I realized I haven’t shared a Charlie update in quite some time. Things are mostly the same. We aren’t seeing any regression, nor much improvement with language. Charlie has about 10 word approximation that he repeats once in a while like cookie, go, bee, and bacon. Imitation is an incredible skill so we’re really happy about that.
Receptive language and autism
Something great happened yesterday that really surprised me. It left me feeling really happy, and these moments aren’t super common. Charlie’s first therapy session was canceled, so I was home alone with him. We were in the kitchen and he asked for a drink with his iPad. Nothing unusual. Keep in mind that Charlie’s receptive language isn’t great. We’re working on it with his therapists but he still has a long way to go.
“Charlie, go get your cup”
Anyway, I didn’t have any clean cups left in the kitchen so I nonchalantly said “Charlie, go get your cup please”. He didn’t move and I started thinking to myself that it was silly of me to have asked that and that I should know by now that it’s not a skill that Charlie has. You know, it’s really sad for me, as a mom, when I feel like I’m talking to a wall.
But a few seconds later, Charlie started moving. He walked out of the kitchen, ran to the living room, looked under the pillows, found his sippy cup, and brought it back to me in the kitchen.
I was shocked in a really good way. He was so proud of himself when I congratulated him, he started laughing. I kept thinking about this moment for the rest of the day. I always say that I have high expectations for Charlie and that I know what he’s capable of but that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I get sad. I do my best to treat Charlie like any other child by asking him questions and giving him instructions but sadly, most of the time, I don’t get an answer. I’m only human, and some days it’s hard on me.
The importance of having high expectations
Yesterday, when I asked Charlie to go get his cup, at first got mad at myself when he didn’t answer.
I was upset with myself because I was asking Charlie to do something I thought he wouldn’t be able to do. Why do that to myself? Of course he wasn’t going to answer. He doesn’t really ever.
But this time he did.
And so when he did what I asked, I got mad at myself for unintentionally underestimating him. Phew! Feelings are complicated.
Autism turns random moments into memories
The bottom line is, I think it’s totally okay for me to feel sad that not only can Charlie not talk but he also mostly can’t follow directions. I just need to remind myself that he CAN do it and that it’s important for me to keep having high expectations for him.
One more time, autism made an insignificant moment become a great memory. Raising a nonverbal child really makes you appreciate every victory and milestone, as hard as other moments can be.
Also, I stumbled upon pictures of Charlie as a baby, he was so adorable and chubby. All the feels!