It’s in There

I’m frustrated, insofar as I feel like we haven’t made any significant progress since mid-summer or so. Things are trending upward, yes, since the bad month of September. Still, I feel stalled. Anxious. I wonder whether we will meet our goal of making Martin neurotypical by age six or so. I wonder whether we will ever meet our goal.

Adrian is quick to point out that I may be too close to the situation. We have made progress, he says. Martin’s proprioceptive awareness has improved, to the point where he consistently looks downward when descending stairs. And just this weekend Martin demonstrative excellent pacing, walking at our speed while holding hands with us, stopping when we stopped.

That’s all true. But I see continued—even, perhaps, increased—echolalia. I see lower name responsiveness than over the summer. I even see some scratching and messy visits to the potty, signs of yeast overgrowth. Yeast! I thought we were done fighting yeast months ago.

In times like these, I take comfort where I can find it. Adrian and I had the opportunity last week to speak with Martin’s school instructors. His speech therapist said this: “Martin has his good days and his bad. Some mornings I feel like I’m not reaching him at all. Other mornings he comes in, greets me by name, and sits down, ready to work.” That reflects our experience at home. Some afternoons Martin flits from toy to book to floor to window, unable to settle, deaf to his own name. Other afternoons he plays contentedly with his Thomas trains assembled on the coffee table, indistinguishable (except for limited language) from a typically developing peer.

That’s the comfort. So long as Martin sometimes behaves like other three-year-olds, even if it happens only when the blue moon rises, I know he has that capability. I know that the attention and sociability and self-awareness exist within him, and that the only hurdle is discovering the combination to unlock those skills.

I gaze upon him and think: Neurotypicality. It’s in there.

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