Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
So we’re back. And everyone I run into asks the same question. How was it? Did you learn anything at Koegel?
Before I answer, I feel the need to qualify a bit. The Koegel Autism Center conducts parent training workshops for families utilizing a method of ABA called Pivotal Response Training (PRT.) PRT is an empowering mechanism for families, mainly because it trains them to capture teachable moments in a natural environment. (Think FUN ABA…) And we all know generalization of skills is the ultimate goal.
I’ve personally witnessed more than one child with autism strongly improve utilizing this method. One little boy who started intervention at the same time Jack did, responded so well that his family moved across the state and enrolled him in a typical preschool …. and never disclosed his previous autism diagnosis.
So for them, it proved to be the magic bullet.
For us, not so much.
I was first trained in PRT a couple of years ago and we’ve been utilizing it at home ever since. I signed our family up for the workshop in California, hoping there was something we might be missing. Maybe Andy needed to sit through the training too? Maybe we were doing it wrong?
Turns out we really weren’t. The staff was wonderful, supportive, and confirmed that we are doing a great job with PRT at home.
An A+ performance.
But Jack still isn’t really talking.
And the name of the workshop we attended is First Words …
And they tell you in this workshop, for best outcomes, the ultimate goal is to get your kid talking by the time they turn five.
Come September, unless Jack begins to converse,
And that, my friends, is a tough deadline to swallow.
I attempted to swallow while I sat across the table at Chili’s, sipping my second margarita and assessing the situation with Superdad Andy. (It was the evening following the first day of the workshop in California and we were both way, way, way down.) The realization that we were really doing all we could do, and it wasn’t bringing about the normal results, hit us both hard. My hot tears bounced off the mosaic tiles as I looked at Andy and said it. That thing you just shouldn't say ...
“He’s never going to talk, is he?”
It’s like, all of the sudden, we both just knew. Realization seeped in.
But I suppose clarity helps you focus. Brings about perspective.
And clarity reminds me that the one thing I do know for sure is that, above all, we’re still a happy family. Life and love really is about so much more than words.
It’s about smiling at each other in the rear-view mirror while driving down the street.
It’s about a warm little hand, reaching out for mine.
It’s about a sweet-brown head on my shoulder.
It’s about pure joy, chasing each other down the beach until your lungs burn and your face hurts from smiling.
Those are the moments that keep us going.
Be I've got to honest. It would help to have more….
Words, that is…
Deadlines and realities aren’t quite enough for me.
I’m not giving up just yet.