No I do not mean-ABC. ;) It stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis. This is our little miracle & one more thing in my life that lets me know God is aware & loves us all as an individual.
So I am going to try and not make this a long story, but we will see what happens... The Sunday before I had Parent Teacher Conference (which I talked about in my first post) in October, Eli had his primary program. (Primary program--where kids get up in front of an audience averaging 300 people & sing & usually have a part to say.) He had a one liner that we worked on at home, not that he had any idea what it was for but he could say every word! Sunday came and I was planning on sitting by him on the bench and helping him with his part. The Sunbeams didn't even sit on the stand, they were just on the front row in the chapel. So I try to take Eli up by carrying him--I do this twice with no luck--he is making a BIG deal of it and I oblige and bring him back to where Chad & Charlotte are sitting. For any first time mother or maybe the excitement doesn't wear off..--it's exciting to see your little one get up there & say his/her part. You wonder if they will have the part memorized, will they be timid or confident, or even better will it be memorable & will they do something funny?! This is what I wanted, I didn't care that Eli could only repeat one word at a time from his part--I just wanted him to go up there & TRY & show off his handsome smile. But he wouldn't have it. Obviously, there are kids who won't say their parts and are shy--but this isn't Eli's case. He has autism & it's much more than being shy. So while kids were getting up saying their lines and singing, I was crying. Then the sunbeams get up to do their part--and that's when I lost it. I got up with Charlotte & took her to the nursing room and cried my eyes out. And it wasn't just the primary program, it was everything that was different about my little boy & I felt bad for myself. I was jealous that my little boy wasn't saying his part. And I was jealous that my boy had something wrong with him & has to struggle SO early on in his childhood. When his life should have no cares or worries right now. --Note: Feeling bad for oneself is the worse thing ever & I don't recommend it.--- ---Also Note: I was fortunate enough to have a girl in the ward that I was still getting to know come in and offer words of comfort and help me get my mind off my own worries, who now I would consider a best friend, she stayed with me through Relief Society class and although my mascara was off for teaching Sunday School, I could at least talk without tearing up.
Then I had Parent Teacher Conference--where I felt a confirmation that my boy is autistic and I need to face the truth. I went home and decided then and there I am going to take action & stop sitting on the sidelines hoping for some miracle that his tongue would be loosed.
My visiting teacher knew someone that her boy was autistic & she did a TON for him when he was little and is now going to school with typical children--she got me her number and I called. This lady then sent me an email of everything she did & it was heaven sent. One thing that her boy was able to do was preschool where they practiced ABA. When I saw this my heart sunk. After Eli's first year of preschool from the age 3 to 4 he was offered the opportunity to go to preschool where they practiced ABA with the children. I went to the school & didn't feel good about it. Although I think it's an AWESOME program and now KNOW it is. At the time I was still thinking--Eli will start talking soon & no he is not autistic. The ABA preschool was like this--about 6 kids. Each kid was sitting down with a tutor, one on one and most were working on flashcards at their own closed off booth. At this school the kids switch tutors so they don't get used to one adult, and as they are working they get rewards when they respond correctly. But they had little play time together as kids. And this scared me, I didn't like the idea of Eli being a "robot" & getting little play time with peers. ABA is GREAT for autistic kids, but at the time I thought he'd do better with a preschool where he could learn from his peers & interact. So I didn't choose ABA.
So I called Eli's preschool teacher crying. Wondering if I did the right thing--and she said at first she wondered herself if I did but she thinks it's good for him to be around his peers and learn from them. Then she told me about this ABA program, didn't explain much but that I should call the number. After getting off the phone with her, I called and left a voicemail. I got a call back that day and how fortunate I was. Because he told me a little bit about the program and said, "the last day to register is today!" So I pulled out my computer and signed Eli up.
This program is called the Autism Waiver. And just because I signed up didn't mean Eli was going to get the services. It was a lottery of 250 people getting chosen for the ABA services & the guy let me know that there were PLENTY of people signed up already. It is ABA services at home. Fortunately, at the end of November I received a call with good news that Eli was one of the 250 kids chosen!!! I was SO SO HAPPY & wanted to start right then and there. But we are about a month out from starting, there's been a lot of paperwork and someone has come to our home twice to ask TONS of questions and make a plan specific for Eli. Someone will be coming to our home & working one on one with Eli for 10 hours a week. So you can't imagine the joy and relief I felt when Eli was chosen. Not only does he get to go to school & interact with peers BUT he now will be receiving ABA services at home until he is 6 years old.
I have a favorite quote: "Your future is as bright as your faith." -President Thomas S. Monson And since faith requires action, I know that because I finally got off the 'sidelines' and called people, signed up, and did those things that felt right--my future just got a little brighter not to mention Eli's future as well.
|Who Me? Yes you.|
P.S. It ended up being a long story--sorry if you didn't make it through, for those who did--thanks!!
I hope the day is great for you & you find your life blessed.