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.
In my last post, that was mostly about the impact nice weather and exercise has on one’s mental health, I also mentioned that V has already started in a new kindergarten, namely his big brother’s basisgruppe. As already explained, it’s this Danish name of an institution that, along with being a normal kindergarten, has a special department of 6 children, all diagnosed with autism, taken care of by four employees, two of which are experts on working with children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). JA started on his birthday in February and V just finished his second week. And boy oh boy, the extent of the difference is nothing short of remarkable!
I’ve been kind of quiet lately. That is, however, not due to lack of news – rather the contrary. It has been crazy busy and I simply haven’t found the time to sit down and write about everything that has been going on. As a very brief summary of all the things that have been happening it is worth mentioning the bliss of summer, Icelandic visitors, V starting in a new kindergarten, crazy busy schedules with our Master thesis work, we starting a new exercising program (at last!), some very interesting developments regarding sleep, JA showing new tendencies, and V showing some quite amazing skills. So, yeah… there is plenty to talk about.
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!
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!