I am reading a great book right now called "Bad Animals: a father's accidental education in autism" by Montreal writer Joel Yanofsky. It's the sort of narrative that really appeals to me because it is realistic, raw and humorous. There is nothing flowery about it. His son is 11 and considered high functioning as well (whatever that means). What is so interesting is that I see so many of the same behaviors and quirks in Van that he describes in his son. What also hits home for me is his honesty and constant questioning as to whether he is a good or even good enough father. I think about the same thing constantly. Especially on a day like today I.e. mother's day. I am often plagued with guilty thoughts and it is reassuring to know I am not alone. I really recommend this book for anyone who is wondering what life with Van is like on a day to day basis (and me as well probably lol). It's a really unflinching look at the isolation involved with raising a child with autism. Both external and internal. I am not trying to be negative here just honest. There are moments of wonder and deep love and admiration too believe me but that's not all there is. In one of the chapters he describes a play date between his son and another boy with more severe autism and comments both doing their own "thing" happily lost in Autismland. That is Van in a nutshell much of the time. He is happily lost in Autismland. Whether at the park, in the backyard, at a play date, he is on his own in his own world. This is one of the reasons why his psychologist recommended moving him to a more structured daycare. A chance for him to be lured out of his shell perhaps amongst other things.
Another common theme in the above book and others is the worry parents suddenly have about the future that is different than those worries of parents with typical children. Gone are the thoughts about will he play hockey or what profession will he decide to pursue. These thoughts are replaced with thoughts about whether he'll have friends, make it through school, have a girlfriend (or boyfriend), live alone? Will he be bullied or be able to ride a bus alone? Cross the road? All parents worry about their kids, we just have different worries, altered expectations.
We have made a decision about his daycare (I hope lol). We were pretty smitten with a lovely one in the Glebe but were not sure if it would offer the level of structure needed. We then contemplated a very nice and warm private school but it was a bit out of our price range (save that as a possible elementary school option). We were getting pretty overwhelmed by the whole search frankly and really needed to know we were making the right decision. Luckily I got a call back from Algonquin Early Learning Centre and went to see them. They expedited Van through their substantial waiting list and have offered us a spot for July. We think it will be a good fit as it's a teaching daycare so they have very experienced staff. We will also be getting help from Andrew Fleck's integration services. I'll be happy to have the daycare issue over with that's for sure!
No word on the second adoption. Still waiting. We're used to waiting though so the anxiety is low right now. In fact sometimes a couple of days go by without me even thinking about it. Imagine! Lol
Here are a few recent pics.
"Tea" at Neila's third birthday party: