It’s that time of the year again, that time when we think back on everything that has happened since last time we celebrated New Year’s Eve. It’s been a pretty eventful year for my family. That includes some negative experiences, but I’m trying to focus on the positive. At the same time it makes me sad not being able to share the good news with others. I am after all very proud of my daughter.
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) is an organization that helps parents raising children on the autism spectrum. They have been celebrating the successes and victories their children and teenagers have had this year. The parents responded to this challenge:
What accomplishment are you celebrating this year?
Send your child’s photo, their first name and their accomplishment, to Holly@tacanow.org so that more families can celebrate with you, cheer your child on from afar and find hope for their own family thanks to your child’s successes.
Here are some excerpts from the answers:
- Four year old Sean still didn’t speak any words in February this year, but thanks to a gluten and caseinfree diet, different types of therapy and support from TACA he has learned many words during this year, including mommy, which he said for the first time in August.
- Vincent and Victor (I think they are twins) managed to watch their sister perform in the Nutcracker this year for the first time in ten years. They were able to sit still through the entire show and they were also focused on what happened on stage. This is a known challenge for parents of autistic children, and just as big a victory when they succeed after both parents and children have been working hard for years.
- Tyler is a five year old boy who started talking and playing with other children in 2015. This was a major victory as he had previously been worried children his own age would hurt him. He had made some bad experiences in his class room, but everything changed for the better this year. The family thank TACA and other families for their support. You can read more on the TACA facebook page.
Our daughter has made remarkable progress this year. This is actually an understatement because she keeps reaching new milestones. There are multiple reasons for that, but I’d like to mention a dairy and gluten-free diet, a good cooperation with doctor and school, as well as activities like ballet and therapeutic horse back riding. We have clearly done something right and I believe we can keep the momentum for 2016. I have been pleased and relieved with the advances we have seen this year, and I have written about it on my blog. I didn’t think this would be negative as my angle was a positive one, but it turned out to be.
We were reported to The Child Protection Services last summer, and one of the justifications for the concern was that I had published a photo and my daughter’s first name on this blog and on facebook. It was also held against us that we had mentioned her disability and the things we had done to combat her challenges. I wish we could add her photo and name to the others on the TACA facebook page, and thus celebrate her success this year, but we dare not because we know we risk another report to CPS. This would supposedly be a violation of her privacy. The report last summer also claimed that using words like handicap, disability and challenges publicly was a violation. According to the critics it teaches her to become a victim. We have to stop talking about her, as if we are ashamed of our daughter.
Autism is about people that don’t communicate quite like others, and they are nonverbal longer than than other children. It is sad when other adults stop talking about autism. We may pretend that we live in a world where we are all within a normal variation of the human genome, but that’s not quite the reality my daughter is likely to face. The fact that we don’t talk doesn’t make something go away, but it is likely to make it worse. I hope it will improve in 2016, but my plan is to help my daughter fight her own battles. It would be nice if grownups talked and listened more to parents and autism organizations in 2016. That could reduce the need for combat skills.
We may be forced to be less public, but giving up is not an option. I have great hope that our momentum will continue in 2016.