Autism and regressions
There’s something they don’t prepare you for after your child gets diagnose with autism: the constant loss of skills. Because Charlie is severely autistic, we’ve been experiencing it a lot and it doesn’t get any easier. Every week, Charlie works on different targets in therapy like imitating certain sounds/gestures, or stopping when we say “stop” etc. After practicing these skills everyday, we consider them “mastered” when he gets them right more than 80% of the time for 3 days in a row. It’s always exciting when Charlie masters a skill. It’s progress, and it gives us hope for the future.
On the flip side, Charlie has a really hard time maintaining skills he’s previously “mastered.” He’ll gain a new skill yet he’ll lose an old one. Right now, we are super proud of him because he’s learned to identify 5 colors- something we’ve been working on for literally years! Unfortunately for the past couple of weeks Charlie also hasn’t been able to say “mommy” anymore. He’s struggling with the “mm” sound and replaces it with a “p.” His therapists have been working on it again but he’s struggling. I remember feeling quite sad a few weeks ago when I realized that there was no meaning behind Charlie calling me “mommy.” Well, now there’s not even a “mommy” anymore at all.
Autism and seeing the glass half full
The best we can do is to always keep hope. I’m optimistic at heart and when the neurologists told us that he would most likely never talk, I didn’t believe them. Was it naivety? Maybe.
Today I refuse to believe that Charlie will not progress beyond this point, and that he’ll keep letting go of a skill as he learns another. On the other end, though, I have to protect myself, and it is a possibility in the back of my mind. Not hearing his sweet voice saying “mommy” anymore, reminded me that we really should focus on the present. There’s no guarantee Charlie won’t keep losing skills the he has, and it’s these skills I may miss terribly in the future.