part of his routine. At first he balked at the idea, but in the past couple months, he’s taken these chores on as his responsibility. He doesn’t want to take just part of the recycling out like he used to. He wants to take out all of it. He’ll go down the driveway to get the recycling bins, then take out the recycling. He will run to the food bin to feed the cat, but it doesn’t stop there. He even runs to pick up the food dish when the dog comes in from outside so he won’t eat her food. He sometimes cleans his brother’s spot at the table instead of just his. He has a desire to help that overrides every other obstacle now.
- Helpfulness – Squeaker’s helpfulness goes beyond just his chores. He gets the toothbrushes for both him and his brother. He will grab things for me while I’m cleaning his brother’s nose. He helps his brother pick out appropriate clothing for the season. That by itself means progress, because last year, we had to discuss shorts versus pants with him several times, and now he’s helping his brother with it. The ways that he helps means more than the amount of help.He’s doing such an amazing job!
- Pet Care – We have several pets now. We’ve got a cat, a dog, an albino leopard gecko, a bearded dragon, and a snake. That means a lot of feeding and cleaning. He does a lot more than help feed the cat. When I scoop out the terrarium for our dragon and our gecko, he takes the scoop and throws away the droppings. Our cricket keep needs to get cleaned out to eliminate dead crickets, and he will help dump out the dead crickets. Sometimes he’ll even take a cricket over to Gandalf, our bearded dragon, and feed him a cricket from his hand. He’s almost completely gotten over his aversions to different types of animals and to bugs.
- Self-Care – Last year, we had to dress Squeaker in the mornings. This year, he picks out his own clothes and dresses himself. It helps that he’s dry in the mornings now and no longer wears a pull-up to bed. He’s made great strides in the past year. When he does have an accident at night, he helps out by stripping his bed for us and putting it either in the washer or the hamper, but that’s become much more infrequent than ever. In the past month, we’ve been working on getting him to bathe himself instead of relying on us to do it. He showed me how he washes his hair and he’s doing a pretty good job! [ctt title=”Hearing the words I Can Handle It means a lot…” tweet=”Hearing the words “I Can Handle It” means a lot when raising a child with #autism http://ctt.ec/SP9pn+ @embracespectrum” coverup=”SP9pn”]
- “I Can Handle It.” We hear that phrase more and more lately. It’s his mantra for trying things that he normally doesn’t try, so it’s super positive that he’s saying it more. We had to give him breathing treatments and the noise from the nebulizer bothered him, so we had to put headphones on him to start with, but then he changed his mind. He looked at me with the mask over his face and said, “I can handle it.” He did the rest of his treatments without headphones. He’s also handling thunderstorms without headphones when the lightning doesn’t get too vivid. He’s handling his brother not agreeing with him on things with reminders that he can handle it. Because he wants to handle things on his own more and more, he agrees to “handle it” even when it’s difficult for him. It’s the biggest sign of his tremendous growth ever.
I’m so proud to call him my son. When I think about how many people have tried to limit him in his lifetime because of his disability, I could get angry, but I’d rather show them his steep growth curve. What he’s capable of when we stand back and say, “Here–do it yourself,” would amaze many people because he’s amazing. If we didn’t push him past what even he thinks his limitations are, he may not make the amount of tremendous growth he’s made in the past few years. I’m glad that he’s also had teachers who listen when we say what he can do and hold him to it. What we believe, he can achieve. And we believe that he can do anything.
[ctt title=”What we believe, he can achieve…” tweet=”What we believe, he can achieve. And we believe that he can do anything. http://ctt.ec/bOiMh+ #autism #parenthood @embracespectrum” coverup=”bOiMh”]