Are We Better Off?

Don’t worry…don’t worry…this is not a political rant.

While I’d love to discuss Mitt Romney vs. Barak Obama and all that Obamacare vs. 47% vs. Libya…I’ll stay far away from that.

In November my son with autism, William, will turn 7-years-old.  Thinking about his birthday reminds me of his 3rd birthday and all that’s happened in the last 4 years.

We knew something was different about William at about 13 months…you can read all about it in our book, “Look At My Eyes” or in Spanish, “Mirame los Ojos” if you’d like…please buy the book and give it to all your friends!

He was diagnosed at age  2 1/2 and things really kicked in at age 3.  That’s when he started going to school full time.  I still can’t believe it.  He was 3-years-old and going to school Monday – Friday from 8:30 to 3:30 PM just like he was in high school.

He didn’t sleep at all…and when I say, “at all”…I mean AT ALL!  I can still remember countless nights when he would “talk” and wiggle and just be restless all night long.

He wasn’t potty trained.  He would take off his diaper BEFORE needing to go to the bathroom and would then pee or poop and spread it all over his room…bed, walls, toys, himself.

The really fun times was when he would do it multiple times a day.

He didn’t talk.  He would make noises but that’s about it.  He wouldn’t respond.  If you asked him a question he would ignore or maybe try to repeat it instead of answer it.  He couldn’t or wouldn’t follow directions.  He certainly wouldn’t look you in the eye.

Four years ago we were just beginning what would turn into an 18-month legal battle with our insurance coverage over so many issues.  That took a lot out of us…especially my wife who was pregnant with child #2 at the time.

William didn’t run or really do anything athletic.  He didn’t show mastery of gross or fine motor skills.

Four years ago I didn’t think my marriage would last.  It’s crazy even typing that sentence because a breakup was/is never an option…but the stresses of dealing with no sleep, looming financial implications, the constant sadness and weight of the situation pushing down on me and my wife…it was tough.

And here we are today…4 years later.  ARE WE BETTER OFF THAN WE WERE 4 YEARS AGO….darn right we are!

William still has his struggles and issues.  But he’s happy.  He communicates so much better…still hard to understand but he can ask for what he wants, he can tell you in short sentences things, he can answer basic questions.

William is a MASTER at the monkey bars…he will climb and go back-and-forth until his hands are blistered and bleed…and he doesn’t care!

William can dress himself!  He can tie his shoes!  Just recently he learned to buckle his car seat all by himself.  He is very independent–almost to a fault–he doesn’t like asking for help at times.

We are still sad.  We always will be.  But we are so grateful to God for getting us through the past 4 years…and have faith that He will continue to carry us in the palm of His hand…and that William will be used to glorify His kingdom through his life.

Marriage is still tough.  Finances always are an issue.  Insurance companies are always trying to do as little as possible and charge as much as they can (no president of the USA will be able to fix our insurance problems).

What’s it going to be like in 4 more years…he’ll be 11-years-old…HOLY COW…that means I’m getting older…yikes!

He’ll be going through puberty, he’ll be a young man and not a little boy.  What will he sound like?  What will he enjoy doing?  How will his communication be?

I don’t know but I do know that 4 years ago I couldn’t have imagined we’d be where we are today…and for that I give thanks!

To be continued…

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Seth/Melanie Fowler on Twitter
Seth/Melanie Fowler
Authored, Look at my Eyes, a parent's perspective re: navigating autism-early intervention, insurance, treatments, a paradigm of a family & child with autism
Seth/Melanie Fowler

Seth/Melanie Fowler

Authored, Look at my Eyes, a parent's perspective re: navigating autism-early intervention, insurance, treatments, a paradigm of a family & child with autism

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