School pictures were this morning, and classrooms were mixed up, so I found myself with knees close to my chest as I sat in a too-small kindergarten chair and listened to a team of psychologists and specialists finally supply me with hope. As they lined out the scores and explained numbers, percentages, and the AIM program he would be in, tears of relief and joy rolled down my cheeks.
For all of Beanies life, I’ve known something was different. He was perhaps 6 weeks old when I first took him to the doctor- nothing terribly particular wrong, but nothing terribly typical, either. He couldn’t suck well, cried almost constantly, and nothing that soothed other babies made him happy. Even changing his diapers was alarming to him. Bathing and riding in the car, rocking and swinging, music and bouncing on my shoulder- all these things made him panic; I would weep with him, as I wondered how to soothe and calm this baby who was such a mystery.
Anyone who has a spectrum kid knows the journey we have been on. You second guess yourself. The pediatrician tells you it’s teething, or gas, or allergies, or growing pains, or colic, or you just need to be more consistent, you need to discipline more, you need to cut out wheat, or sugar, or red dye… You look for answers, you try a million things, and you cry. A lot.
So on that day you sit in that kindergarten chair, and three specialists tell you their test results show that not only can they help, but that they are uniquely trained in helping children like yours, you cry again. You cry sweet tears of relief, relief so big your breath catches in your chest and you cannot focus for a moment. It’s not allergies, it’s not wheat, red dye, sugar or your parenting style- your child is special, his mind is wired differently than a typical person, and these teachers are trained to help him learn how to use his gifts. The gratitude is overwhelming.
We are learning a new language. We are learning to throw “normal’ out the window, to embrace the spectrum of who and what kids with sensory and perceptive differences can do. We are learning. We are moving in the right direction. This morning I was given a little piece of the puzzle that is my youngest son.