Folks, to whoever reads this blog, autism makes many loathe benchmarks. (I.e) your toddler should be doing....may be doing....can possibly be doing....on a rainy Mondays of an odd numbered month of a leap year your toddler could possibly.... As the months progress, and still many benchmarks go unchecked, excuses start being made. She once said something and made sustained eye contact. Then you are told stories by worried relatives of hey everything is ok my child didn't say anything for a long time and now....whew wont shut up. But you begin to realize that something is not quite right. Denial and excuse making turns into reluctant acceptance of despair.
My daughter is very smart. Sophie is a gem. These last couple of weeks, we have sat and listened to her speech. She is really exploding in terms of her conversational skills. Whether it is asking for what she wants, reading words, saying "I love you.", singing, or having conversations with her Barbie dolls, she is really using her language. Now we are able to satisfy her needs and really get to know her sense of humor more and more. Perhaps my favorite thing she says outside of the obvious is the devilish twinkle and half grin she gets when she asks for "chocolate sauce". Sounds pretty typical no. Taking a look back 4 months back, 12 months, Im thrilled with how far she has come with eye contact and speech. That makes me even more optimistic for the future. And optimism for a parent with special needs is like gold, a precious commodity.
She may not be "typically developing", but she is awesome. Her accomplishments make me the proudest papa out there. So I've been thinking back to the benchmarks we missed and the emotional wear and tear that we endured. I realize that Sophie may not be developing at the rate the book says, but she IS getting there. Maybe she will develop more slowly in some areas and quicker in others. With the proper therapies and some dedication, you all will see what an amazingly bright and wonderful child that we are blessed with seeing daily.