Today I want to talk to you about what you can expect in the growth and development of your Autistic Child.
By now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my daughter went from being a nonverbal 2 year old, to sign language, to word approximations to where she is today, a happy chatty 8yr old in a 2nd grade integrated class with typical peers. You should also know that I believe quality behavioral therapy in the form of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) had a lot to do with that development.
But one of the things I’ve heard over the years is to expect stutter steps in progress for children with Autism. What do I mean by stutter steps? It’s where you take 5 steps forward, then go 3 back, that sort of thing. Sometimes even, you can go months and see no progress at all. Now for us, that was NEVER the case. I’ve always been an integral part of her development, meaning I was watching like a HAWK to make sure I saw progress in any of the therapies we put in front of her, and if I didn’t we were making changes.
But when I’d push back on this, I’d still get these teachers saying to me, you have to expect Ups and Downs, it is how it works with kids on the spectrum. This frustrated the crap out of me, and then I realized that they were explaining it all wrong.
-In a linear life, having ups and downs = no progression
-In a life of growth, having ups and downs = continuous progression.
Look at the graphs in the image below.
Linear = You finish in the same place you started.
Incline = Even with the low points, you’re still trending upwards.
That’s why I CHOOSE to believe the growth and development of our autistic children should always be on the incline. I’m willing to accept the “ups and downs of life” or some “temporary setbacks” because I’m certain that overall, everything is still trending in an upward direction, even if my child isn’t having the best day. So the next time they tell you to expect Stutter Step Progress, you tell them to zip it, that’s not how a life of growth works and you will not accept anything less!