With autism, the term “developmental delay” is used often.  I used to think of it as all doom and gloom. Lately, I’ve been feeling like we are coming out of a very long tunnel getting some light.  Guess what?  Delay means later – not necessarily never.   It seems as though the age of 5 has come with the blooming of many new aspects to this little person that is my growing boy.

My son seems to be expressing more opinions, reaching goals and gaining ground since right around his 5th birthday.  The old obstacles have become acquired skills.  Even though they are things that – according to the books – he should have reached a couple years ago, he is catching up.  It is fascinating to watch him do things that I had so many serious doubts that he would master.

When you are so close to something, sometimes you don’t see the changes that are happening in the same way that an outsider perceives them.  From the time my son was three, I was watching for those goals to be reached. From inside that time bubble, consciously waiting, that time can seem endless.  Inside it, I often had momentary doubts that my son would ever aquire the particular skill with which I witnessed daily struggles.  Sometimes, I would try to think about accepting it if a goal was never reached at all.  And yet?  My little boy would reach the goal and beyond.

Have I quit talking about the potty training part yet?  No.  Why?  Because it’s been an amazing month, not to have to clean poop out of dirty undies before washing them or to  clean poop off my son in all the wrong spots!  He now tells me he has to use the toilet and then he does it!  Never did I think poop in a toilet would excite me so…

Truthfully, I had wondered if his autism was more severe than I’d thought or whether he might be potty-trained by the time he went to kindergarten.  Then, with some major positive and negative reinforcement around his 5th birthday, just a little over a month ago, he just started going on his own.

So, the major goal did not happen when he was 3 when (supposedly) the NT kids are potty trained.  That’s okay. I’m just grateful it happened.

Ever since he was a baby, he was more interested in breaking crayons than coloring with them.  He has always despised all writing implements for their intended purpose.  Now, he is not only working on writing – he is actively requesting to draw letters.  We bought index cards and he’s been using them with felt markers to draw letters and write words. He loves them.  He was supposed to start scribbling and writing at 2 or 3. He skipped all that and chose to start writing all his upper and lower case letters at age 5.

He has had much difficulty with days of the week.  Every morning I used to ask him what day it was.  It was always Wednesday.  Every day.  I went so far as to get him a day of the week visual aide where we would insert the name of the day every day:  “Today is …”  “Tomorrow will be…”

Finally, he is beginning to grasp the concept of changing days and when they happen.  Now, he has been loudly announcing that it is TWO-THOUSAND-AND-ELEVEN!  He follows this by asking what month it is.  Since we recently had the change to July, I wondered how he would answer.  First, he said June.  I corrected him once.  Since that time, he has said July.  Oddly, of course, this was our exchange:

Son: What month is it?

Me: It is July now.  Can you say July?  (I always end up feeling like Mr. Rogers when I do this…)

Son: July.

Me: Very nice!

Son: Where is it July?

Me:  (Puzzled)  Well, it is July everywhere!

Son: No!  It’s July at [preschool]!

Me:  Oh it’s July at [preschool]?

Son: Yes.

So currently, it’s July at his preschool.  I’m sure as we get used to July at preschool, it can become July elsewhere.

 And catching a ball?  He used to let it hit him in the face.  Or he’d drop it.  Now, he alley-oops it and dunks!  Score!  He a little basketball player.

I just wanted to share this, just in case you might be feeling discouraged.

Progress happens.  Just wait and see.


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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21 Responses to Delays.

  1. Mama Be Good says:

    Yep. July is a hard concept. December even more so. 😉

  2. Hmmm…. I feel oddly targeted by this one — especially since three of the four items you mentioned are things we are working on with Little Miss! Of course, you and T are an inspiration to us — always and seeing how things are going for you definitely gives me hope!

    For the days of the week, have you heard of the “days of the week song?” It’s sung to the Adams Family tune:

    There’s Sunday and there’s Monday
    And Tuesday — then there’s Wednesday
    There’s Thursday and there’s Friday
    And then there’s Sat-ur-day!
    Days of the week *clap* *clap*
    Days of the week *clap* *clap*
    Days of the week – Days of the week – Days of the week *clap* *clap*

    Little Miss picked it up at school, but for the longest time all she could remember was the “Days of the week – Days of the week – Days of the week *clap* *clap*” line — we thought she was stuck in some kind of unbreakable loop!

    It might not help T figure out what day it is today, but it will help him learn the order!

    • solodialogue says:

      You know, I read this first thing this morning. I tried it on him and guess what? He knew it! (I think our kids attend the same chain preschool) Guess what else? He just wanted to sing it all day long. And now? It’s stuck in my head too…. 😛 ❤

  3. Tessa says:

    Progress definitely does happen!!! That’s the one message I wish someone had given me when we started our autism journey.

  4. This is the kind of stuff I LOVE to read. Thanks and congrats on all the progress! 🙂

  5. C... says:

    It definitely does… sometimes you have to work on other skills and those others that never gave in follow in step eventually.

  6. Lizbeth says:

    And yay for you taking a step back and recognizing it. All too often we get stuck on all the negative and not the positive. I’ll take progress any day of the week!!!

  7. Flannery says:

    I’m so happy to hear about the progress!! We are still struggling a lot with the concept of time, and not sure if he will ever get it! I also see from the photo that you dare take your child into a Macy’s??? Last time I took Connor there, he found the “hidden” door behind a clothes rack and tried to make his way to the bowels of the building. I shop alone now.

  8. Broot says:

    My NT boy wasn’t toilet trained until he was 4.5. Neither of my NT children had any idea about the days of the week (beyond the names) until they started school. My Girl still has issues with the idea of where the months fit together. Neither of my children were interested in writing until they started school and had to. So you know what? Tootles sounds like he’s doing awesome to me! 🙂

    (Heh – I read a blog the other day that was called “Yesterday, on Tuesday” because that’s what her daughter would say. I commented that My Girl did the same thing – except it was usually “Yesterday, last week….” )

  9. Pudding has just started announcing the year too. There is a delightful calendar activity on that helps practice these things. Potty-training came early for her, I suspect it will not for her brother. And catching a ball? I long for that day! But as with everything, better late than never.

  10. Jennie B says:

    I’ve been feeling so, so bad about my son’s delays these past few days. Will he ever talk? Will I be changing his diapers forever? It’s so scary. Thank you for the message of hope!

  11. eof737 says:

    Progress does happen… and I’m happy for all the milestones T is making. I love the photos of him too… 🙂

  12. Denise says:

    Try the CD, “We All Live Together” by Steve and Greg. When I taught DD preschool the little folks loved it! Both Volume 1 and 2 are fun and the songs are about months of the year, days of the week, number rock, etc. (After 5 years of hearing Steve and Greg’s “Good Morning Song,” I was ready to sing something different ,but I couldn’t let S and G go, my students loved it!)

  13. chavisory says:

    Be prepared–things will keep coming. 🙂 I’m 29 and doing things I thought I’d never do.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and especially with such encouraging news! I love that you are still doing things you never thought you would. That brought me the best smile of my evening. Thanks. 🙂

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