Since his last birthday, a lot’s changed. The Monster’s attending a different school. He’s no longer in private therapy for speech and occupational therapy, mostly because of how much the work for that’s been increased at his regular school. And we’re seeing, at least, a little bit of progress on those fronts.
Some of his socialization has improved as well, since his seventh birthday. I’m not always confident as to how he’s going to respond… but we do see little bits and pieces of his wanting to interact coming out more often. He understands the idea, clearly, the idea of a joke, of something being funny, and how that usually means sharing it with someone. He initiates interactions with some people – family, a couple of familiar faces – and while those might be fleeting, it’s better than he was doing.
And going into this next school year, we’re still working on a lot to try to catch him up.
He’s still not speaking or expressing himself as much as anyone would really hope for him. He has his break-through moments – if I ask him if Sammy’s a dog, he’s starting to respond with “Sammy is a cat” more often than he will with the single word “Cat” – but a lot of his communication’s still the single-word prompt followed by us trying to pull more out of him. He tends to have trouble still with proper volume, often murmuring or completely blurring words to the point of incoherence. We’re in constant contact with his teachers about how to do things to encourage him to speak at proper volume with enunciation, and it’s something we’ll concentrate on this year.
Toilet training hasn’t gotten much better either. We’ve only lately just started with night time training, which is going awfully (in terms of my sleep), but we just still think it’s the matter of getting it to click the way that daytime training has… and so hopefully this year, right?
And we do still have the meltdowns to cope with. They’re coming and going, with weeks often before we’ll have a whole swarm of them… but it’s still more good than bad, and that’s a positive thing.
But look at where we are. Today, the wife’s at his school with cupcakes for the birthday party for him, and in a few weeks, we’ll have our annual BBQ for him. He’s going to have four weeks of summer camp, bookended around an extra month of school (Gateway is an 11-month school). And in two more years, we have to start thinking about a date for his Bar Mitzvah, which means that we have about five years to start figuring out how to get him up to speed so that he can have it…
We’ve come so far, with yet so much further still to go.
Happy birthday, Monster. We love you.