Monday, January 2, 2012

Celebrating the Strides of Victory with Autism

The challenges that autism brings for our boys can seem overwhelming. 
Challenges that seem like you are running a marathon. The training and conditioning seem to take forever, and when you least expect it, he makes a stride that brings him closer to the finish line. It helps us if we celebrate the strides of victory. 
Lucky for us our boys challenges are different from one another and always make life “adventurous.”  This month we have had more challenges than I can count. There are days when I want to “throw in the towel” and “go swimming instead.” It can take days for us to overcome a “sprain” or “dehydration” brought on from the challenges. I know from experience that if I focus on the setbacks and failures then our boys won't make progress. I am the parent, “the coach”, if I get turned around on the course, it slows them down too.  When possible  I  find humor in the chaos or focus on celebrating the victories, especially when he did something for the first time. These victories may seem menial to the unaware or uneducated, but it is huge to those of us who are the “coaches” to the “runners” we love.
·          He gave a hug, instead of pulling away.
·          He waited until we got home after a birthday party to have his meltdown.
·          He slept through the night.
·          He let me rub lotion on his dry hands.
·          He initiated and ate ketchup for the first time.
·          He respected boundaries with visitors.
·          He didn't cry while playing a game.
·          He was able to self regulate with a therapy tool.  
·          He had more than one shower and brushed his teeth most of this week.
·          He got himself ready for school on time.
·          He wore his belt one notch looser, instead of cutting off the circulation around his waist.

·        We Made it Through Unwrapping Christmas Presents Without Anyone of The Boys Having an Emotional Episode!!!
When I can look at a list like this, it gives me hope. All the effort put forth in training, the long hours of therapy, the repetitive steps of instructions, the sleepless nights, the damaged ears from the screaming, and the achy muscles from the buildup of stress is worth it when I see the strength my boys have gained. It makes the race worth running to Celebrate the Strides of Victory along the way.

1 comment:

nataliegate said...

Hi Sharla,

I read most of your book at my parents' house during Christmas. I love how concise and informative it is. I think that many of the therapies you suggest might be useful for people with other disabilities as well as Autism, for instance, my daughter with Downs Syndrome might benefit from some of the calming ideas. Children who are hyper and unable to sleep at night may benefit from the weighted blanket idea, I'm interested in more information on that. Also, I have a friend who adopted a little girl from a Russian orphanage who is using horses to help her learn to bond. These are all great ideas. I ordered a copy of your book. It would be nice if there was an option to order multiple copies at a time.


Natalie (Roberts) Gate