This last week, I've been reminded of how much progress The Boy's made. Like the other night when he sang "If You're Happy and You Know It" at 4 in the morning. How amazed I was that he was able to sing the whole song and do all the steps simultaneously - effortlessly.
I think about how when The Boy started Early Intervention he had no words or way of communicating. How he gradually acquired five words, then ten and now - three years later - he has enough words to carry on an argument.
Me: How about Pizza for dinner?
The Boy: No. How about another dinner? I want Chinese rice.
And I think about all the hours of therapy it has taken him to get to this point.
All the people at school. All the teachers, therapists and aides that have held his hand. The revolving door of therapists coming in and out our home. All the extra related services. All the Board of Ed officials that I spoke to, faxed, emailed or
argued disagreed with.
All the people we've met along the way to help The Boy. And us.
All the people that provided advice. Offered suggestions. Gave us support. All the people who listened. Who let me cry in their offices. Who willingly gave their time and energy to talk to me, answer my questions and address my concerns.
All the people who were so patient in teaching The Boy, the most basic of tasks.
All the people who rejoiced in The Boy's achievements as much as we did. All the people who advocated for us. All the people who assured me that there was hope, that The Boy had potential. All the people who told me, everything will be okay.
It wasn't one person, one program or one therapy. It was a collective effort to get us to this point. We could not have done this alone. And I can't think of all the progress The Boy has made without thinking about the people we've met along the way.
How can I possibly thank them? How can I possibly repay them? There is no monetary value that I can place on that kind of assistance. Or on the amount of gratitude I have. And how can they possibly know the difference they've made in our lives?
Yesterday was The Boy's final day of school. (read post here) And after I put him on the school bus and walked away, I couldn't help but feel sad. As if we were losing something special. We've said goodbye to so many therapists over the last three years. It still doesn't get any easier. The Boy doesn't really know the difference. He's too young to value their importance as much as I do.
I'm sure as the years pass, he may forget their names, their faces. But I will remember. And I will remind him. The people that have walked into our lives, the ones I never expected to meet, the ones that changed our lives and the way we live - will never be forgotten.
This post is included in S-O-S Best of the Best Edition 9: Therapy and Special Needs Kids. Best of the Best Editions are published on the 15th of every month.
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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.