It’s been approximately one and a half year since our world turned upside down – since we learned that our boys are autistic. It sure has been a roller coaster ride. Emotionally, we’ve delved into the darkest corners of the human mind and then slowly reemerged back up into the sunshine. We still go up and down but the roller coaster is slowly changing from one of those crazy roller coasters where people feel dizzy just looking at them to something a bit more innocent, a bit more manageable. And it seems as if the general direction is upwards of late.
Since I last posted the Holidays have come and gone and it’s 2013 already! How fast time flies. I guess a “Happy New Year” wish is in order. The year 2012 was eventful to say the least but I have to admit that I was not sad to say goodbye to it and welcome a new year – a new beginning. Looking back, for me I feel that 2012 was an uphill struggle most of the way. Sure, it had its ups (this picture representing one of them), but overall I feel that it was a pretty tough year. I am, however, much more optimistic for the coming year. I can feel that it’s going to be a great year!
Great news! We have officially been offered (and accepted) a spot for both boys in a kindergarten in Iceland that has excellent reputation for doing an outstanding job with autistic kids. And apparently, it is not just the reputation that is good since my husband, who is currently in Iceland, visited the kindergarten today and was tremendously impressed. Moreover, we have secured a place to live as well… in walking distance from the kindergarten. I am almost giddy with joy and relief!
Sometimes, when I look at my little V and listen to him babble incomprehensibly, sometimes even repeating the same babbling over and over again, I feel like he is actually saying something, that his babble actually entails some meaning in his own head. It even has the timbre of Icelandic, as his voice goes up and down at just the right places. It sounds like he is speaking. Sometimes, he even looks me directly in the eye, while using his hands as if he is trying to tell me something. The only thing missing are the actual words!
As my post Moving Back to Iceland states, we are returning to the land of ice and fire after two eventful years in Copenhagen, Denmark. As such, we found it fitting that I made a trip to Iceland to look at preschools and schools in search for the best services for our boys. So, I’ve been in Iceland the past few days (the reason why it has been oh so quiet in here) scanning the system. The goal was to find a neighborhood that has a good preschool AND elementary school that BOTH offer excellent services for autistic children. But the big question here was: How do I define the best school? What should I be looking for? How do I choose?
There are things I have difficulty thinking about without feeling the gloomy feelings sneaking up on me. These are storm clouds of thoughts, constantly threatening to engulf the sunlight and every day I have to fight a few little battles as not to let them take over my mind and soul. My defense is mainly built from thought prevention, meaning that I usually do not allow myself to go there. And if I do, I do everything in my power to force myself to stop and pull back. I have decided to share these darkest of thoughts with you in this post, mainly for the purpose of telling others that might relate, that they are not alone in feeling this way.
Almost a year ago, we heard the mention of autism in relation to our older son for the first time. It was merely one word in a long recitation of plausible things that a diagnosis process could lead to and out of those, autism was not at the top of our minds. It was also the first time since we moved to Denmark that our request for some extra support at the kindergarten was received positively. Soon after, an application for support was finalized and a few months later we got the news that JA had been granted 8 hours of support per week starting in August 2011. Although we had hoped for more support (the maximum support possible consists of 16 hours per week) we were glad that he would finally get some support. And what a difference it made!