Goodbye on His Own

Special education means special transportation. Martin does not have to wait at a bus stop. Instead, a bus (yes, it’s the short bus) picks him up at the end of our driveway and delivers him back after school.

(Hurray! We have a driveway, and we live on a dead-end lane. Waiting for the bus is so much easier than when we had neurotypical kids parading past.)

When Martin comes home, I walk to the end of the driveway to meet him, and once he’s off the bus we follow a little ritual. (According to the principles of RDI, I vary the ritual slightly each day, to facilitate Martin’s dynamic intelligence.) I ask him how his day went, take his heavy backpack—containing a lunch cooler with glass and/or stainless-steel containers, a stainless-steel drink holder, multiple notebooks for my communications with his classroom teachers and his therapists, and sometimes spare clothes—and hold his hand while we wait for the bus to turn around at the dead end. Then I remind Martin that we need to wave good-bye to the bus driver and the matron, and I count to three, and we wave together as the bus passes us and beeps.

Yesterday afternoon something new happened. As usual, Martin took his time to descend the three steps and land on the driveway; he still tends to look forward instead of at his feet, so big stairs can be challenging. He walked two steps toward me, as if to begin our ritual—

Then, instead of coming to me, he turned around by himself, waved through the still-open bus door, and called to the driver and matron, “Goodbye! Goodbye! See you tomorrow!”

This may be one of those occasions when I need to explain, for anyone not raising a child with autism, what the big deal is. The big deal is twofold: (1) Martin did something different, and (2) he displayed awareness of those around him and their needs. He realized that the driver and matron were leaving, and that people who are leaving expect goodbyes.

Martin says goodbye a lot. He does so after I say, “We’re going. Let’s say goodbye,” or, “What do we say now, Martin?” I cannot remember a previous occasion on which he wished someone goodbye unprompted. Will he do it again this afternoon? Maybe. Maybe not. Often a new skill emerges, disappears, and then at some later date shows up in regular use. I’m less worried about consistency right now. The key is that social awareness is within Martin. With every bit that his body heals, we unlock more of the intangible.

5 thoughts on “Goodbye on His Own

  1. Your son sounds so much like mine- similar in age and symptoms… almost carbon copy. I hope we both find that 2014 is a year of progress and joy. We just have to keep keeping on, right? Thank you again for your blog. I find it so helpful, giving me lots of fortitude to continue on my own hard work to recover my child. (I’m also seeing a homotoxicologist, doing therapy, did biomed, seeing another specialized OT similar to Anat Baniel, etc). Sending good thoughts to your family.

    • Thanks for your good thoughts. I appreciate every positive vibe that comes our way, and I return them in kind! Another thing in your comment caught my eye: You mention that you “did biomed.” Are you on a break from biomedical intervention, or have you abandoned that course? Any particular reasons that you would be willing to reveal? I’m always curious about the recovery paths other families choose, and why.

  2. Yes, we decided to take a break from biomed. After feeling like we were doing so much with the shots, supplements, HBOT, etc, etc, we just weren’t convinced that the slow progress we were seeing was anything more than maturity. A bad side effect from the HBOT was that our son became extremely anxious. We are seeing more progress with homotoxicology and hoping even more adding classical homeopathy. We are now searching again for a new good biomed doctor. Are you still happy with yours? Would you be willing to share info?

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