As a mom of an High functioning autistic (almost) 3 year old I decided a while ago I would home school Charlie and any siblings he may have because the kids in the public school system are so mean these days. I didn't want Charlie to be held behind, picked on, teased etc., So when Charlie Started his preschool class Sept 8th I was a little anxious for him, and wasn't sure it was the right choice for him. Boy was I wrong!!! I know that when being a mom, following your gut is one of the best things you should do, and you should never ignore it. But I did, and I'm glad. Charlie's been in school for 1 month and LOVES it. In his class there is 5-6 boys (all boy class!) all the same age. There is 1 teacher per child so they are able to give them the help and support they all need. His school is 2 1/2 hours long and by the end you can tell he is exhausted.
My favorite part is the Artwork. My Fridge is COVERED in them!! It brings a little bit of normal into our lives, and shows us how far Charlie really has come. About 6 months ago Charlie couldn't even scribble a line. I am so incredibly proud of Charlie. Here is just some of his art work! (Daddy has some at work, so this isn't all!)
This is a picture of a drawing Charlie did Back in Feb. You can see that he was still stabbing the marker into the paper, and the lines that were drawn had no purpose and generally go from one dot to the next.
This was last week!! Look how far he has come!!I am so proud of him!!
One of Charlie's downfalls is that he has weak hands. Most Autistic Kids do. It's hard for them to do simple things like use scissors. So In class they practice cutting out shapes (with LOTS of teacher help) and gluing them on the paper!!
Charlie has made a couple friends in his class. It is quite cute! He is Friends with two little boys Rocco, and Aiden. The way they play is not the typical child play. Their version of playing is sitting next to each other and looking at books, or cars. Last week Rocco sat next to Charlie and they looked through the musical instrument box. There were small moments of eye contact and they showed each other different things. It was the most brilliant moment. I really did want to cry. Charlie was connecting with someone who understood him. They didn't have to talk or sign for communication. They communicated in their own way.
To be honest at first I was slightly jealous. In that moment I could see the Rocco and Charlie understood each other, and they knew what each other wanted. It was just so peaceful and quite. No one was crying, throwing tantrums, or being mean. They just quietly sat there, next to each other and played. I wanted that connection with Charlie. But as I waited for Charlie to get out of school I thought about ways to get that connection with Charlie, and I realized I can't. As a mom I am always looking for ways to connect with my children, and to be in their world. But sometimes as a mom it's best that I just stay out. Charlie needs his special bonds with certain people. I want him to have that special bond with Rocco, so they can rely on each other when the time comes.
Not being able to understand their world is so hard. There is still so much that I do not understand, and possibly will never understand. I just have to keep reminding myself, that while Charlie and I share a special connection, it's not the same, nor can it be the same as any other connection he makes with people. Each relationship is different, and it needs to be that way. He knows people by their relationships with him. A great example is lately he has been labeling the people in his life. He know's (FINALLY!!!!) I am Mama, Brian is Daddy, Amelia is Meme, And He is Charlie. He calls both my parents "Papa". The only logic I can come up with is that his relationship with both my parents is the same. They both rough house with him, cuddle with him, eat with him, and treat him the same. Their role in his life is the same, so they must be the same person right? We are working on getting him to call my mom something else (Not sure what yet), but it's been difficult.
Charlie's progress is been amazing. He is starting to talk in small senstences. The other day we were in line at the coffee shop, and he knows that he always gets a smoothie when we go. Well this day he was being impatient and grunting and whining because he wasn't getting his smoothie ASAP. I turned around and said
"Excuse me Charlie, What do you say if you want your smoothie?!"
And he said "Ooooh!! Give my juice please!"
I KID YOU NOT!! It was so awesome!! It's moments like this that I wish I had a tape recorder playing at all times so I can catch these moments that he is in our world and functioning. It makes my heart smile :)
I just love moments that we are able to connect. It's like the two worlds collide and we create our own world for a moment in time.