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Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Asperger's Story

Our youngest son has Asperger's, a relatively mild form of autism.
Since I started this blog years ago, it is the most frequent question I get from people who've stumbled upon the blog, or from long-time readers who've become friends.  Or from friends and family it seems.  David and I have become accustomed to talking openly about autism and Asperger's. 
And Brennan has too. 
Brennan, June 2009, almost 7 years old, just finished his first Harry Potter.  So proud.

(Actually, this post about repairing our leather couch with shoe polish is the most frequent comment I receive, but Asperger's and Autism run a close second!)
Amazing Achievement! 
Yesterday, October 28th, marked one full year since the last time I was called to school to help with Brennan.  I cannot tell you how different all of our lives are now that he is able to cope at school with much less involvement from David and me. 
One full year. 
I'm slowly learning not to panic if I am out and forget my cell phone at home.
I'm realizing it's OK to put my cell in my purse while I'm at lunch or at the gym.  I can go an hour.  They probably won't call.
I feel like I might almost be tempting fate with this braggy post, but I think it's a fitting time to celebrate how far Brennan has come and how much we've learned in the last 9 years or so.
Brennan turns 11 in January, but we've all been learning and managing Asperger's for more than 9 years. 
Sharing Our Story
I'm not an expert, but I am a mom who has a story to share about a great kid who is making great progress.  And I'm a parent who is happy to answer other parents' questions, because I've been there.  I know that scared look.  I know what it's like to be up at 3 a.m. researching frustrating new behaviors.  I know what it's like to have a child throwing a fit in school, and unable to calm himself down until I arrive.  I know how hard it is to talk about without bursting into tears, even if it's just because you're so proud.  I get it.
So I thought I'd use the blog to speak a little more about our story, in hopes of helping those who have no idea what to do and are just looking for answers.
Yes - you can share my story with friends you know who have recently received the news about their own child.  I get that question weekly.  Seriously.  A new family reaches out to me almost weekly.
 A Few Facts 
A few facts from Autism Speaks - one of the top autism websites.  Please check them out.  If you have questions, there are some great answers there.  And great resources. 
  • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

So for today, I just want to say that It Gets Better. 
I will be able to look back and say that in the second quarter of 4th grade was when this shift happened for us.
And it's been a whole year now.
Have faith.  It Gets Better.

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