You’ve probably heard by now that parents of special needs children often get excited over milestones that other parents wouldn’t have even noticed as being a thing?
Well I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely true. Things like Mr. L acknowledging that people hold spoons while they eat, or not needing chocolate milk every single morning to be a functional child, or telling me the names of Mars’ moons, are some of the little things to others that were big to us… Ok so you get the picture. Not “typical” milestones.
Well recently Mr. L has been on a roll with bugging his siblings. I tell myself I am usually a responsible adult and a parent who tries to teach respect and kindness. So I have been working on Mr. L’s not poking at his little brother and sister’s nerves… But honest to goodness I am secretly pleased and I find a mixture of joy and relief in this typically annoying milestone.
You might be wondering why in all heck would I be pleased with an annoying new discovery? Well because it is another form of communication that my moderate to severely autistic child has picked up on from his siblings. The fact that he naturally picked it up without being taught it with flash cards or social stories tells me that he is flexing that mental muscle of picking up on other’s behaviors.
Maybe I am just trying to find the positive in a negative behavior. But can you blame me when my kids have been physically poking, prodding, and who knows what else to annoy each other (especially when stuck in my van together) for days? Ok, they are good kids and this isn’t constant behavior. However my autistic son has been seen occasionally doing this and before talking him through better choices and behaviors, I do stop and smile to myself because I am witnessing progress. Progress that makes my mom heart expand a bit, tighten around some, and crack a little while praying for even more new milestones to be tossed our way.
Why the tightening of my heart? Because of the stress of the unknown. Will my first born be independent and successful? And why the crack nestled in between my ribs? Because sometimes I wish these milestones came sooner.
But today I’m going to continue to teach my kiddos personal space, respect for themselves and others, sympathy, empathy, and I’m going to smirk to myself because a typically unnoticed milestone is rolling through my house.