COMMUNITY BRAG PAGE

**

**

I recently wrote a bit of a rant about a particular brand of yearly family newsletters. It went something like this ..

And then there are the family newsletters. No, not yours – I love getting yours. Yours is different. But you know the ones, right? The ones that tell us how little Piper is speaking twelve languages now that she’s in third grade and how darling Cooper narrowly missed next year’s Olympic team in water polo. They thought about appealing the age limit, but decided to wait until he turns six. Apparently Piper can’t decide between the eight sports at which she excels (Thank goodness there are seven days in a week and we can fit in two on Sundays!) and Cooper just isn’t sure if he wants to continue to play the violin in the city symphony. (Second chair is just tough on a five year-old’s ego and it really cuts into rehearsal time for Shakespeare in the Park.)

I went on to say that

Our news just doesn’t fit as well into a chatty golly-gee-ain’t-we-grand letter. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have news. It’s just that I’m not sure that the stuff that’s HUGE to me translates into newsworthy to my family and friends.

But you – you get it, don’t you? You know why small moments like the ones we had last night aren’t small at all. You know why I want to shout them from the rooftops. And you know why I don’t. You know why I keep them here, where they’re safe – treasured – celebrated. And why it takes 365 newsletters (or oh, say .. this blog) to really tell you about our year.

And then I wrote about how Brooke had spontaneously kissed me the night before and then how she’d held my hand (my WHOLE hand – not just a pinky!) the ENTIRE walk back to the car. Small things to some, but not to those who walk in our shoes.

Well, my brilliant cyber-friend, Neil came up with a great idea that day. He suggested that we create our own newsletter. A brag-fest, if you will – where we all could shout our children’s accomplishments (and ours!) from the rooftops – in this sacred place of understanding and support.

And so, here it is. The Community Brag Page.

The idea is this – when you have something that you want to share, you can leave it in the comments on this page. When you need a little inspiration, you can come on back and read through what others have written or read back over your own and see how far you’ve come.

Feel free to talk to each other here – it is an open forum. I will moderate any comments that I don’t feel are respectful and supportive, but otherwise this space is yours.

Since I can’t wait to get started, I have relocated some of your comments from the original post.

Happy bragging!

***

because it is a sense of community that makes the good times sweeter for the sharing and the hard times more bearable for knowing that  we’re not alone

***

ed note: I apologize that I am no longer able to send individual e-mail responses to the brags, but please do check back here for comments. And I encourage you to respond to each other as well!!

820 thoughts on “COMMUNITY BRAG PAGE

  1. Brenda writes ..

    Dear friends and family: Jack is now 5 1/2. He missed his Daddy for the first time ever this year. And we couldn’t be happier.

    Corrie writes …

    Last week I told my husband how Jonathan got himself and Faith a bowl of ice cream on his own. Scott repeated what I said in disbelief. I said, “I know. It’s hard to explain to someone why we should be excited about an almost 10 year old getting his own bowl of ice cream.”

    Marie writes ..

    I want to add a story to the newsletter, as a provider. Last week my little guy opened up his favorite book (“Old MacDonald had a Farm”) and independently made (approximations of) animal noises, appropriate to each page. My favorite is the piggy’s snort! I almost cried.

    Michelle O’Neil writes ..

    I remember very clearly when Riley first kissed me. I didn’t realize she never did, until she did. I was always all over her and she accepted, you know? She never initiated though. Now we get spontaneous hugs a lot.

    Forget Piper.Our victories are so much sweeter. Our lives are richer.

    Ang writes ..

    I want to add to this awesome thread. My girl Piper (who has severe sensory issues with her head, unlike the Piper in your story) has pushed her limit and her issues by taking a shower before swim lessons and getting her head wet (which she detests). Major victory for her!!! Our kids rule!!

    Lisa 63 writes ..

    I would have to say the biggest accomplishment for my son was ‘moving up’ from a center based program to a district placed one. He’s still in a self-contained class run by BOCES, but he mainstreams for art, music, gym, library, and he EATS Hot Lunch in the cafeteria! When I asked about gym, he’s in a 2-story gym with 50 other kids – and he had no sensory issues! He settled right in to his new school, and we have seen so much growth in just the few months he’s been there.

    Christine writes ..

    I love that my (borderline Asperger’s) son now gives me kisses when we snuggle at bedtime. These small gestures of affection are priceless! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Rhemashope writes ..

    Here’s mine: Rhema is transitioning to a new school. Her last day at her old school was today. As she got off the bus for the last time, I told her to say goodbye. She looked the bus driver in the face (as if she somehow knew this was her last day) and said, “Bye Bye.”

    Drama Mama writes ..

    Look at our village! Miss M complained of her after care teacher’s lack of facial expression…and is making it her personal mission to read faces…and to “be as expressive as possible”…we have our own Robin Williams here doing nightly shows…

    Jenn E writes ..

    Devin now deigns to eat Fig Newtons! OH and he only smacks Lila every other time she cries and carries on!

    Redheadmomma writes ..

    Here is ours: our beautiful Noah is doing well enough that my husband and I could leave him & his sister with my parents for an overnight, restful-to-my-soul amazing winetasting trip with my husband. We needed that *so* badly.

    Cathy M writes ..

    My son came down with conjunctivitis on Monday. My husband dutifully brought home the eye ointment and asked me skeptically, “Any idea how we’re going to do this?” Dripping with sarcasm I said, “Yeah, we just explain calmly that we need to put goo in his eyes to make them better. And then we do it.” Husband didn’t hear the sarcasm. “OK, let’s go!” he replied. So we calmly explained, and son calmly and patiently let us cover his eyes with goo. He cried a bit, but I think I cried more – from relief, from surprise, from joy! And for 3 days, 3 times a day, he has been compliant, calm and easy about it. Amazing!! That’s what my holiday letter would say!

    *m* writes …

    My son had a brief solo in his school jazz band’s concert. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it.

    Here’s to many more of these moments for all of us in the year to come.

    Beth writes ..

    Here’s one more. On Saturday, my 16-month-old hugged her big sister, and for the FIRST TIME EVER, my 3 and a half year old spectrum daughter HUGGED HER BACK!!! Miracles are everywhere.

    Therocchronicles writes ..

    I have one to add to the spectrum newsletter: My son ate an entire pear WITH THE PEEL on it the other night and then he went on to eat an apple with the peel too!

    Not one of my friends with typi kids would get the significance of that!

    Mary Woodward writes ..

    Santa came early for me too this year. My son Christopher who has been having a terrible 4 months (and I mean TERRIBLE) seems to have snapped out of it. Woke up on Monday and beamed his beautful radiant smile at us for the first time in forever. Whatever was plaguing him has ceased and of course we have no idea why (diet, season change, gi issues???). He has been coming up to my husband and I and signing hug and smiling up at us and looking into our eyes. Who needs cashmere when you can have that?

    Joy writes ..

    Its right up there with my kiddo adding YES to his reportiore a few weeks ago. HUGE shift, one little word.

    Jasmin writes ..

    To add to my own Spectrum Parents Newsletter : Wyatt and I went on a sleigh ride (pulled by horses, no less) last weekend. I even got a picture of him smiling on it. It was the best.

    Deb writes ..

    I’ll add to the “spectrum parents newsletter” : My son tried a “new” food last week….a different brand of bagel. (He rejected it…but he tried it!)

    Russ writes ..

    “In August, I was able to get a hockey helmet on my son’s head for the first time without him struggling and insisting it come off immediately, so he was actually able to start playing his favorite sport.”

  2. My now 4-year old son with a mild ASD started ABA/AVB therapy in November 2008. He went from being completely devoid of functional language to being a little chatterbox. Most important to me, though, is that he finally tells us that he loves us, with accompanying hugs and kisses. It was worth the 3-year wait. In fact, yesterday he told me that he loves me “around the moon and back again.” He must have been listening to all of those books his mom and I read to him at night.

  3. My 5 1/2 year old son opened most of his holiday gifts with family, and played appropriately for a while before disappearing. He can tie his shoe!! (if you bribe him and have 20 minutes, but I’m so excited about it that i can barely explain it.)

  4. My daughter is starting to form words that mean things now. Like, my personal favorite, I want the Big Squeeze! (She starts all her sentences with “I want the…”) (which means a hug). It tickles my heart to know end when she does that and I didn’t even need to ask for a hug or kiss. This by far is my most favorite milestone.

  5. My daughter is 13 and loves Broadway shows. At her latest I took her to, ‘Mamma Mia!’ she sat through the whole show, stimming and humming every tune, yelled ‘Bravo!’ at the curtain call, but the best past came last.
    When she was very little she didn’t want to be hugged. Instead she would press her forehead against mine to say, in her way, that she loved me. I would press my forehead against hers throughout every day when she was little.
    After the show, she said to me ‘Come here.’
    ‘What babe?’
    She pressed her forehead against mine.

    • I just found this page, and while I know its almost a year later, I wanted yu to know your post made me cry. My Saf does the same thing with the forehead pressure “hug”….how beautiful!

      • I’m just reading this, and crying as well. My daughter does the same thing. I got to take my daughter to see The Nutcracker and was curious about how it would go over. She was in a trance the entire show, and you could see, through her body language, that she was really responding to the highs and lows of the music. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. Thanks for sharing!

  6. My sons – my sons who are terrified of things that bark – are living in the same house as a D-O-G. One of them even PLAYS with her & the other at least knows her name and no longer cries when she barks.

  7. My 6 yo son has made so much progress this year in his language but has still not shown any interest in other kids. Until today- with his therapists prompting he went up to 4! different kids and asked if they wanted to race. 3 of the 4 denied his request but hey- he asked. What a great New Years present.

  8. My neophobic 6 year old ate an omelette in kindergarten yesterday morning! Her teacher had prepared her staple peanut butter and jelly sandwich but had the good sense to just stand there and say nothing as Maya headed for the omelettes! She started eating them at home a few weeks ago (which took no small amount of persuasion, tears, and even more bribery), but this is the first time she’s ever eaten anything besides a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at school – and it came completely from her, not from anyone one else.

    • Omelette’s today, gourmet foods in the future..hurrah. My 13 year old ASD son recently convinced his friend to branch out from his three dinner items to include pizza and mashed potatoes.

  9. We painted the basement today.

    Many corners were gnawed – we could see teeth marks where plaster and paint had been bitten away by our girl and her anxiety. All the way up to three or four feet high.

    2009 – 4 new teeth, no new bite marks.

    2010 – Freshly spackled and painted walls; A clean canvas..

  10. My daughter is putting 2 words together, today she finished her puffs she was eating and put the bowl on her head and said “pretty hat” over and over again. By God I want to go buy her 100 bowls! My older spectrum daughter has made a gods honest friend in school this year he comes over for playdates and yes they just play video games together but they talk about the video games it warms my heart everytime he calls the house.

  11. My 12 year old (NT, but w/learning disabilities and lots of anxieties, and generally immature) told me “happy birthday” yesterday. Voluntarily, no prompts, just came over and hugged me and said it. First time ever!

    Jan

  12. A couple of weeks ago our Madelyn wanted to ‘try’ going to her big brother’s school concert. We’ve tried it many times before, and either mom, dad, or one of her older sisters usually ends up waiting outside with her. Too many other kids, too loud – you all know the drill. But how can we not try it when she’s willing? So we went armed with the usual – headphones, chewy tubes, squeeze toys, etc. She didn’t need any of it! She sat on my lap flapping away and singing jingle bells (even long after the song had ended)like a pro! It was the first time since she was born that we all enjoyed a concert together as a family. HUGE! And if that hadn’t happened, my next biggest news would have been that Madelyn, too, ate a pear with the skin on! I LOVE that you all get what a big deal that is! Thanks for this, from the bottom of my heart.

  13. stella, who has never been affectionate or verbally loving, has (out of nowhere) started saying, “mom, i love you sooo much. can i give you a big hug and a big kiss?” she says it in a scripty kind of way, but it makes me swoon every single time. and she’s started singing!!! her rendition of rudolph (with the echoing “like a lightbulb” and such) made me cry with sheer joy… jess, i love you for doing this. i’m a single mama, so to be able to share my breakthroughs with even one person who gets it is truly truly priceless.

  14. Ryan learned to tie his shoes right before Thanksgiving! I couldn’t be prouder. He even asked Santa for tie shoes this year! Another major breakthrough….he met my brother’s girlfriend for the first time tonight and spoke to her AND let her play his DS. (he doesn’t let anyone play) I couldn’t be prouder. Thank you so much for giving me a place to show how proud I am and where others “get it”. :) Happy New Year to ALL! May next year bring more steps forward, more breakthroughs, more moments that we will cherish forever! :)

  15. All:

    Your children amaze and inspire me. When my own daughter was identified so many years ago, I alas did not have these success stories to sustain me.

    Your stories of hope, of faith, and of courageous pursuit will hopefully spur others onward and upward.

    Our children have limitless potential. Thank you for letting the world know.

    Keep singing your song.

  16. I am touched beyond belief by your stories. They are brave and real and beautiful and I am so incredibly proud to share in them with you. This is a gift, my friends. Your children are amazing.

    Happy New Year

  17. We are vactioning with our version of Piper’s Family and “Piper’s” parents have an argument, with Piper’s dad shouting like a lunatic at his wife, in front of our family and their kids and my son on the spectrum turns to me and says “dat naughty”. Noone heard him in all that chaos, but I smiled at him and said “yes, you’re right”. Even re recognized that this “perfect family” was a farce and that the yelling and screaming match was wrong.

  18. We went as a family to see a musical production called The Drummer Boy. It is a huge extravaganza with over 100 percussionist and is so popular that you have to get in line over 1 hour before. When the doors open, you have to claim your seat quickly and then wait again for the show. Afterwords, we went out for dinner.

    I can’t even believe I wrote that, much less actually did it. We had no escape plan and no special accommodations except some snacks and a water bottle in my purse (that we didn’t even use!!) What a wonderful, just every day average, night.

  19. (Just wanted to say that aroundtheisland up there is really me – I’m trying to start a separate blog for my photography site haven’t quite figured out how to keep my two different online personas distinct.)

  20. My 15-year-old son, who did not start talking until age 5, flew unaccompanied on a plane today! I cried at the terminal when I picked him up – who would have thought that the day would come when he’d be able to do that?!

  21. Last week at a family Chrismtas party, my 3 year old son with PDD actually came up to me and said “Swing Mom!” because he knew it was getting way to overwhelming for him. It was the first time he ever initiated it himself and of course we had no swing. So I grabbed my sister and we took my son into my aunt’s kitchen and made a swing with our arms and swung him. And after 3 days worth of prep, he did not touch one train ornament on my uncle’s Christmas tree. A HUGE feat for my train-obsessed son.

  22. This is such a great idea – thank you Jess and Russ!

    We had our first play date ever with a friend (and yes, my son called him a FRIEND) from school over this vacation week. My son is just so anxious about mixing his safe, structured and routine school world into the real world – so birthday parties, school events and play dates have never happened. This was HUGE!

    And then tonight, he hugged and kissed (spontaneously, without prompting) his little brother…for no reason at all…just because. What a beautiful amazing sight for his mom!

    Happy New Year to all – here’s to a year of many amazing milestones and successes, big and small, for all our kids.

  23. The other day, I was putting my youngest son down for a nap when the phone rang. My 7 year old son, pdd-nos and formerly diagnosed with verbal apraxia, answered the phone. He normally answers only when it’s Daddy calling (he can read the name on the caller ID), but after a moment, I could tell he wasn’t talking to Daddy. The baby was on the verge of falling asleep, and I held my breath, waiting for F to come charging up the stairs and into the room. But he didn’t. I heard him tell the person calling that I was napping the baby! I finally got the baby into the crib, and came running downstairs. He told me it was my friend Tasha calling and that she was nice.

    A few things that amaze me about my amazing boy:
    1. I hadn’t told him that I was putting the baby down for a nap–he realized it on his own in that moment!!!
    2. And he realized that coming upstairs would wake the baby!
    3. And he gave me a message!
    4. When I called Tasha back, she told me that he was amazing on the phone–that he asked who she was, and THEN let her know his name. And he asked her if she had a nice Christmas!
    5. Just a few years ago, F had only a few words that his teachers/ clinicians could understand, never mind strangers. It is incredible to me that has gained so many skills, and has developed so much confidence!

    thank you for creating this space–it’s wonderful to feel all of us bursting with pride!!

  24. I sense a daily place of hope and encouragement…or perhaps a book – these are just to precious and powerful NOT to share….
    Happy New Year all…

  25. I vote for a book!!! I’m not a mom and I don’t have anyone close to me with special needs. I am SO inspired by you ALL and the stories of your children. Thank you for sharing with the general public!!

    Follower of Fully Caffeinated.
    M in Vancouver

  26. My daughter, age 4.5, has learned how to point! She can point to food to indicate she wants more!

    Put that in your pipe, Piper, and smoke it! :)

    (Thanks, Jess.)

  27. it is absolute HEAVEN reading this stories. each and every one of these kids conquers so much every day – there is so very much to be proud of!

  28. I sit here, with the laughter of three young girls in another room. Ruth is making strides in being able to ‘handle more than one friend’ at a time. Taking turns can still be hard, but the laughter is part of a “Connect Four” game, which means she must.

  29. Jess, what a fabulous idea!

    I was busy in another room when I heard a little voice, John’s, say “Mommy. Mommy?” At first I thought it was Sam but when I went to investigate, there he was, halfway up the stairs trying to get past our (old and sometimes ornery) cat. “Mommy. Cat.” MOMMY — he called me by name!

    If that were not enough, today he was able to string three thoughts together: “Go Mommy’s car, library, Good Night Sesame?” No mistaking what he wanted, what an amazing day.

    We were really anxious about Sam going to typical kindergarten, but half-way through the year, he is doing 2nd grade work AND he has friends there who like and appreciate him just the way he is. Hooray!

  30. My son has made such great strides in the 6 months since his diagnosis. He said his first full sentence “Wesley is all done!.” He colors with crayons and chalk. He’s blowing kisses. And even though he doesn’t look me in the eye when he does it, he signs “I love you.” He’s 2 and a half and though we have so far to go, he’s making me proud every day.

    Thank you for this. These are the stories we all need to keep us going.

  31. Imaginary play!! At 11 years old, I had almost given up but my daughter is actually playing with her Barbies. They walk, talk, have tea parties. It’s really quite amazing.

  32. This is such a wonderful idea, thank you for starting it! My youngest has autism, in the 2 years since his diagnosis he has gone from being close to 18 months delayed in his language development to being in his expected age range for almost all of his speech! He said ‘I love you’ in May of 2008 – almost 6 months after his diagnosis! It was the day before Mother’s Day and I will never forget the depth of joy those three words evoked. He says it every day, and gives me hugs and kisses, which he calls ‘gentle-ing’.

  33. Barbie tea parties, new words, friends and foods choices beyond the norm. I am so glad we have a reason to celebrate!
    My 13 year old with ASD is putting his glasses by the door so he doesn’t forget when he goes to school, and he has taken his backpack to school everyday. He has also started to occasionally brush his teeth without me asking. WOW
    My 10 year old with ADHD is having his first sleepover with a friend tonight.
    I cried as I read through each comment I wanted to tell every single person how proud I am of their children.n I know how hard we strive for each milestone. I know how impossible simple things seem. I understand what it means to celebrate over the smallest thing. Thank you
    A mom who gets it

  34. My 5-1/2 year old son has enormous difficulty with haircuts. A few weeks ago when I picked him up at school, his aide was really upset. She told me she had turned away from my son momentarily and in that brief moment (we all now how fast our kids are, right?) he had used his scissors (safety scissors, of course) to cut a good sized chunk of his hair. She was floored by my response to this. I was absolutely thrilled. He tolerated the noise of the scissors snipping his hair and the the tugging that went along with it. He now has a very lopsided haircut and I’m delighted with it!

  35. This is really lovely. Thanks to Drama Mama for sending me over here.

    My letter would say…

    Henry (10-years-old, PDD-NOS) is thriving at his charter school for children on the autism spectrum and their typical peers. He does homework every night with no argument and scored 100% on his last spelling test before winter break. Best of all he is treated with respect there, and gains confidence daily. Who knows what 2010 will bring?!

    Thanks to all of you in this community. I feel your support every day.

  36. My son FINALLY (he’s 6) started using the toilet. I love that people here will understand the frustration and the joy around this event! Too many times I’ve hung back in the circle of moms in my neighborhood who are discussing toilet-training their 2 y/o’s, because I wouldn’t want to admit that my child was twice that age, pooping on the floor, and then using it as fingerpaint…le sigh.

    This is an awesome idea!

    • My son was 7 so I can totally relate. Everyone that knew we were having issues with the potty thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. If they only knew how difficult it can be. You don’t understand it unless you live with it. My son does fine with the potty now at 8, but he hates the sound of flushing so he has to cover his ears. I am just happy he is finally trained I was starting to think it would never happen.

  37. I just got first day of school pictures from my son’s preschool teacher. He started a new preschool in our district in January, when he aged out of our Early Intervention program. The preparation was intense. Multiple visits to the school, meetings with each teacher. A picture book and social story for the SCHOOL BUS. (A school bus for a 3 year old??? with severe anxiety?? and no aide on the bus?? Oh yes, that is what my week has been like.)

    Anyway today I got pictures of my baby. Sitting on the carpet at circle time, raising his hand like the other kids. Sitting IN THE MIDDLE of the group. Sitting at a small table with two other boys in close proximity working on a project. Drawing with a marker at the easel with the teacher. I am just so proud of him I could burst.

    Six months ago, none of this would have been possible. He would never have been that close proximity to other kids, let alone have been able to focus on a project at the same time!!

    So so so so proud.

  38. My daughter (Asperger’s, age 6) had a playdate over the Christmas break with one of her friends from our social skills group (who also has Asperger’s). Her mom and I went into the playroom to find them playing a game of Hi Ho Cherry O- spontaneously- on their own- and taking turns beautifully. They went to to collaboratively build a “Magic Machine” out of My Little Ponies and winter outerwear.

    I was so happy I could have cried.

  39. Can I brag about my other kid for a minute? Living with a sister who’s got a harder than average path to walk has really taught him empathy. At his parent-teacher conference the other day his teacher told me that when she announced they were going to be adding a new child to the class, one who was being mainstreamed out of a special ed classroom, my son’s hand shot up to volunteer to partner with him to help him get adjusted to his new setting.

    I’m so proud I could burst.

    PS My daughter spontaneously tried cucumbers last night! (Didn’t like them, but tried her three bites to be sure. Hurray!)

    • Of course you can! Of course of course of course! You may notice I do just a wee bit of that myself! What a wonderful thing to hear about your child. The siblings never cease to amaze me. Thanks for sharing!

  40. Pingback: Teen Autism » Blog Archive » The Little Things

  41. I dropped my girl off at school today splotchy faced and crying bitterly. She wanted to ‘go to the lakehouse’ (now) and was struggling with the concepts of time and waiting. (I empathize with the latter). Anyway, she was really, genuinely sad.

    I worried for her day. In the past, even a small hiccup in the morning has thrown off the remainder of the day.

    But today, she pulled it together – quickly! And had an exceptionally great rest of the day.

  42. My letter would say:

    Quin is starting to have *brief conversations. With the echolalia I was never sure that we would ever be able to have a conversation with him. He has also started playing games with me. We like Quinlan under the blanket best. He runs up the stairs *goofy giggle and all* and hides under his blankets on his bed when we are getting out clothes for school. It is my job to squish the blankets and say… ” Iknow he came in here. Where did he go? HERE HE IS UNDER THE BLANKETS!!!” He giggles the entire time, It makes my heart glad. I am also seeing some sibling torture going on… he (who has always ignored his littlest sister) is now picking on her terribly, taking her dolls and making her scream. I know most people would hate this. but to me it shows me that he sees her and understands enough to know what would set her off. *giggle… is it terrible for me to think this is funny? it is harmless and she does it to him..*

    • ha! i wrote a post a while back on how excited i was that brooke had lied .. lol! it’s all perspective, ain’t it? congratulations on the milestones!

  43. “Can you please stop talking? I am trying to watch my show”. That’s what T (5 yrs) said to my husband and I this evening. The manners! The calmness! The USE OF HIS WORDS over plain squealing or hitting out. This is magnificent, wonderful and made us giddy. Ah, sweet progress.

  44. We made some major progress with shoe-tying this past weekend. Not sure if I’m more excited about that or the fact that it was my son that told us he wanted to learn because he knows other kids his age know how to do it. He breaks it down into about a 14-step process and goes meticulously through all the steps. It can take 5 minutes, but he doesn’t get frustrated and at the end, there is a knot!

  45. My five year old gave up her pacifier last weekend. I couldn’t believe it! It happened by accident and she did it! I thought she would have it until she was 10! It was her only self-soothing thing. It’s amazing how the little things mean so much.

  46. Can I join in form across the pond? My youngest (age 11 next month) said “Mummy mum mum, nice!” today to my face, really looking in my eyes.

    thank you Jess for the forum to vent my pride appropriately!! :D

  47. We attended a local support group fun night at an indoor park today. As Jonathan and I took time out for a snack, one of the other Dads asked his name. Of course, non-verbal Jonathan didn’t respond. Then the man said “hey, give me 5!”.

    AND HE DID! even did the up-high-down-low part!! I didn’t even know he KNEW that! Amazing

  48. My kiddo is excited to go to a birthday party tomorrow. Yes, excited. My incredibly anxious child with debilitating social fears is EXCITED about going to a party…with other kids…wow.

  49. My Logan just continues to be happy. He is very smiley. He loves Yo Gabba Gabba – Dances in excitement when it comes on.

    He also loves it when we play the following game:

    Eye Winker
    Nose Blower
    Mouth Muncher
    Chin Chomper

    Tickle, Tickle Tickle….

    By the time you get Chin Chomper out he usually has a big smile on his face.

    He is 3.5 years old….

  50. Thank you for the opportunity to share my happiness. Who else would understand?

    Every morning I drop my son off at the high school and he walks in ALL BY HIMSELF! and the same happens at pick up! (Needless to say he has an aide waiting for him inside, but so what!) For those brief moments HE IS JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! And I know how important that is to him. I want to to shout to everyone “Look at that! Look at my son walkiing into school!”
    I am so proud of him!

  51. Pingback: brenda « diary of a mom

  52. Yesterday I was told by Diego’s pre-school teachers that he seems to be attempting to play with other kids. I cried, it seems all of the work just might be paying off.

  53. Our eight year old son Andrew actually scored two baskets during his basketball game today! He’s been integrated with the regular city leagues for two years, but most of the time is a bit lost. But late this season, something just clicked and he’s able to hang with it! He does get really upset when they lose, but we’re working hard on sportsmanship issues. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  54. My little guy was playing in his room with his little brother and I was downstairs. When I went up to his room, he opened the door and spontaneously said, ‘Hi Mommy, I love you!’ with a huge smile on his face. I was melting right then and there.

  55. Our eight year old son Andrew actually scored two baskets during his basketball game today! He’s been integrated with the regular city leagues for two years, but most of the time is a bit lost. But late this season, something just clicked and he’s able to hang with it! He does get really upset when they lose, but we’re working hard on sportsmanship issues. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  56. We’re on her 4th lost tooth. Pie finaly calls it a missing tooth instead of a loose one! That girl and her vocabulary! YES!

  57. My 5-1/2 year old is happily eating celery WITH peanut butter! Never mind that it took months of work with his OT…… He also told a little white lie this week and I couldn’t be happier about it!

  58. Awesome Brag Book, Jess! I can recall so many similar to the ones I read scrolling down…..one in particular was wearing pants that fastens (vs elastic waist)

    Another big one I’d given up on by 8 yrs old was riding a 2-wheel bike;

    And just last week, Reid (15) stayed in church through the benediction, then (with the iphone reward) went straight to the car to wait for us. Good to anchor and celebrate these!

  59. This story is more about the exhausting “process” we all face fighting for education and supports for our children. My son, atteMatt, will be transitioning from elementary school to middle school next year. In a PPT last week, I sat “alone” at a conference table surrounded by ten people representing the schools in their various roles. My husband, bless him, was on a speaker phone, calling in from three time zones away to participate in this meeting. My cheeks burned the entire time as I sat a listened to all that is wrong with my child. Near the end of the meeting, a comment was made regarding the size(as in volume) of Matt’s file “and, ha, ha, ha….that’s only HALF of it!” I felt like I had been slapped.
    Fast forward 24 hours, my husband (just off the red-eye from the West Coast) and I are visiting a private, special needs school we are considering for Matt. After our tour of this fabulous place, the discussion turned to forms, paperwork, etc. Still stinging from the comment about my son’s file, I shared the story with the teacher who had given us the tour. She smiled and said, “You should be PROUD of the size of his file. It shows that you are good, proactive parents!”
    A different perspective from someone who “gets it”, and those lemons had become bountiful lemonade.
    (sorry this is so long)

  60. My son Sean (almost 3) has STOPPED SCRATCHING US WHEN HE’S UPSET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Myself, my son and daughter, Sean’s teachers and therapists would all like a round of applause and a standing ovation please!

    Thank you, good night!

  61. My son Seth, who will be 10 in May, walked through the kitchen on Friday and announced that he was going to take a shower. And he did! He cleaned himself. He washed his hair. He got out in less than 15 minutes and he dressed himself for bed. He properly and independently performed every single step in the process. Victory!

  62. Please know how much these stories help a mom who is new at this!! I long for the day (and I know it will come) when my daughter all on her own gives me a kiss or tells me she loves me. That is the one thing I wish for. Your stories also remind me that it is me who needs to change way more than my daughter. Coming soon…..a brag. I am headed home to watch for one tonight!! Thanks for the positives.

    • The kisses and hugs will come ~ know it and believe it!! My son (3.5yrs, PDD-NOS) doesn’t give kisses on his own, but he does give kisses and it just melts my heart. He recently learned how to hug ~ I had to work on this with him, but he finally got it!! I still have to ask for a hug, but I get one every time ~ it’s sheer bliss!!

      You will have many accomplishments to brag about before you know it!! :)

  63. A lot of these little stories made me cry…. Yesterday, my 8 yr. old (with autism) said, “Hi, Miss Griggs,” when he saw his teacher at school, and both she and I were awestruck, and as I drove away, I got teary-eyed. Today, my 6 yr. old (with Asperger’s) talked with peers/friends at lunch: “Hey, you guys! Are you excited about Easter?” (So much better than his past topics: “Do you know how to keep safe during a tornado?”) So much work goes into these little successes, or should I say, HUGE successes!

  64. My five year old put on his pajamas all by himself for the past two nights! He also made it through an entire car ride without saying, “Did you know that monster trucks….(insert 10 minute rythmic nonsensical monster truck story here).

  65. The entire story is too long to post here but this is the general idea
    “…Diego made it through the entire dinner happy and smiling. He also gave one of the folks at dinner a brief lesson on his whales when she mistakenly called them sharks..lol”
    YAY!!!
    If you want to, the entire post can be read on my blog
    http://www.sonidoinquieto.wordpress.com

  66. My 3 year old son Jack (diagnosed with autism last august) peed in the toilet today at preschool. I am so happy I could burst. I want to tell the world. For most people this step is a normal part of going from toddler to preschooler but for my Jack this is a HUGE accomplishment and HUGE step. I am so proud of him and I just wanted to share. :) Maggie

  67. My 8 year old son Tristan asked to snuggle last night as we watched his favorite TV show, America’s Funniest Videos. It only lasted 5 minutes…but it was one of the best moments in my life!!!

  68. So we were at the ice cream store the other day. I asked Koi (who is 4) if she wanted “chocolate, vanilla, or berry….. chocolate, vanilla, or berry.” She replied (with conviction) “berry!” Of course she didn’t actually eat it- she had more fun smearing it on the tables… but hey, it’s a start!

  69. For the first time in 6 months, my son had a perfect behavior day. Perfect at school, perfect at daycare and didn’t say an inappropriate word or comment all night. There is a light at the end of our tunnel.

  70. Piper corrected MY pronoun the other day when I mistakenly referred to her stuffed animal as a “he”. I have been correcting hers for years and I love this turn about!

  71. Hannah (10 years old) is in a community production of Annie, Jr. She’s a New Yorker so gets to walk on, sing a song, and walk off. Her older sister is with her as well as another older girl. She made it through the entire rehearsal with only one minor incident and, more importantly, without me in the room (I was down the hall trying to read a book)!

  72. I am happy to report that Miss Kyleigh had her official preschool eval the other day and other then the meltdown she had when we walked in the door she sat and worked with the child study team and showed them how brilliant she is!! (Yes I am a little biased but what can I tell ya I am her Mom!) Much better then the last visit when she layed on the floor and pretended to be asleep snoring and all.

  73. My 3 year old daughter, Mia, (diagnosed with autism in January) has been challenged again and again as we are currently attending all her little friends’ b-day parties (everyone was born in May and June in our neighborhood.) At a recent zoo party where the animals scared her, the kids were getting loud – she actually waited 20 MINUTES in line get her face painted for the first time. Sat still and let a stranger hold her head and face while she got Dora painted (I’ll never curse Dora again) on her cheek. She was so proud and look at it in a mirror all the way home. I almost cried.

  74. love this idea, and I frequently post comments Aidan makes on my FB page so others can see what he is up to and how he is doing, like yesterday…
    A-Mom my heart is broken
    M-Why what’s wrong?
    A-From you
    M-What did I do?
    A-You won’t let me earn anything, you are the wicked step mother.
    Ahhh, the joys of my life. xo

  75. My 3.5yrs old son (PDD-NOS) is being moved from his Structured Learining class to regular PPCD full-time next year because he’s not getting the social interaction from the other children in his SL class that he is craving!! WOO HOO!! Y’all know how BIG this is for our children to be aware and want to interact with other kids!! He currently spends one hr a day in PPCD ~ I have observed him in there and was just SO impressed with how well he did with the other children and with following the teacher’s instructions. When she asked him what he wanted to do for Centers ~ he pointed to the book shelf and picked out an animal book. WOW!! His expressive language may be lacking, but his receptive language has just really taken off!! I love it and couldn’t be prouder!! (^~^)

  76. My son stayed in kindergarden for an extra year to learn to write his name. He did so in a regular classroom instead od a special ed one. At the awards day the other day he won the citizenship award. It is given to one boy and one girl who are the most helpful and friends with all. I could not be prouder!!!

  77. My husband and I were playing with our son Drake(3 years old) yesterday and we were trying to get him to say Ba for banana. He laid there for probably 45 minutes and then looked us straight in the eyes and said ba-nana. His first real word.

    Also last Friday, he showed his preschool teachers he knew his abcs and could spell his name. I asked them to work with him on these foam letters. They called me on the phone ecstatic that he knew his letters, numbers, and could spell a few words.

  78. My Frankie, who is fast approaching his 8th birthday, finally mastered potty training! He has been almost there for over a year now but has fought the final steps with the stubbornness that only a child with autism can. He has been able to stay “dry” all day long when he is outside of the house, but as soon as he stepped foot into our house he demanded diapers and totally refused to go “poop in the potty.”

    Last week he developed a fixation with the characters on his pull-ups and would only wear the ones with specific characters. Once the pack that we bought ran out of his preferred characters he was refusing to wear the other ones and demanding we buy new ones. With my limited income and equally stubborn nature, I refused to buy him new ones.

    So I gave HIM the option…”You can wear the diapers we have left, go naked, or PUT ON UNDERWEAR!” He went with the nudity for awhile, but when he realized I was caving…he put on the underwear! So we put up a schedule in the bathroom and he quickly took to the routine.

    He is now only going to the bathroom in the toilet and even staying dry throughout the night!!! It’s amazing the progress that can be made from just a little stubbornness and predictable consistency!

  79. My son, E, who is almost 11, has spent five years watching his younger brother play baseball. He has accompanied us to every practice and every game, seemingly relegated to the sidelines permanently.

    Last year, he started to show a real interest in the games. To try and engage and possibly include him further, I talked to the coach about finding him a role as scorekeeper, which I thought would suit him, and he did.

    It was wonderful — E felt needed and included. The coach was grateful to give up scorekeeping so he’d have more time to focus on the players. And I felt less pressure to keep him entertained and happy. I could actually relax and hang out with the other families for a change.

    This year, we’ve moved to a new town. New team, new coach, new families. I spoke to the coach about E’s interest in scorekeeping. A gruff guy who is particular about how scoring is done, he seemed reluctant and even nervous about to delegating it to E. I practically begged him to give E a chance.

    Another dad graciously volunteered to show E how Coach liked it done. The dad was heartbreakingly patient with him and to my relief E picked it up almost immediately and rose to the task.

    This week, Coach Gruffy McSkeptical presented E with his own team jersey and hat and officially introduced E to the players and families as an “honorary team member,” and made of point of mentioning that he’s every bit as important as any player. Everyone burst into cheers and applause and high fives and E has been walking on air ever since. He literally skipped to school today.

    To see his face, just bursting with happiness and pride, has nearly brought me to my knees with gratitude while strengthening my hope that he will find his way in this world. My E has gone from sideline guy who would barely look at the field to honorary team member in four years…and I couldn’t be more proud.

  80. The other day I heard my son scream for me, which is nothing new because he is always needing help with jus about everything. I replied “WHAT” angrily becasue it had been a long day. He then comes back with I love you Mommy. I just about broke down and cried.

  81. Two nights ago I watched my 2 year old son Joseph, who is on the spectrum, play interactively with his 4 year old sister for the first time. They were giggling and truly enjoying each other. It was amazing to see one of the goals we have set for Joseph become a reality.

  82. My gal asked a WHY question. Piper is almost 7 and has NEVER asked me why before! I was so shocked I almost forgot to answer her question! Then I took her to dinner at the restaurant of her choice. She said ” Mom, can we go to Subway and eat fresh?”. =)

  83. I admit, it took me a lot of time to find the joy that is written all over this event. On Friday, we received Matt’s Official Grade Six 2010 T-Shirt. The shirt is to commemorate the entire grade as they complete their elementary school years. Each student signed their name to a template and then the shirts were printed with all the signatures. Since Matt can barely write, I was anxious to see how he had signed – or if someone else had signed it for him. I searched and searched and could not find his name. I contacted his para who assured me it was there (she had witnessed him signing it) and she helped me find it. And there it was…..first and last name…….written completely backwards!!

  84. This weekend was a life changing weekend for my family. My husband and I took our 3 year old son Drake and 5 month old daughter to the park like we normally do every Friday after my husband gets off of work. Drake is terrified of the playground equipment at the park, except for the swing. He will happily swing in the baby swing for hours if we let him. He trembles and stiffens up and tries to claw up my legs if we go near the jungle gym and slides. We even had a physical therapist working with him to get him to play on the playground and there was always little to no progress. That day when he was swinging, there was a little girl about 4 or 5 years old that was swinging next to him. She kept looking over at Drake and smiling and he kept looking over at her right in the eyes and smiling. She asked her father to get her out of the swing and then came up to me and asked if she could play with my son. I said of course. I took him out of the swing and she grabbed his hand and skipped away with him. She gently coaxed him up the stairs and onto the playground equipment. I stood back and watched in awe. She held his hand the whole time. She took him up to the slide on the little kids side and showed him how to sit and helped maneuver his legs the right way (D has severe motor planning issues). She sat down next to him and went down the slide holding his hand. I was crying and in disbelief. How could this young girl understand my son so well when she had never met him before? She continued playing with him for about an hour before she had to leave. She showed him how to play on everything in the park that day. She never spoke a word to him the whole time they played. It was as if they understood each other completely without a word spoken. I wanted and needed to ask her father a few questions, but they were gone before I ever had a chance.

    The next day we took Drake to the park and it was as if he was a completely different kid. He was confident and running around and playing on the playground equipment like an old pro. No longer was he afraid to go down the slide,or climb up the stairs, or walk across the bridge. He was proud of himself. What I wouldn’t give to thank that little girl and tell her what an amazing person she is. It was a miracle plain and simple. I will never forget that day for the rest of my life.

  85. I was reading & playing with my son last night before he went to bed ~ he had his Mr. Potato Head & kept sitting him on top of his head. I asked him if he was going to give Mr. PH a hug before he went to bed. He pulled Mr. PH up to his chest & said “Awww” as he gave him a little squeeze. Mr. PH is not one of his loveys so it caught me completely off guard when he did it ~ he’s only had that toy for about a week so I was surprised he showed it affection, especially when I asked him to!! It was so cute all I could do was giggle!! :)

  86. Since starting school this year (the school year begins in February here in Australia), my son (6 years old, diagnosed ASD) has moved up four reading levels! I am incredibly proud, thanks for creating this space so I can brag in a socially acceptable manner, Jess!

  87. Okay, while I’m not necessarily fond of this milestone ~ I still celebrate it! My son has learned to say “Noooooooooooo” ~ he even slaps his leg for effect. LOL! Hopefully, this is the beginning of many more words to come!

  88. OK, I had to put this one in because it just struck me as huge. E is playing kickball with his little brother and they’re laughing and happy and caught up in their fantasy teams — and they’ve been going at it for almost 2 hours now. No meltdowns about rules, no tantrums, no drama because things aren’t just so. And it occurs to me they’ve been playing like that all summer now. I’m not sure when or how this happened but wow, I’ll take it while I can. I just wish my husband weren’t out of town so he could see it. Bliss. (Although, hearing a ball hit the front window just now, I’m sure I just jinxed it.)

  89. My son graduated Dev. Pre-School and will be in a mainstream K-class in an all inclusive school! He starts in 3 days!

  90. I’ve got two – I’m only down to one in diapers (took 18 months but my 4 yr old is finally trained!!), and he showed empathy towards his brother for the first time ever. His older brother was crying, and he went over and touched him (!!!) and asked if he was ok. It may have been a script from school, but I’ll take it!

  91. HE DID IT!! 3 years on the same football team, with the same players and same 8 coaches, and Rilee finally made it through a practice by himself! My husband or I didn’t have to stand next to him or do the drills with him. Last night he looked at Chuck and said, “Daddy, go away! I be alone.” And he completed the entire 2 hours with his team. 14 hours later and I am still smiling with tears in my eyes!

  92. My 14 year old Aspy son has really started to blossom lately. He had attended a private school for kids with learning/social differences, but HE asked to go to public high school this coming year. He is in band, and has actually spoken to someone every day this week in band rehearsals. He said that he MIGHT ride the bus home after school. !?!?!?!? The fact that he would even let the thought of the bus enter his head is SOOOO big. HE is happy because the band kid that he has spoken to thinks that my son is a cool kid. Someone besides me thinks that my son is a cool kid? WOW!

  93. My husband and I were discussing just last night that we’ve noticed that Lil Bro doesn’t seem to be getting upset as frequently, and that when he does he is recovering quicker than he has in the past. That, in itself, warrants celebration in our book!! :)

  94. My 13 year old is returning to school this year after a few years of homeschooling/RDI intervention. He no longer tests on the spectrum. Yesterday I said, thanks Honey when he took the trash out and he turned to me and said, Mom, I really am getting older now, you need to stop calling me honey, you will embarrass me in front of my friends~
    Ho Hum :)
    Kathy

  95. My granddaughter, Isabella, told the whole story of a caterpillar who got sick but became a butterfly ala Wonder Pets! Her greatgrandmother was thrilled.

  96. Grant, who is 13 and has Asperger’s, and I went to the pool today. We watched other kids jumping off the diving board and catching a ball thrown by one of the dads. Grant never said a word, but got up on the board and motioned to the dad to throw the ball to him. I was so surprised to see him join in the activity!

  97. At the risk of seeming like a really BIG bragger, I just have to share that Lil Bro has amazed us once again by hitting a milestone in pretend play ~ he tried to feed his monkey, Dangles, some of his dinner last night!!! And no, it wasn’t his vegetables either ~ he was actually giving him some of his bread, which is a favorite!!! :)

  98. My little guy had an appointment with the dentist yesterday. For the first time in four years, he let them take X-rays even though it is absolutely terrifying for him. Such a brave little one!

  99. Today was my little boy’s 2nd day of kindergarten, and once again he was able to go into the school with the aide and not mommy, and did it without having to wear his headphones! So proud of him!!! :-)

  100. This weekend up North, my 6 yo MacKenzie swam the length of the pool and back. Last year she clung on the side for hours. Granted, she had on a lifejacket, but she finally lets go of the side!

  101. I was going to say how proud I was of my little guy at swim lessons today – swam w/o the instructor for the first time and got his face wet. But instead, I’m going to brag that my older son is having his first sleepover ever. Considering the chaos in our house with his younger brother, we’ve never been able to let him have a friend over. Finally being able to reciprocate a sleepover is HUGE in our house, for my son and for us. Yea!!!

  102. Rhema, who could not be still for more than 5 seconds a few months ago, SAT THROUGH AN ENTIRE CHURCH SERVICE last week. I’m still in shock. 8)

  103. My 12 year daughter made a FRIEND! She has always been friendly and social but the mainstream kids were just being kind in a ‘motherly’ sort of way. Offering encouragement and smiles but in a condescending sort of way, like talking to a baby. After pulling out of mainstream (gasp, I know) and into special day class for the first time since Kindergarten, she actually made a real friend. No judgment, no mothering, just pure friendship. She was positively glowing yesterday (so was I).

  104. My 11 yr old PDD/NOS son started sixth grade this year. New school, new para (he had his other one from k-5th), changing classes every hour, new bus driver AND a locker! FOUR days and not ONE single time-out! He’s on his way to earning his favorite toy..a Monster Truck. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that that the trend continues but we’ll take what we get, lol.

  105. This weekend my 6-year-old Aspie/ADHD son participated as a ring bearer in his uncle’s wedding. When he saw the bride for the first time that day, he spontaneously called her name to get her attention, waited until he had it, and said “You look beautiful” with the most awestruck and sincere voice you’ve ever heard AND while making eye contact. The bride is getting her masters in special ed, so it meant the world to her too! Now, did he stand calmly as a ring bearer throughout the entire ceremony? Well, not exactly. But the personal connection that he made before the ceremony is worth so much more in this scenario!

  106. Matt (age 10 – autism) woke this morning before I left for work. I said “bye, Matt, I have to go to work” and he said “bye mama, see you later!” Normally, if he responded at all, he would simply repeat what I had said. Figuring we were on a roll, I said “have a great day” and Matt said “Yes!” I left for work happy!

  107. This labor day weekend we went to see some friends and it was a pretty long car ride. We recently bought my son Drake and Ipad to help with communication. He is 3 1/2 and still nonverbal. He played this game called IWriteWords on his Ipad pretty much the whole weekend while we were driving. He taught himself to write every upper and lowercase letter in the alphabet and numbers 1-100. When we got to our friends house I asked him how to write dog. He wrote the word dog on a piece of paper with crayon. Then I asked word after word and he wrote them all perfectly. Amazing for a kid who does not normally understand us at all. I have never been able to ask him a question and have him actually answer it. On top of that teaching himself how to write when I believe a lot of kids don’t learn that until kindergarten. I’m so very proud of him.

  108. While watching Kipper this morning, Pip (5), said to me (in complete sentences): “Mama. Come see. He’s gonna do a magic trick.”

    He also wrote an upper and lower case letter Bb in glue yesterday. Then put blue glitter on it. Then looked up at me and smiled. “B.”

    Finally, and this is completely cool, after our visit to Costa Rica, where Pip napped in a hammock. I installed one in our studio room. This was an effort to get him out of my bedroom, out of the “bucket,” the top of a wheelbarrow bucket that he adored sleeping in. He set up our puppet theater around the hammock, then decorated his new “room” with posters and wrote his name on about 50 pieces of paper, all marking his space. He brought in his favorite books, toys, blankets. He’s funny, this one.

  109. *momentarily borrowing the microphone from Jess*

    Excuse me…Is this thing on? OK. My son Matt (age 12 1/2) came home from his new school Tuesday and said “Mommy! I think I have a friend!” We knew of this budding friendship from Matt’s teacher. Matt and J have very similar interests, and the teachers and staff are thrilled with the interactions (and, are guiding them through this very uncharted territory).
    MY SON HAS A FRIEND!!

  110. I’m happy to report that my son Evan (almost 3) is finally starting to feel affection towards his sister (14 months). He will say “good night” to her and will allow her to hug him. Huge step!

  111. My 8 year old son (LD, ADHD, BPD, SPD, attachment disorder, PTSD and anxiety disorder) flashed a huge grin, ran into my arms and hugged me last week, when I came to pick him up from school! And did this in front of students, teachers, parents and everyone! And then he held my hand as we walked and he told me all about his day. Just like any other typical kid. He has come so far, and I am so incredibly proud. :-)

  112. We went to the park and Coltin played while I sat on the bench and watched. I SAT–like the other parents and he played nicely!

  113. My 5 year old initiated dinner conversation, asking questions about our day. They were scripted, the same questions I ask every day – but HE initiated them before I did…looked at the correct person he was addressing and paused to wait for an answer.

  114. For the last four years, I’ve struggled to get my son, Pip’s haircut. Every visit to the salon left both of us, and sometimes my other two children, in tears. He would kick, scream, cry, have a complete meltdown, shout that it hurt, that he was done, that he wanted to go home. The hair dressers, bless them, would alternately, freak out, try to bribe him, give up, soothe him, soothe me, muscle through it, etc. I would warn them. “He’s autistic. You have five minutes max.” And often, “Sorry he kicked you in the crotch.”

    Yesterday, we went to get Pip’s hair cut. I talked to him about it the entire drive over, how he was a big boy, Superman, the bravest boy I’d ever met. How it wouldn’t hurt, how I’d give him candy, “Donald’s” Happy Meal, whatever he wanted if he’d do it this time without crying. He promised he would. He said he understood. He asked if he could take his beloved, super soft green blanket into the salon.

    And then, he sat there. For 15 very long minutes. On his own, in the chair, blanket under the cape, and even smiled a little. He didn’t like it, but he looked at me and made me that promise, and I think he decided that he’d do it, no matter what. And today he is handsome as ever and braver than I ever thought.

    • Yay!!! I remember I cried the my sons *first* haircut where he didn’t need to be restrained (read: pinned to the floor by two adults) to get his hair cut.

      I know that feeling of pride, I can just imagine the look on your sons face for being so brave. Yay!

  115. My 6-year-old son Hayden (ASD, ADHD) is in an inclusion Kindergarten class. His new teachers have implemented a behavior chart to support his IEP goals, which primarily address his social interaction challenges (autism) and attending/distractability challenges (ADHD). Last week he brought home a chart riddled with check marks, stars and exclamation marks from his teacher. As I read the remarks from the teacher, I realized that only a community like that Jess has created here would understand my pride. So, here they are verbatim, the notes from Hayden’s teacher one day last week:

    “Fantastic day!”
    “Independently put break sticker on chart” (a sticker that says “I need a break” for Hayden to use when he is feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated and needs a sensory break to help himself refocus/self-regulate)
    “Super focused! Initiated a conversation with peer independently, looking at peer the whole time!”
    “Initiated another conversation with peer about swimming.”
    “Saw a student fall and went over to ask if he was alright.”
    “Great day!”

    In addition to being proud of my son and what he’s achieving, I’m also incredibly grateful that there are teachers and therapists in my son’s life who understand what he’s capable of and provide him the support he needs to demonstrate it! :-)

  116. This is my facebook brag tonight! I’m so happy!

    I have to take a moment to tell the world (anyone who cares what I write)….

    FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, ALEX PLAYED WITH A NEIGHBOR, CLIMBED TREES TOGETHER, ATE ICE CREAM, AND PLAYED VIDEO GAMES!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!
    And then he asked if he could come back tomorrow!!! They had lots of fun!!

  117. Piper blew my mind at the Dentist! She was a sweet, compliant, and engaged. What a diffrence from our last visit; when she wouldn’t even allow the instruments in her mouth!! My girl has clean sparkly teeth and she was so proud of herself when she earned her prize. Not half as proud as her mama. =)

  118. I love coming back here and reading all the wonderful and amazing things our kiddos are doing! Lets see Kyleigh age 3 is doing amazing in school, she has stopped throwing up on the bus on the way to school so that right there is a HUGE victory! Brianna my 9 year old is wearing jeans……JEANS!!!!! She has not worn jeans since she was 2 and I realized how much happier she was not wearing them. She decided on her own that she wanted to wear them and is now refusing to wear sweats (which her Momma thinks she is a little crazy about cause really who does not love to lounge around is sweats?) Now does anyone have any advice for my NT girly in the middle? She is really having a rough time lately and I honestly cant blame her it has to be tough sandwiched between her sisters and not getting the same amount of time and attention as them.

    • omg, jeans are HUGE. whenever i try to suggest them to brooke lately she says, ‘too jeany!.’ lol

      as for the monkey in the middle – if i ever find the magic potion to make my katie feel like she’s getting enough attention, i promise to share!!

  119. Each night before my son (a boy on the spectrum) says his prayers, he states: “I had a great day, too bad it’s over, can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring”. He does this EVERY night, even if he’s had an awful day. I just love that he finishes his day on such a positive note. He certainly teaches me something everyday.

  120. My aspie son made the goal to be student of the month for November because, “If I am student of the month for November, I’d be student of the month on my birthday!” He worked very hard for the month of October and his name was on the ballot. We don’t know yet if he has won, but he succeeded in at least getting his name there! :)

    • holy cow! that’s fantastic! we’ll keep our fingers crossed, but i hope he knows he’s a winner either way. if not, let him watch the oscars after shows for some practice saying that it was an honor just to be nominated :)

  121. Days after my daughter’s third birthday, a plane was flying overhead, and she POINTED, said “it’s an airplane”, and looked at me to see if I was paying attention. Huge moment for us. She is almost 3 1/2 now and has started saying, “you make me mad/sad mama.” It’s hard to explain to most parents why that is such an incredible thing to hear. Even if it comes during a meltdown, I can’t help but feel so proud.

  122. I LOVE this idea! And I totally GET IT :) I do have something to share…my son (6 1/2 years old with ASD)shared with me the other night that he would like for me to teach him how to make his own (hoemade) pizza. Usually he, because of (sensory issues),doesn’t want to get his hands dirty or sticky. He said “Mom, you know I have to learn this kind of stuff for when I’m big.” All I could do was laugh and agree with him. I was so proud of him that he was able to communicate that to me :)

    • and to understand the concept of why it would be important to him later .. on top of all of the rest of the amazing parts of this story, that’s awesome maturity!

  123. After much ado, and a pretty hefty meltdown, Pip (5 with ASD) actually went and participated in his once-a-week music class today. Yes, I guilted him into it and threatened to take away his DS and computer for the day. And despite the fact that is music teacher is one of the worst people I’ve ever met. But still, he sucked up his tears and stayed for the entire class, even singing a song or two. I was late for work, but it was well worth the delay.
    So proud of my boy.

  124. Today I had MacKenzie’s IEP meeting and she DOES NOT qualify for services anymore. She is doing wonderfully and her IQ test came back “above average”. They will still be watching her and can re-evaluate anytime, but WOW!

  125. My 2 year old ASD-er knows his whole alphabet, can spell big words, and choose rhyming words. In other news, he’s also starting to say a few words (not in correct usage, but progress is progress). His therapist was blown away last night!

    • hey, around here we’ll take words in any form! besides, i’ll bet as the pieces start to fall into place you’ll find that the words are not as out of place as they first appear!

  126. My 7 year old has been terrified of water since he was 3. Every summer he would sit by the edge with his floaties on, sometimes he would be brave enough to play on the stairs. If I tried to get him to swim into the middle, even with me holding him, he would FREAK out. So this last summer I didn’t have high expectations. We went down as we normally do, his brother got in and played with their friends, I almost had a heart attack when he got in and started to play. Then next day when we went down, he informed me: “Mommy, I no need my floaties” (he really didn’t he could easily touch). Then he started trying to swim underwater! I couldn’t beleive it, after much trial and error, and of course him refusing help, he figured it out! My boy who used to flip out at bath time is able to swim underwater, without goggles. Oh and did I mention he can jump in? The first few times were tentative, but now, he leaps in like all the other kids – NEVER thought that day would come, and he did it all on his own – when he was ready.

    • these moments never cease to take my breath away, when suddenly our kids blow right through a barrier without warning or explanation. it’s what keeps me going every day – the fact that these moments DO happen.

  127. Madden is 3.5 and is on the spectrum. He likes to climb behind you when you sit on the couch and have you lean into him. I think he likes the weight and pressure. Last night when he did this and I leaned back, he wrapped his skinny little arms around my neck for a hug!!!!!! An actual hug!!! Painful, but a hug none the less. And just now, he wanted to watch Toy Story (AGAIN) but the disk finally scratched and started skipping. He started to scream and we told him ” we are working on it..” he screamed “FASTER!!” at us.. LOL. It was an actually spontaneous appropriate response.

    • oh man, there is nothing better than those hugs – in whatever form they come. i used to call brooke ‘hit and run’ cause she’d come at me with all the force of a mack truck and then be gone.

      and faster? classic!!

  128. Son recently got up at his usual wake-up time (6:30 a.m.) Nothing to see here, right?

    IT WAS TURN BACK THE CLOCKS DAY. STOP. HE SLEPT AN EXTRA HOUR. STOP. AND DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE. STOP.

  129. My son Austin is 9 years old. He is the light of our lives. Austin was diagnosed with epilepsy at 6mths old and autism at 3 years old. He has always been non verbal. However, the other day out of no where we saw him walking around with a grin on his face. So we asked him what he was smiling about just interacting and playing with him. His grandma went on to tease him and get in his face and smile. Well when she did we all heard the mist glorious sound. Austin LAUGHED and not just once but for several minutes hw giggled! We all cried and as I type this I continue to cry tears of extreme joy to be able to have that wonderful moment with my son.

    We all love u Austin

  130. Our 2 yr old son Anthony, spent almost an entire day carrying around a little Woody (from Toy Story) doll. He has never show interest in anything other than trains. To watch him play with that little cowboy almost made me cry.

    • hooray! it took our girl nearly four years to put together any semblance of functional play skills. it still amazes me to hear her (now 7 1/2) voicing characters in pretend play. IT CAN HAPPEN!

  131. I am not the parent of a challenged kiddo like many of you. My friend is however. My hats off to each and every one of you!!! I will celebrate your little moments with all my might for they are not little moments at all, they are tremendous milestones to you, youre family and your child.
    Again… I salute each and everyone one of you… including Jessica and Christopher!!!

  132. My Asperger’s son, 10 years old, has been with Cub Scouts for 4 years now. Every year, we sell popcorn to raise money for our scouting activities. Every year, my son fights me tooth and nail- well, every year till this year! We don’t have any familial support so we tend to be the ones you see at the local stores asking “Hi, would you like to buy some popcorn?” This year, Shawn sold it without me having to prompt him! He sold for 6 weekends straight, both Saturday and Sunday. His father, who normally doesn’t get in on things like this, did this year, taking him some weekends. In the past, Shawn has sold 500$ to 600$ per popcorn season. This year? He sold over 1000$ worth of popcorn. All my friends with NT kids look at me like “Enough already! So what?” But I know y’all get how HUGE that accomplishment is to an Aspergers kid!

  133. My 11 year old son, Julian, who has PDD NOS really took a big step and started to try new foods this year. Sometimes, it takes some encouragement, but he will make the effort to at least taste it. The other night, he tried a Jamaican Patty and loved it!

  134. My 4 yr old son who struggles with ASD was getting on the bus Thursday and when I said I love you ill miss you, he turned to me and said love you too…..I cried! Then when he got home he continued by informing me that there is ‘danger all around mom’!! It was a very cautious day to say the least! Oh how I love him:)

  135. These “little things” are exactly the reason I have started a column about my son’s “little things.” I find with both the bragging moments and the challenges, it is not the big stuff that makes me emotional. It is the little things. Recently, Peter, 9, began creating his own ideas about what we should do together when his Dad and his sisters were out. WOW
    http://yorktown.patch.com/columns/its-the-little-thingsin-the-life-of-an-autistic-childs-parent

  136. This year my 11 year old son told me “I love you, mama” unsolicited for the first time in his life. I was reduced to a pile of tears. I have gotten one more since then too.

  137. My short brag of 2 of my students. Took both boys to their general ed class for reading (mostly for social skills) kind of a chaotic day 1 teacher out sick had a new sub to cover (bless her heart she tried so hard to keep up) *Eddie* went one way in the room to stim off the screen saver. *Davie” went straight for the basket of rulers and dumped all over the floor. Oh brother it was only 10:00 AM! Lol. Went over to *Eddie* told him to get his book and start reading at his desk (2 step directions) went back to *Davie* helped clean. I took Davie back to his desk gave him a book with numbers on it to occupy him til the TA Sub teacher came. When I looked up to check on Eddie he was not at his seat! Oh no! Did he run out the room? I asked the general ED teacher if she saw Eddie leave. I scanned the room 2x! Ready to bolt out the door, but there he was on the floor with a group of kids READING!!!!!
    He blended right in no jumping, not even arm flapping! He was reading with his buddies in a group.

  138. The other day, William (PDD-NOS) jumped out of the car and ran to catch up with another boy. They started talking animatedly and walked together all the way into school. I sat in the drop-off lane and cried all the way to work.

  139. My aspie daughter doesn’t generally like to go anywhere. The other night there was a chili cookoff at the high school her brother attends followed by the drama departments play which she’d seen the day earlier with her English classmates. I was going as 2 of my friends and I were doing a chili entry together. She actually asked if she could go with me. Then decided against it because she was working on a project for school. Once she finished, she called and had my mother bring her up. She had a great time and really enjoyed it herself. For most people I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s one of the very few times she’s asked to go do anything that involved being around people. Also she’s made a new friend this year. The first new real friend she’s made in years. Usually we’ve had the one friend we’ve had since kindergarten who comes over. Her new friend has been over twice and she’s actually gone over there once. It was a HUGE step for us and most people just don’t get it.

    • we do!!!! going to the chili cookoff is wonderful – it can be so tough to find common ground when our kids are determined to stay home (or maybe i’m just looking through the lens of the day we’ve just had here ;))

      and the new friend? huge, hopeful and so encouraging to those of us who walk behind. thank you so much for sharing!!

  140. My son who has aspergers syndrome and outburst anger disorder struggles in school everyday but at home, he’s a totally different child. He’s 15 but looks 8 and acts most of the time 8 yrs old. At home, he loves to cook and makes the most fantastic meals! He’s very functional outside of school… any ideas how to get him to behave IN school!

    • nola, school is such a trying environment for our kids. after a particularly trying day at school not long ago, my daughter’s aide said “When I saw how hard she was working to manage herself and to redirect her energy when the stress was too much, I knew full well that we were purchasing our morning with your evening. But she got through what she needed to get through.”

      very often i think our kids can manage to keep it together in one place or the other (meaning school or home), but not both.

      hopefully you can have someone you trust (whether through the school system or independently) observe your son at school and assess what’s triggering him there so that they can put a plan in place to support him.

  141. Took my 14 year old son shopping today. Sounds normal right? This trip was different… We had been reading social stories about going grocery shopping and why we do it etc. I had my son make his own shopping list (4 items) So off we went. Okay here it goes- had him push his own cart had to run interference once or twice when he almost ran into someone. My son did it found his items emptied his cart and I helped with payment. What a day!!!

    • HOORAY~!

      And this ..

      “Sounds normal right?”

      Not in this crowd, my dear. Not by a long shot. Congratulations on a huge accomplishment.

  142. My 18mth old who was diagnosed at 12mths with Autism is usually content to play on the floor by himself spinning his toys and listening to music ran and hid under the coffee table the other morning. Concerned, I followed him and stuck my head under the table to check it out and for no reason decided to say, “Boo”! My son started giggling and ducked his head back under the table again and waited for me to say “Boo” again! He than took this new found game to other hiding places in the house so Mommy would follow him and find him and say “Boo”! My son engaged in an actual game today!!! GOD is GREAT!

    • that’s exactly where i find proof of God too – in those blessed moments of connection. no matter how fleeting, they are truly glimpses of Grace.

  143. Virus hit everyone at our house. KT, non-verbal 4 1/2, hadn’t eaten for three days, drank very little and was sleeping on the floor when the nurses wake her up to give her anti-nausea med’s and fluids in an IV. KT hates the blood pressure cuff, ooh an IV will be fun! NOT! After 3 minutes of trying to calm her down by singing (didn’t work), I gave up and decided to use this as a “teachable moment” to try to connect KT’s emotions to the situation.

    I started with “KT, are you mad because you are stuck?” She repeated that and added “Down”

    Then as they poked her “KT, are you mad because it hurts?” (When else can I teach her what “hurts” means?) She repeated that and added “I want to go home.”

    Spontaneously.

    Repeatedly.

    Then she added “Bad, Bad Mommy”.
    :) Isn’t that cool! KT could figure out who was to blame AND let them know it!

    I know it’s not a “typical” milestone but we are very happy!

    • that’s HUGE!!!! – and yes, those feelings are so dang hard to teach.

      it always makes me laugh when we get excited about the stuff that anyone else would think was negative. i nearly had a party when i realized my daughter had lied to us – proof of theory of mind in action! lol

      • I never thought of it this way, as I have 5 kids and lying is a natural (negative) part of growing up. However, I guess you could say it was a GOOD moment for him!

  144. My three and a half year old son called me Mommy twice last week. I started crying and just had to tell his Daddy. Later on that day he called his Daddy “Mama.” This little boy hasn’t called anyone anything since he was around 1 year old.

    He surprised everyone by following a one step direction. Now that he knows how to throw trash away, he is always on the hunt for things to go into the garbage can. =)

    • we fill so many roles, but it is such an incredible gift to hear the one that is by far the most precious spoken by the little people who matter most. i’m betting dad didn’t mind a bit either ;)

  145. Last night Joseph (26mos) put his lips lightly against his father’s leg twice in a row….KISSES!!!! He’s never done that before!!!! Yay Joseph! Can mommy have a kiss? :)

  146. I don’t have children, but in my job I work with several adults on the autism spectrum. I’d love to brag on them specifically, but as I’m paid support staff rather than family, confidentiality requires me to keep those brags to myself. So I’ll just say that I love those moments when my clients laugh at a joke, or say or do something brilliant that helps them cope with change, or ask for something they need, or offer to help somebody else, or call me by my name. And on a selfish level, that last one is the sweetest of all. If you hear your name from my clients on the autism spectrum, that means “You are part of my safe world now.” I love being in that world.

    • jen – please know how grateful we are for people like you, whose loving, caring work with our children means the world to us.

  147. I have sooo enjoyed reading everyone’s brags! I’m proud of both of my children….one typical and one with mild autism. My oldest one couldn’t be a better big brother to his “unique” brother! He is so patient and helpful with him. My little guy has started speaking with more age appropriate sentences and initiating more conversations. He’s worked hard on how to handle difficult situations, including 1st grade:) He’s done so well this year….now if we can get him to play with other kids on the playground!He’s also tried some new foods lately (on his own, usually;)) For those parents waiting on “milestones”, just keep waiting, it will happen eventually! ( He’s in his room right now playing with a little friend. And he’s not yelling at him–woohoo!!! ) My son responds to consistency and we practice a LOT! Both of my boys are an absolute joy and they make me smile everyday!
    I will check back here often to hear everyone bragging on their children!! Love it!

    • thanks so much for sharing, tonya. and yes, the milestones around these parts may not come in the order in which we expect them, but so, so often they DO come.

  148. Yesterday my son Aiden, almost 4, was acting out and not listening. After a few warnings I put him in a time out. I told him he needed to sit there until he was able to calm himself down. A few minutes later I went in to check on him and have a talk about what he was doing wrong. When I walked in the room I sat on the floor and he proceeded to get up and walk over to me. He then stopped right in front of me and said, “sorry mommy”, then gave me a kiss. He usually has to be prompted so of course when he did that all I could do was scoop him up with tears in my eyes and tell him how much I loved him. What a moment!

  149. My son who is now almost 5 has finally started pooping in the potty on his own-no holding him down-no chasing him down. He just goes – we are so excited-glad i have a place where I can actually brag about that!! And he is keeping his shoes on in school now!! We call all his accomplishments Brody steps. He does it in his own way in his own time-we just have to keep on truckin along beside him!

  150. 1) Our son recovered from a meltdown rather quickly last night, and today he’s been happy all day.
    2) He made friends with the cat…yes, the same cat he used to run from a month ago even though he outweighs her by 200 pounds.
    3) He used the coffee grinder this morning even though the noise bothers him, he actually made a concerted effort to tolerate it and make coffee for breakfast.

    I know it seems hard at times when your autistic child is young, but there are moments during adolescence that you wonder if you’ll make it. I promise you will…it will just seem a little harder than it was, but that kid you love is totally worth it.

    I have stopped caring if people’s kids are preparing for their first climb of Kilimanjaro at the age of six, I just care that my boy is doing well and progressing at his own rate. When he smiles because he has achieved something it’s worth gold to us…and that’s all that matters. The rest of the world doesn’t understand? Tell them, gently, to stuff it. Having an autistic child has been a blessing in disguise: his older brother is growing into a caring, considerate, responsible man; we have our priorities straight, and we laugh more than we cry (even though there are times when it seems it’s the other way around).

    Look, if you’re out there and you’re wondering about this: it does get better and you get stronger. The quirks they have are outweighed by the love they give you. We don’t even notice the rugby helmet anymore…or the boxing gloves…four of them…or the slinky in the right hand…he’s a multi-tasker!

    • oh, lbg, thank you, thank you, thank you. your words are worth their weight in gold to so many out here in the ether. thank you so much for sharing your perspective on BOTH of your boys. i am grateful.

      • Our boys…they are amazing. Not perfect, not by a longshot, but they are amazing. The important thing is to be as willing to learn FROM them as to teach them to navigate the world. Erma Bombeck wrote “if you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it”…that saying hangs over our fireplace and it helps a lot. The little oddities in our lives, well, they are a lot better than the picture perfect Christmases we’re supposed to strive for…my kids don’t take each other for granted so we don’t have to wait for the realization of a moment being special, and when they disagree…it’s PRETTY DANG FUNNY!!! You see hands flapping and hear doors slamming and then they’re out in the hallway and signing at each other again and another slam and then loud music and then they sit down, grumpily, to watch Phineas and Ferb and they start laughing and it’s over…crisis averted…and you think to yourself: I wish I had a video camera!!!

  151. Our sweet Ruby has been in a special early development school just over a year. She is 3 years old and has ASD. There are days that I struggle. No matter how much you know that you are not a lone, there are days that I feel utterly helpless. I just stumbled upon this blog and teared up reading all of the ‘brags’. I have one too.

    Our little family went out dinner (rare as they are a lot of work). For the first time tonight, my sweet Ruby finished her dinner without a single complaint (she is very picky), put her hands on the table and announced that she had to go potty! Hoooray!

    I think this is a wonderful place to tell our stories. Thank you!

    • Hey, Stephanie…I understand about how you struggle some days. My son is almost sixteen and I struggle, too, but our kids are worth it. I can imagine (from personal experience) that sometimes you wonder if you have what it takes to deal with this and the answer is YOU DO, you just don’t know it yet. Sure, it takes a little more work to get your child to do what other kids her age are doing, and you get tired and frustrated and wonder how you’re going to do all you have to do.

      I want to tell you that each day is new…it’s a blank slate. There will be days when the slate seems muddy from the day before…just wipe it clean before you even crawl out of bed. And start over. And every day tell yourself that maybe today you can get one more step ahead. Ruby will surprise you, and you will surprise yourself, until one day you are no longer surprised with the progress and the patience and the courage and…you can do this. I promise you, you can do this…

      And be nice to yourself…you deserve it, and you work for it… Be really nice to yourself and give yourself credit.

  152. Robbie, 6 years ASD, took my face in both his hands as if to say, look at ME & then says “Mommy, your my gorgeous babydoll”. Dont know where he got it but I love it!!!!

  153. Alexander 4, now tells me “I love you” and gives me a big hug and a kiss without me having to intiate. He has come a mighty long way!!!

  154. Ok – so I logged on to brag for the first time and can’t help but laugh out loud that the very thing I am here to brag about is the last post from Lynn….who can really believe that there are just “coincidences” in life when those very things reaffirm your belief in a higher power!
    My Nicholas – who just turned 4 – just gave me my first kiss on the cheek tonight. Although he has made huge strides in showing affection, actually initiating some hugs etc this is the VERY first time I have ever gotten a kiss from my little man!! I think my heart might jump out of my chest with love and pride!!!!!!! Although I called my parents, texted my husband and posted on FB I knew that you all were the ones who could REALLY appreciate my joy!!!! Thank you for this amazing resource!!!!!!!! Jess, you have created such an amazing environment of encouragement, truth and unwavering strength and I have gained so much by reading your thoughts and the comments from others “in our boat”!!! Regardless of the multiple issues in my life at the moment – I will be going to be with a smile on my face tonight. My boy kissed me!!!!!!!!!!

      • i can’t tell you how much i LOVE that there are so many first kisses and hugs here being bragged about! there is nothing better and i never, ever tire of reading about them! hoooooooray!!!

  155. My son earned his “Champ Badge” at school! It is an award they earn for conduct, and not all kids receive it (NT or not). He gets to wear it every day at school and it comes with special privileges like going to line up first, extra recess time, etc. Little things, but big things for a kindergartener! He also received his first report card this week, and the teacher commented how he is a friend to everyone. HUGE! 2 years ago, he couldn’t function in even a small group setting, and now he is excelling in a gen-ed class. :D (home behavior has been less than stellar, but I think he is worn out after all-day kindergarten.)

    • tina, that’s WONDERFUL! and yes, we often find that home/ school is an either/or situation. brooke’s fabulous aide once told me after a particularly trying day if school (which she had gotten through beautifully, but with great effort) – ‘i knew we were purchasing our morning with your evening.’ *sigh*

  156. We often worry that our kids behave one way at school and another at home…BUT that is often the case with ALL children, not just ours. My parents used to day my siblings and I were the most congenial children outside of the house…”light on the street and dark in the home” they’d say. I always ask how my son’s day was…and then we plan accordingly. Try to look at it this way: your child is putting in a mammoth effort to achieve what must be achieved to move forward in the outside world.

    If all this philosophy fails, pick up a copy of Erma Bombeck’s If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In the Pits and read the essay on the sports awards dinner…that’s going to help anyone see that the kids just do that and, well, it’s our job to be astounded, exhausted, surprised, irritated, etc. in its wake…

  157. I’ve just spent the last 45 minutes or so laughing, crying, hollering for my husband to, “Come, look at THIS one!” Thanks so much for providing such a wonderful brag space.

    And, now…..I’ll get on with the bragging :)!

    My son, Zeke (11 yo, autistic/non-verbal), just spent an entire 4 day SPONTANEOUS family vacation with a 9 year-old cousin….who, let’s just say, is really not his favorite person in the world. There were no major melt-downs, no scratching, no hitting the head….just a glorious, sun-filled vacation away from the snow-magedon we’re having! They even sat next to each other multiple times….in the airport, buses, restaurants….you name it! I’m so thrilled….especially for my sweet nephew (and his dad–my brother) who love Zeke with all their hearts and desperately wants Zeke to love them back.

    Tracy

    • tracy, i LOVE this! love, love, love it. this ..

      who love Zeke with all their hearts and desperately wants Zeke to love them back.

      breaks my heart as it’s so often the case, isn’t it? i’m so, so glad that it worked this time. may it be the first of many, many more.

      thank you so much for sharing!

  158. My little snowflake has started asking “is that a figure of speech, mommy?” When I or her sister actually use a figure of speech like “talk the hind legs off a donkey” or when I say something sarcastic. She is getting better about not taking things so personal, at least with me or her sister when something sarcastic slips out or a sarcastic remark is made. I have been working on this with her for about a year and boy did my heart sing when she finally got it a couple weeks ago! YAY!

  159. My daughter who just turned 1 has taught my almost 4 year old (aww-tistic)son Drake how to hug and kiss. I’m amazed at their relationship and the fact that my son is showing emotions because of his sister. I have tried for years to get my son to kiss us, but he turned his cheek every time. Something else is that Drake is always avoiding us and is constantly going into another room so he can play by himself. Now that his sister is old enough to play with him, he will follow her around so they can play together. The bond between siblings is amazing and I’m so glad they have each other.

  160. My 5 year old said cookie tonight – when he wanted a cookie…I couldn’t be happier that my non-verbal child said a word without prompting him 3 (or a thousand!)times first!

  161. So I just discovered this website today and i’m so glad I did. It’s been a rough week and to find a place that “gets” it means a lot. My son and I are new to this whole Autism thing, he was just diagnosed two months ago. So I’m still learning. He’s 2 1/2.

    My brag is that in the last few days he’s been using his toy cars in PRETEND PLAY!!!! He used to just line them up, all the time! But now he’s moving them around and making sounds, throwing them and having them crash! It’s so awesome! It’s his very first venture into pretend play and I’m so happy.

    • I just found this website today and your comment makes me tear up a bit. My son just turned 3 and was diagnosed with ASD in Sept of last year. He was much the same…lining up blocks or cars or whatever but not really engaging in pretend play. The first time he made his cow go into the barn earlier this year to “go asleep” I was over the moon. So I know how exciting that is! Just wonderful! :) :)

  162. My middle ASD (age 6) son helped his 2 year old brother out of his car seat and out of my giant SUV. He also helped him out of his crib the next morning. Big big deal my friends. Big deal. I am so proud.

  163. So..I happen to be a NASCAR fan and so is my PDD/NOS son. While watching qualifying over the weekend he saw Mark Martin’s “Go Daddy.com” car and asked my huband, “Dad, where’s Danika Patrick?” (She’s the spokesperson for that website and happens to be a really good driver in her own right) My husband responds with, “Well, Bud, she doesn’t drive this car. Why do you think she’s pretty?” To which my son replies, “No, Dad, she’s hot.” I know it’s politically incorrect but …it’s a spontaneous sentence!!

  164. My Aspie son (age 7) dropped the F bomb yesterday and we’re so proud! I know, I know, we should be horrified and embarrassed and signing up for remedial parent training, but as my hubby pointed out “He said it spontaneously and with appropriate emotion as he almost fell off his bike!” Even better, he immediately knew he shouldn’t have said it and apologized. Just had to post this sign of “progress” in a place where it would be understood. :-)

    • LOL, we were surprised when MacKenzie did that too! She has two teenage brothers (and ok, I say it somethimes). My mother on the other hand was horrified. Grnadma just don’t get it, lol! Congrats and teach him to say “Fiddlesticks!” (OK, that hasn’t worked here either!).

  165. My son started trying NEW FOODS*!!!! Baby steps with this, but still – new foods. Mostly, its the new ability to cope with food presented and his sudden willingness to try a new food.

    * new foods are variations of already accepted foods: stir fry chicken breast instead of chicken nuggets, stir fry vegetables instead of plain boiled, rice with sauce instead of plain, and vanilla yogurt in a regular container instead of neon-colored trix or gogurt.

      • True, true – I knew there would be understanding here, but it is habit to add defensive qualifiers.

  166. We just came back from a family vacation to go skiing and our daughter (4 1/2) actually allowed us to dress her in ski clothes – including googles and mittens! AND she took two lessons “on her own” (or at least with mommy documenting with our family video camera 20 feet away)! We’re so proud!

  167. I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the celebration. You might just have to try and call back sometime in 2032. You see, the party is large today. I have to type this quickly because I want to get back to it. And never leave.

    Play date. Not thirty minutes. Three-and-a-half hours. With some resistance at our need to depart. Eye contact. Lots of it. Peer interaction. Lots of it. With questions. And ideas. Leaving the room and not looking at me kind of interaction. Interaction that allowed grown-up time. Giggling and even some physical closeness interaction. Interaction that resulted in the words “best friend” in describing the day. Realized hope never felt so good. Sorry, I gotta get back. It’s my turn to limbo.

    (nearly 4-year-old daughter with Aspergers who only a year ago would scream at the prospect of being in the same room with another child…who only lined up toys/toilet paper rolls/dining room chairs instead of playing with/using them for their intended purposes…whose routines were so rigid, she didn’t know how to come out of her bedroom if I didn’t go into it and follow her out of it each and every time.)

  168. My now 8 year old PDD-NOS son said to his grandmother who had come down for his birthday (spontaneously w/ no prompting) “Thank you Grandma for coming to visit and making my birthday so special.” As he was essentially non-verbal 4 short years ago, a huge birthday present for all.

  169. Bragging on myself….today’s facebook status:
    My son, Andrew, was diagnosed exactly one year ago, at almost 5 years old, with PDD-NOS, a spectrum DISorder. It has been a year filled with sadness, anger, relief, hope, victories, joy, and lots and lots of love. While he has autism, he is not defined by autism, there is so much more to him. Likewise, if you’ve met one person with autism, you have met ONE person with autism. The progression of awareness to understanding to respect, inclusion, and resources is my hope for this day.

    Couldn’t have written that 6 months ago and “gone public”, but knowing such a supportive community exists here, I’m hoping to welcome more to it. And if I can help someone else get an earlier diagnosis than at 4 years, 11 months, through awareness and conversation, then I’ll feel I’ve given something back. My focus has been completely internal this past year, I’m ready for something bigger.

    • Jen – that is wonderful and a HUGE step!! As the Mom to a 4 year old with PDD and in the process of having my 2 year old diagnosed as well I can totally relate. Seeing as I take on about 95% of the responsibility of my boys’ care – the online community has been invaluable to me – and especially Jess’ words. When I feel so very alone in the day to day battle at home it is amazing to know that there are others out there who “understand”. Keep up your fight! :)

  170. When we heard those words “Your son has Autism” it was heartbreaking, Devastating…But I Think it has been harder on my husband than on me. My side of the family stood by us, His was judgmental. His ONLY son had regressed to the point he was getting told “Your son may never speak” Forget playing Football or baseball, or any of those other dreams a father has for his son…Then there was the way he pulled away from Daddy, oh how it killed me to see the pain in my husband’s eyes….

    Fast forward to present day, almost 10 years after we got the diagnosis. Thanks to the Miracle League, my husband and son get out o the ballfield every Saturday and play Baseball. and tonight, my husband who is in the National Guard is away at His once a Month training, and our son brought me the phone…what follows is my status on Facebook….Dak just brought me my cellphone”Say goodnight to Daddy?” so we called and He said goodnight, then Danced off to his room singing “I love my Daddy!” Came back and asked “want Daddy home safe, when Daddy come home?”

  171. Drake is 4 and non-verbal, but is now making huge strides after finally taking him to a naturopathic doctor. My son Drake was 3 1/2 and was losing his ability to walk. I took him to the doctor and they did testing and nothing came back positive. I searched everywhere online and decided to do a gluten free diet. We immediately saw a huge change in his energy. He looked very sick. We now have him on supplements and wow are we seeing a difference. He is finally making syllables and about 5 minutes ago I got him to say A B C D E F and G. He was so proud that he could say those sounds.

    Drake has loved music since birth and has been humming the sounds since he was 18 months. Now he is humming and playing the notes he hums. He is playing all sorts of nursery songs now on his tablet, his piano, and our phones. He has taught himself how to play all by himself. It’s amazing what our babies can do.

  172. Most recent proud accomplishments for my baby girl Cymbaline (said like Caroline). She is 3 and was diagnosed in November. In 5 short months we have seen so much improvement!! We started the GF/CF diet and had very good results. Her vocab exploded. We have been doing DAN protocol, speech and OT, and she finally started preschool 3 weeks ago and is LOVING it!!!
    Anyway, she’s had spontaneous speech. Bringing me her cup and saying “more please!”! She said I Love you, and even though it was echolalia it was still the first time I ever heard her say those words. She walked down stairs (12 of them) with out holding on last week!! And tonight she put her shoes on all by herself! They were on the wrong feet, lol…but she did it! I’m still waiting for a spontaneous initiated kiss, but for now I feel blessed that she lets me kiss her as much as I want! And I also feel blessed for her progress. She is a very special little girl and she touches the lives of every one who gets to know her, I see it.
    Barb

    • hoooray!! it sounds like she’s leaping and bounding her way through school!! brooke’s i love you used to be ‘mama loves you too, baby’ lol .. we take what we can get!!!

  173. My NT daughter needed help turning on the light in the gameroom. I asked my autistic son, “Can you reach the light in the gameroom?” Expecting, of course, for his answer to be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and for him to obliviously go about what he was doing. But that’s not what happened. He got up, without a word, and turned the light on in the gameroom. I didn’t have to explain anything. He knew what I meant, even thought that’s not exactly what I said! I had no one to tell. No one that wouldn’t look at me like I was crazy.

    Thank you, Jess, for doing this thing that you do. <3

  174. My 7yr old son had a great Wednesday at school. He did so well he was rewarded with taking home the class mascot Peter Rabbit. He was beaming when he walked out to the car w/his prize for the night. Needless to say a day where he likes school is worth its weight in gold here. We celebrated with ice cream & took pics for him to remember the day with. At night we read The Tale of Peter Rabbit & made Peter a bed next to his pillow. When Mason took him back to school he was sad but had no meltdowns, tears or tantrums. It’s only one day, but I will take what I can get & celebrate!

    (Jess, I feel bad that this doesn’t sound like a lot, because my 7 year old is mildly autistic & fully functioning. School is hard for him w/all his sensory issues and I am so very proud to have a good day that I wanted to share. As crazy as it sounds, sometimes I feel guilty that his autism is not as severe as most here. I will totally understand if this isn’t posted, but I wanted to say that mild or severe I will take any bit of good that comes his way. Thanks for your blog, it’s great.)

    • tiffany,

      please know this – the thing that i love most about this little slice of the world here on diary is that it is a sacred space. it is a place where our children’s level of impact will never be a competitive sport. a place where we all understand that challenges and progress are relative within the context of the individual – and where we know nothing if not that our kids are individuals.

      i used to apologize constantly for the fact that my brooke is not as involved as other kids. a lot of my early posts contained ‘disclaimers’. i felt the constant need to say that i knew that we swam in the shallow end of the autism pool and that i had no right to ‘complain’ (a euphemism for writing about the stuff that hurt.)

      eventually, the apologies grew tired.

      i finally had to accept that our story is our story. our daughter is relatively lightly touched by autism (for which i thank god each and every day), but it it is nonetheless the filter through which she processes her world. within that context, there is joy and there is pain – and while her challenges are not as severe as others, they are no less real than anyone else’s, nor is the progress that she makes any less profound for her or for us.

      autism is a spectrum disorder. by definition, it is an enormous umbrella over a vast spectrum of human difference. an imperfect label at best for such disparate conditions, but it’s what we’ve got. for better and worse it inexorably ties us together.

      but the differences remain. which is why i constantly implore every member of the community to tell his or her OWN story. why i say again and again that no single voice can ever truly represent the whole.

      so bottom line, we have to remain sensitive to each other, we have to remember that ours is not the only story, and that no matter how different our children’s manifestations of autism may be, we are walking this road together. as such, i believe we have a responsibility to each other – to fight not just for our own children, but for all of our children. and that, to my mind, includes not just removing the barriers, but also celebrating the progress for each and every one of our kids.

      please don’t ever be afraid to celebrate your child’s successes. they matter.

      and a good day at school? priceless on any front.

      thank you for sharing.

      jess

    • Tiffany, my son is high-functioning. My most joyous moments fall in, what used to feel like, such a hard place. Insignificant to parents of NT children and trivial to parents of children who struggle with the most basic of daily functions.

      But not being able to share with anyone is WRONG! We’re here not to compare the trials of our children but to offer to each other what we can’t find anywhere else..support and acceptance. We all understand that in your world these are big things.

      No matter what the individual battle is, the feeling of pride and the feeling of accomplishment is the same. It’s the same for every parent. And that’s what this brag page is about. Celebrating!

  175. My 8 year old spectrum daughter decided to switch where she sits in the car. She has always sat behind the driver, but last week, she decided to sit in her brother’s “chair”. She has decided that she likes sitting there. I can hardly believe it.

    • wow. i LOVE those rare moments when our kids WANT to break out of their own comfort zones. (as long as we don’t suggest it! lol)

  176. Yea!! Love this…my son is 3 and has ASD. He is potty-trained now (he initiated the process!) and stays in his bed at night (this was a real struggle when we switched him out of the crib). I’m so proud that he knows his upper/lower case letters, numbers, etc. and figured out part of “Chopsticks” on the piano. One thing the other day that made me grin from ear to ear is when he looked into his school from out on the sidewalk, saw a teacher and friend walking by inside the school in a windowed hallway, and waved to them. Such a little thing but so big!

  177. We listen to the same John Mayer CD in the car on the way to school My son Ty & I
    20 minutes there
    20 minutes home
    Everyday
    except for one song with loud drums we must skip
    No singing just listening & watching the Navi from the backseat

    Last night while I was cleaning up the kitchen I heard him in the playroom (dining area , isn’t everyone’s there ? Lol )
    The Little voice singing

    ~ Keep on waiting , waiting on the world to change
    Keep on waiting , waiting for the world to change

    Yes Ty , you & me and John Mayer all are <3

    • i wish there was a ‘like’ option here. or a ‘love’ option. i love this! i’ve spent many moments eavesdropping accidentally to a milestone, something simple, something no one else would understand. trying to keep the sobs quiet so as not to disturb him. must’ve felt tremendous. :)

  178. My son has PDD-NOS and will be in high school next year. He’s been taking weekly riding lessons (informal hippotherapy) for a few months and is now “off-lead” so he’s able to make the horse change speed (!) and direction by himself. Sounds so simple but there’s a lot to think about all at once. The horse teaches him so much, he has to pay attention to what she’s “thinking” and her cues. It’s just magical to watch. So proud!

    • speaking as someone who is deathly afraid of any animal larger than herself, this does not sound simple at all! commanding such a large animal is an accomplishment, i don’t care who you are! horses are so graceful, must be a beautiful sight to see your son be a part of that and to also know what progress it means. :)

  179. I love when Jess prompts people to revisit this page and I get to read a huge batch of new inspirational stories. Here’s mine:

    My 10 year old son with PDD-NOS has started to have real phone conversations with my wife and why. Greetings, full back and forth sentences, and saying goodbye. Not long ago, he’d pick up the phone yell a word or two, then drop it and run back to whatever he was doing without so much as a ‘bye!”. His conversational development has really taken off this year. So proud of him!

    • well if it ain’t he guy who started it all!! :)

      so fabulous!! we’re still getting there, but the moments that it happens are worth their weight in gold. enjoy!!

      and gooooo lower case!

  180. My son Logan can do the peanut butter stomp and the puppetmaster with the best of them. (for those that don’t watch yo gabba gabba, they are dancey dances.) he also loves to to go to school and ride the bus.

    My son Derek who is two. Is a huge help with his older brother even though in return he usually gets shoved or pushed. He loves applejacks.

    My daughter regan is recovering from a visit to the NICU. Where she was with Croup and pneumonia. She is so brave and handled it all very well.

    My stepdaughter who is 16 has no idea how big of a helper she really is. I wish she saw the extreme amounts of value she brings to the family and how much we really do care for her.

    My wife well I can’t possibly put into words the things she does for our family.

    • oh joe .. i so hope you will show this to each member of your family. i absolutely adore the fact that you mentioned each and every one of them. such a great reminder to us ALL.

      (and wishing a full and speedy recovery to regan!!)

  181. I never knew there was a community brag page, lol. Thank you Jess for everything you do. I wanted to share something with all of you. The other day we got a pool that a friend gave us. When my daughter got home from school and saw it, she ran into the house and said “Mommy I am so excited! Come see!” For her to start expressing her emotions is huge, we have worked on this for such a long time. She still struggles to say it the right way, but on that day, and in that moment, she did it perfect, and made me smile :)

  182. I try not to brag, because i feel weird about it.I don’t know why. Today was just so wonderful, I can’t help it! I took my 4 year old to the zoo today just the 2 of us. My son was so good considering its an hour drive to get there, he was amazeing!! It was crowded and people stared ,but today I did’nt care! Because today at the zoo my son said elephant!! This is huge because we have been in speech for 2 years and he still does’nt really talk. Today I did’nt care about the stares and the control your child looks, I just walked around on a cloud!! Elephant!! I just can’t believe it!

  183. I am still in shock, but with mixed feelings. This morning, my 6 yr old was very tired, and not really into getting ready for school. I told her the van would be here soon, and she started giving me a hard time about what to wear, which has been a daily battle lately. I raised my voice a little, trying to get her moving faster and telling her I didn’t have time for this. I know that raising my voice has the total opposite affect, but I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and I work a job that is from 4 pm until 1 am most nights. Suddenly, she put her hand on my arm and said “Mommy, have patience” . I am still in shock that those words came out of her mouth, and to use the word patience in the right context. And then the mixed feelings come creeping in. Amazed by her, thrilled that she “got it”…but on the other hand, I feel like the world’s worst Mom because my child just told me to have patience….still no coffee yet, child off to school, tired and all…but plenty of tears from this Mama…

    • wow, what an incredible moment! couldn’t have been better used. and the mixed feelings? i get that to the bottom of my soles, but we are all HUMAN, much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

    • don’t be silly, worst mom? no way! all kids get fussed at and none of them like it. my NT daughter doesn’t hear my words when i raise my voice either. and it doesn’t even sound like ur daughter was phased, haha. seems like she just thought you needed a reminder! how awesome that she knew what emotions you were having and spontaneously tried to comfort you. sounds like your doing everything right! ;)

  184. While visiting Nana and Papa in Florida two monumental things happened at N&P’s neighborhood pool…first Alex did somersaults (front and backwards) in the pool. Groundbreaking new skills! And bonus, no snorting up/choking on pool water.

    Then a little girl came in through the gate and Alex said, without prompting, “Hi I’m Alex, what’s your name?”. “Emily” she said, and off they went doing somersaults together.

    Makes a Mama proud…WOW is all I can say!

    • That is awesome Deirdre! My daughter is only comfortable playing with kids in her class. at the park or any other public place, she plays totally alone. I still dream of the day I hear those words from her mouth, asking another child to play with her.

    • that’s completely awesome! i remember the first time my son approached the line at the slide, after weeks of standing near them but never joining in. milestones are awesome! :)

  185. My 7yr old spent Friday night w/his grandparents & older brother. Brother left early Saturday morning w/PawPaw to fish, leaving just Mason w/his MeMe. Normally he would want to come home before noon w/o brother there, but not this time. He & MeMe had breakfast, went out & fed the animals & then climbed on the Rhino(atv) for a drive. My parents have been teaching him how to drive (slowly) in the fields to build his independence & confidence. (Don’t worry, this atv has doors, a window, seatbelts, bucket seats, window, rollbar, etc. for safety). For an after lunch snack he tried Dreamsicle ice cream & liked it so much he ate a bowl full. This child barely touches 1/2 a scoop of plain chocolate, so this is amazing! Once brother came back they got in the sprinkler together & Mason even let brother squirt him w/the hose. These are both firsts! Normally playing in the sprinkler means to stand by the side & jump in the puddles it makes & before now squirting him led to a huge meltdown & his day would be ruined, demanding to go home. So Saturday my little man took on many challenges & did things he’d never done. I couldn’t have been more proud of him, wish I’d been there to take pictures!

  186. Last May (’10) my son was still considered non-v erbal. Even though he tried to talk, we couldn’t really understand what he was trying to tell us due to his hypotonia. Fortunately, he became very good at using his PECS & much frustration subsided. :)

    I had previously been told by several people that for whatever inexplicable reason, some (not all) non-verbal ASD children start talking when they turn four.

    Lil Bro turned four in Sep. ’10 & he is currently INCREDIBLY verbal!! He can count to 20, recite his ABC’s, sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” spell his first & last name, says “I yove you” AND, wait for it, ……………..says Momma!!! Well, he can’t make the m-sound very well so it comes out as Nonna, but I LOVE it!! If you’re not around him very much, he can still be hard to understand and there are even times when my husband & I will look at him with a “Huh?”, but the words are there!! And as if to make up for lost time, he talks non-stop. LOL!! I’m not complaining, though. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing!!

    Hang on to hope……..always!! :)

    • My son Cameron spoke ‘Cameronease’ until he was 5 years old. (Ex. milk = row) I’ve tried to learn a 2nd language my entire life, always failing miserably. But I (and only I) mastered Cameronease and now speak it fluently. It’s amazing how much you can learn when your entire happiness hangs in the balance, hehe. Any step towards easier communication is worth celebrating! YaY Lil Bro!!! :)

    • That is so wonderful!!! And gives me so much hope! My son turned 4 last week and has a few words, but not very many. You story gives me alot of hope!! Thank you!! I can’t wait till the non-stop talking!! I never understood why people get mad at there childern for talking to much? Its a gift!!

  187. Jay ate a hamburger. I know that sounds strange but it is huge. Usually we have to separate the bun from the meat… but he now eats them together. Nothing on it but still… he eats hamburgers! Now try and put that one in a regular newsletter and imagine the weird reaction I would get. I love this page!

    • foods are such an obstacle, aren’t they? my son’s diet is like the fast lane at the grocery store…10 items or less. :/ Congrats on the huge step forward!

  188. Report Card day was yesterday. All over FB, I see people bragging on their children’s good grades and I am truly happy for them. Do you think they’d all believe me mad if I posted, “YaY for Cam!! All D’s on his report card!!!”? haha

    Yeah, probably..so I’m shouting it here instead. ;)

    One more 6 weeks with no F’s and he progresses to the next grade!!!!

    • Thats great news!! Who cares about their perfect report cards! All D’s thats wonderful!! Thats his wonderful! How lucky is he to have a mother that is so proud of him for trying his best!!

      • Thanks!!! My husband found me silently crying as I was looking at the grades. He assumed our son had failed and told me it was going to be okay. I had to giggle, which completely confused him, haha

  189. I’m here to brag!

    After 12 long years and finally the title of PRE-TEEN, for the first time ever my son was able to invite FRIENDS to his birthday! Friends who he made all on his own which are not related to him (cousin) or made for him (parent assisted play date). It was exciting and memorable and so much fun and we are exceedingly happy for him!! Thank you for listening!!

    • reading this hits very close to home! my son recently had a similar accomplishment. he’s nowhere near ready to invite friends over for his birthday, but i know how big a deal this is for the both of you! Your son is reaching out to others for friendship!!! Very big deal! Congrats to you both!! You must be doing something right ;)

  190. I’ve never bragged before…but I needed to today. We have had an amazing week! Starting on Saturday for no apparent reason, my guy has been AWESOME!!!!! Slight downhill with the return to routine on Monday (he didn’t want mom to go back to work!) but so far (fingers crossed) we’ve only had 3 meltdowns in 5 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is HUGE for us! Yay for good days!

    • YaY for GOOD DAYS!! (I call my boy’s “clear days”) Congrats hun!! It’s so difficult for us to watch them go through meltdowns. How wonderful for the both of you!!

      • thanks Luna and Jess for your email. This place is awesome…we can come and be each other’s support from miles away!

  191. I was crying and my son asked me “what’s wrong?” instead of just looking right through me. Big deal for us.

    • ‘your eyes are leaking’ is what my 9 y/o says. i’m pretty sure that’s his way of asking. how heartwarming that your son recognized your sadness and wondered what had upset you. that IS a big deal. :)

  192. Today Mason had a wonderful day and he’d earned it. His schedule is back to normal, he has access to his IEP teacher again, all is good and he had a fabulous day. Last week State testing for 3-5th graders caused my son’s 1st grade class to change their daily routine and they lost their morning TA so she could be a testing monitor. The class was crazy and within a week he began to display multiple stressers that worried me. We hit rock bottom the day I was called & told he was curled up in a fetal position sucking his thumb and not responding to anyone’s requests. I found out then that his daily visit w/his IEP teacher had been put on hold all week due to the testing and he had no way to get away from the chaos of the classroom. Today it was back to normal; TA back in class, IEP teacher available (she took him to her room to play w/fidgets), and he came home happy and excited. He squealed in delight as he beat the challenges of the Open Season video game, screaming “Momma, watch me! Momma watch me do this!” I watched and I watched and I welcomed my son back in my own quiet way. Thank you for giving me a place to shout proudly that he had a good day!

    • It breaks my heart that you were not informed of such a drastic schedule change (not seeing his IEP teacher) beforehand. Needless stress to you and him both. But I’m glad his routine is back to normal and he (and you) can relax. Watching my boy relax gives me peace like nothing else, as I’m sure it does for you also. Personally, I’m waiting till the end of the school year to exhale. “miles to go before I sleep” :)

    • YAY for the good days! Sorry he had to deal with the teacher gone..so hard for him and you. I’m new to this place, but loving it because we can be each other’s support! So awesome!

      • don’t i know it Rachel! i live in a town with a population of 3000. not a lot of autism moms around here.

        before finding this community, i felt like i was drowning. the weight of having all these responsibilities and gathering all this information and having nowhere to express myself or discuss ideas for treatment, having nowhere to feel a kinship, was pulling me under. this place has freed me and i’m such a better mother to my son because of it. i love the people here!

        i’m so glad that you have found your way here, too. Welcome! :)

  193. I had to tell someone about this and I didn’t know where else to turn. Really, I want to scream it from a mountain top. I want it to be on the evening news. lol. My son who is now 3 had an evaluation at his school in Feb. Back then he scored at a 4% communicatuon level. They set a goal of 8% for him by his next evaluation. I went to pick up his report yesterday and he now scores at 13%. I’m crying again just typing this because I’m so proud of him. I of course have seen the improvement in him but to see it in writing … well, that just sent me over the edge. I can’t even tell my family or friends about this because they simply won’t grasp how huge it is and I don’t want anyone to make it seem less important than it is. Thanks for “listening”.

    • HUGE, HUGE and HUGE!!! that’s amazing and undoubtedly speaks to all of the work that you ALL have put in to giving him the tools he needs. celebrating with you!

    • awww, that is so great! to exceed even the ‘professionals’ expectations..WOW! i’m a little misty for you! that feeling of hope, it’s just plain awesome. those numbers don’t just show his current improvement, but also what’s possible. :)

      I know what u mean about his accomplishments seeming less than to certain ppl. I’ve done that too many times. The look on their faces that say, “and….?” haha.

      Well, you came to the right place, hun. We get it. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  194. My five year old non-verbal little man played catch with me last night! The first time EVER he threw a ball with a purpose other than to get it outta his way! I sat on the floor crying and playing roll and bounce and catch with him for over an hour. he even gave me high fives when I caught his ball! So proud of my little man!!

  195. My son, Matthew, age 13, submitted an “Unthinkable” for the upcoming Superflex Thinkable/Unthinkable book. We found out today that they received over 500 submissions, and accepted 93. Matt’s was one of the submissions selected!! WE ARE SO PROUD OF HIM!!
    (Superflex is one of Michelle Garcia Winner’s “programs”)
    I want to shout this from my rooftop – but my neighbors would think I was battier than usual. Thanks for allowing me to SHOUT here!

    • I’m at a loss here, I don’t know what a submission to that program means. I’ve just started learning about her programs a few days ago (via DOAM). But it sounds seriously impressive! (Anyone wanting to school me in this matter, please step forward) :)

  196. My daughter actually told a JOKE today ! We were waiting outside for her van to come pick her up for school, and a neighbor’s chihuahua was running around and barking. She started barking at him, then talking to him, and then out of nowhere, she yelled “Squirrel!” LOL, I knew she was referring to the talking dog in the movie Up, how he was talking away then suddenly just yelled squirrel, and we both had a good laugh.:) An amazing start to my day. She is beginning to “get it”, in her own way, and in her own time!

    • Too funny! She gets it and she wants to share! Completely awesome!! It’s so wonderful to feel that connection with the people we care for the most. :)

  197. I sat in the car, with a lump in my throat, at the bottom of “the hill” waiting to see my son appear on his bike. He had begged me to let him try it. A busy, two lane country road, oy. I waited, and waited. I kid you not, like a sign, on the radio Jackson Browne told me to “Stay Just a Little Bit Longer,” and I thought “two more minutes then I head back to check on him.” Finally, a glimpse of his blue hoodie, just a speck in the distance, coming down slow, dragging his feet to control his speed. I didn’t realize I might have been holding my breath.. I exhaled and then cheered. My boyo had done it!

    • Yay for independence! It’s so hard for us to let go of the grip we have on them. But letting go is key…even letting them get hurt a little. Preparing them for the real world is so much more than teaching them to grocery shop and wash clothes. It’s about enjoying life. Having said that, I still freak out when my 9 y/o puts the trash can at the curb (we live on a highway). Kuddos to you both! Him for wanting to try, and you for letting him.

  198. WE GOT A HAICUT! A whole haircut… all those hairs that made everyone call my almost 3 yr old boy, “my daughter”… they are gone, and he looks so handsome and he did so well. Even if he had to sit on my lap and hold jellybeans in his hand. Even if he didn’t like all those little loose hairs all over him. He let her cut his hair. She touched his head, his ears, and his face. We Got A Haircut!!!!! YAY!!!

    • OMG! that is huge! the haircut is so intense for them. hell, it’s intense for ME! wow, I would’ve cried, lol. What a triumph! Congratulations!!!

    • Wow!!!! A huge milestone! I know when my boy takes a step towards independence, I just seem to stand taller, the weight sitting on my shoulders eased by a little bit of hope. YaY!!! :)

  199. Dak went on a Playdate to a Friend’s house WITHOUT Either of His sisters, without Daddy,and without me! AND He has been HELPING His sisters wash dishes!!( so what if they ttake twice as long cause they are splashing each other and my kitchen gets SOAKED! I will take it! :-) )

    • that’s so great! good for u for knowing a good trade when u see one! haha I’ll swap ‘helping’ for a messy kitchen any day, too!

  200. RM said the names tonight of two of our friends A & T that we recently had a playdate with. Less than 20 minutes later, she was sitting at her dollhouse pretend-playing with two dolls she had named after them!

    First time she had related play to people who were not present that were not immediate family members.

    So exciting!

    Thanks for giving us this space to share, Jess! xo

    • making connections!! that ROCKS!!! That is still new for us. I still cry every time he tells me the name of the kid that sat next to him at lunch or the one that gave him the new pencil he carried home. Connections are so very important. Happy for ya!

  201. During a meltdown a couple of weeks ago, my 13 year old daughter was crying and screaming in her room. AND then I hear her scream, “I NEED TO BE HELD!” HUGE turning point for her!! It was also a meltdown without any self-injury! :)

    • if my son said that, i’d probably tackle him and not let go, lol. he is 9, does the screaming thing, but not really big on asking for what he needs yet and self-injury is still something we deal with occasionally. maybe by 13 we’ll get there too! thanks for sharing this. i love hearing about kids a couple years ahead of my boy who are making progress. it’s the light at the end of my tunnel. very happy for u!! :)

  202. My PDD-NOS son finished 7th grade today with a B+ average. Who knew that was possible?

    My daughter declared herself a vegetarian, when she really is an HFA kid with food sensitivities. So far she has eaten zucchini, avocado, and butternut squash!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • B+ … sounds like you both probably worked very hard for that! And 7th grade is a tough grade.

      as for ur vegetarian, that’s hilarious! my son is HFA and i love love love his perspective, haha.

  203. My daughter’s OT told me today how instrumental my little G. has been for another child who is back in the gym at the same time as she is for therapy. She has been encouraging this child to try new things and engaging him in some really good social interactions. She said my child is a great ROLE MODEL :) I am so proud of her!

    • as well you should be, that’s impressive and must feel so gratifying. she’s helping others, she’s reaching out, that’s something to be proud of in any child. very very cool!

  204. I said outloud, “Wow, I can’t fix this computer screen. I am so frustrated.” My son with ASD came over and said, “allow me.” And fixed it.

  205. My 21 year old daughter who has Asperger’s was just staying at home doing nothing but playing on the computer since she finished High School. Vocational Rehab was not much help in helping her to look for jobs so I recently signed her up for a dog grooming assistant class. She did so well she is going on to do the groomers course. She’s thriving, she’s happy and she has been like a different person! At the last family gathering she hung around and socialized with everyone all day. Such major progress considering we still have so many days when she behaves like 12 instead of 21.

    The teacher says the dogs at the doggie spa love her. She has always had a special way with animals.

    I smile when I read the notes about the showing of affection.The other night my daughter came to my room before bed…I was sitting up in my bed reading…and she said, “Mom, I think I’m going to give you a kiss on the forehead before I go to bed”.

    • omg! that is so freakin sweet! lol And how AWESOME and PROACTIVE of you to keep searching and not give up until you found something she could take some real pride in. they all have talents, it’s just helping them find them. very courageous, mom! :)

  206. Picked up my son from school today. He is in 3rd grade public school, is nonverbal with autism. A classmate came over and said she put all her skype info in my son’s bookbag so he can keep in touch.

    • isn’t it heartwarming? i am truly amazed at the number of kids my son’s age who are willing to accept him, without pity. They don’t talk down to him, they completely accept him. As a society, we are getting better. Hearing stuff like this always gives me hope! Thanks for sharing!!

  207. 6 MONTHS AGO Tristan was only saying one word at a time & only to label things… only eating a VERY limited variety of foods… fought me for up to 30 minutes during diapering & dressing… and preferred to spend most of his time alone in his room.
    NOW Tristan speaks in 3-5 word sentences (I can understand them better than others but it still counts!) He is eating so many new foods (even requests YOGURT now!!) He lays down for me as soon as he sees me with a diaper in my hand & actually “helps” me get him dressed. And the BEST part is how much he enjoys being with us now!
    He has made unbelievable progress in the last few months & everyday he amazes me with something he suddenly just “gets”!! And even though these last few months have been the busiest EVER in my life it has been well worth it.
    Thanks goodness for his awesome therapists & their dedication to teaching ME how to teach Tristan. Now our whole family knows how to take advantage of every opportunity we get to teach him. And he just keeps soaking it all up! ~Leaps & Bounds~ (:

    • WOW! that’s incredible! this progress is all from ABA therapy?? that is crazy impressive! congratulations!

      and kudos to you and your family for being open to learning the best way to care for your child. completely awesome! ;)

  208. Cymbie has been talking up a storm. We’re getting spontaneous verbal 3 to 5 times a day consistently for about 3 weeks now! She is also repeating back everything and starting to make requests!! She socialized with a 15 month old little girl visiting this weekend. Followed her around taking back every one of her (Cymbie’s) toys she picked up. Showong very NT 3YO behavior and it was awesome. Who ever thought you’d be happy to see your kid acting jealous and taking her toys back? I was! = )

    • haha, i know right? I hear people at parties complaining b/c their kids are behaving typically. All I can think is, ‘yeah, we don’t live in the same world.’ Congrats Barb!!!! :)

  209. Three months ago my 4 year old son had 0 words. I was desperate. His body was weak and he had almost lost the ability to walk at 3 1/2 years old. We took him to doctor after specialist with no luck. I decided then to take him to a naturopathic doctor because what did I have to lose. I was spending so much money and getting nowhere. That’s where our life has changed forever. We got a pee test telling us he had two crucial amino acids missing(l-carnitine and glutathione) We are supplementing him now with carnitine and glutathione, vitamins, minerals, cod liver oil, and we are promoting good yeast growth. We found the key to why my son Drake could barely lift his head. In 3 months, he has learned to mimic us in every way. He is saying words and even putting sentences together without too much prompting. He is now running and jumping. He is bringing us his pecs sentence strip and saying I want potty when he needs to go. He is using a spoon and fork. He is singing songs with words now instead of humming. He is answering to commands like come here, and answering to his name. He is playing with his 18 month old sister and sharing with her. He uses a samsung galaxy tablet everyday as a reward system. We put the starfall website on there and he has taught himself addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division all within one weekend. He is trying to say all the names of the numbers and the alphabet now. He can spell quite a few words too. Really can’t even say enough how much progress he has made in the last 3 months. It’s a totally different kid and everyone of his teachers and the ABA staff are amazed about the progress. We felt hopeless and we have been given hope.

    • that is an amazing story!! i’ve got my son on some of what u listed, i’ll have to look into the rest! thanks for sharing!!! hope you see more hopeful progress!!!

  210. A few nights ago my husband & I were tucking our 4 year old son in for the night. My husband was going to stay with him until he fell asleep while I finished cleaning up downstairs. I said “love you baby” to my son, my husband said (trying to prompt my son to say it back ) “love you mama”… to which my baby said “Me love you mama!” Was so proud to hear him add in the “Me”… it was huge for us!

    • awww…how sweet. that made me a little teary. it is very huge! heartwarming story, b/c progress is always heartwarming and b/c i’m a sucker for the ‘love-you’s. :)

  211. We had a HUGE Victory the other day. My son got lost in Target and held it together, which that alone would have been great, but he went one step further. He found an employee and are you ready for this… asked them to page me! I blogged about at http://www.blog.mamasturnnow.com/2011/06/11/i-interrupt-snapshot-saturday-for-this-important-blog-that-just-cannot-wait-until-next-week/

    OMG this was HUGE! I was so proud and more than that HOPEFUL! It gives me so much hope for my boy!

    • Oh My Gosh!!! That is freakin incredible!! lol At school, the secretary sent my boy to his class after I checked him in. When he got there, the class was empty. They were at library or something. He had no idea what to do so he went to the bathroom until they found him there. (yes, i’ve told them numerous times not to just send him off into the school unattended, but that’s another story). I get so upset when this stuff happens and they dismiss me siting that he was okay and that nothing bad happened. But what I’m really upset about is the idea that he won’t know what to do in a crisis. You must be soooooo relieved and so proud and so hopeful after seeing that your boy knew exactly what to do. That is completely awesome! Now, I’m off to read ur blog ;)

    • That’s fantastic.
      Just a tip for other parents though, I write my mobile phone number on his arm so that if he gets lost hopefully someone will see the number and ring it. I started doing it after our next door neighbour’s NT child disappeared in a huge stadium and the number on the arm is what found him within 5 heart stopping minutes.

      • what a great tip! i think i’ve heard that before, lol, but i’d forgotten. i’ll have to remember that one! thanks!!

  212. This may seem trivial but it’s a huge milestone for my E, who will be 12 in two days. Ever since he was a toddler, he’s loved to swim. But he could not tolerate a baggy, wet, swimsuit. Drove him to tears, fits, hysteria and sometimes, nakedness.

    My competitive swimmer dad solved the problem by getting him a clingy Speedo, the kind that look like bike shorts. I can’t tell you how many of those we have literally worn holes through over the years. Over the past year or two, however, E has become painfully aware that he’s usually the only kid his age wearing the racing shorts, and as it’s now his wish to fly under the radar as much as possible, he was determined to get over his issues with the baggy style, despite their clammy clingy-ness.

    After many fits and starts and failed attempts, he’s now on board (no pun intended) with the baggy shorts as of this week! You should have seen him grinning from ear to ear at our local pool as he sported his long plaid shorts with apparent ease, his trusty Speedo safely hidden underneath the baggy, stylish glory.

    • omg, that is so NOT trivial! That is huge!!! He must’ve been so proud of himself and so relieved to be able to blend in with the other kids. He was determined to do something and he did it. YaY E!!!! :)

  213. My son has always become very stressed if he made a mistake with any sort of academic work. He knows when his spelling is incorrect but if he can’t get it right, he’ll get really upset and unable to move onto the next one because he has to “fix” the one that is incorrect. This has carried onto other academic work and it can be very paralysing being that inflexible. Anyway,a major breakthrough this week, he has been working with the Auditory HearBuilder program (from Super Duper)to help his working memory – and some days he gets it all right and other days he does not and he was getting really frustrated when he was getting them wrong and then all of sudden at the end of last week he took a deep breath and said and has repeated since when he gets one wrong “It’s OK if I make mistakes” and then he isn’t getting upset!!!! Major breakthrough considering all the years of having to get it right and being distressed and not being able to move on if he got it wrong. I just hope it will translate to school but it is MASSIVE!!

    • yes that is massive! i know b/c my 9 y/o son is just like that. he struggles with fine motor skills and his letters don’t always look right. he makes mistakes on his spelling words. he can’t fit all of the words on one line of writing paper. any number of possible problems, and he’s throwing up his hands, exacerbated, and can’t move onto the next task. Your son is teaching himself to calm down, talking himself through the frustration…that is monumental!!! that is progress toward being self-sufficient, holding a job, and just being able to cope. these are things i think about often. congratulations and i’m so very happy to hear that one of our kids is learning to manage the stress!!! gives me hope, thanks for posting!!!

  214. My 4 1/2 yr old Cole used his words all weekend to tell me what he wanted! He is so happy I understand him and he gives me the biggest smile every time he sees Mommy get it and get him. He is so excited to share with me :)

  215. My oldest son turned 12 this past week. We’ve been trying to teach him to tie his shoes since he was 4 and it’s just not been doable for him. On the eve of his 12th bday, he was watching a blues clues episode with his little brothers in which Joe showed Blue how to tie shoes. He ran to his room and a few minutes later he started yelling “I did it, I did it, come see, I tied my shoes!!!” He’s been determined to get faster/better since so he is tying his shoes a lot. My parents came to visit last night and he couldn’t wait to show them.
    Also, I was worried about posting on my blog/twitter/facebook because I was afraid he’d be embarrassed. I so should have known better than to project that onto him. He asked me before bed the night he first tied them if I was going to share on the internet. I told him that I hadn’t planned on it because I didn’t want to embarrass him. He said, “why would I be embarrassed? This is HUGE, I finally did it. I don’t have to ask you to tie my shoes in front of everyone anymore, that is what’s embarrassing. Go ahead and share if you want, I’m proud of myself.”
    So I’m bragging that he finally mastered a task that has long been impossible for him, but bigger than that is he is embracing his progress, accomplishments and moving into new levels of self confidence!

    • i’m not sure which i love more – that he did it or that he had such a fabulous perspective on it. so utterly wonderful!!

    • That is HUGE, Kelly! Congratulations. I’m all teary-eyed; this is a skill my 7-year-old son is trying to master. Even with O.T. for fine motor skills, it’s eluding and frustrating him. I’ll look for that episode of Blue’s Clues. Thank you for your post–it gives me so much hope.

      • My almost seven year old hasn’t gotten it yet either, but I’ve not tried for a while because it frustrates him so much it’s not worth it right now. I just asked J about the episode, as I didn’t watch it and he said it’s on Season 5, episode 27 called morning music. There is a song that teaches and then there’s another part where Blue skidoo’s and it shows again how to do it.

    • Awesome!!! Lessons learned all around! ;) Good on ya! :)

      My 9 year old has yet to master that one and couldn’t care less, lol. We live in the deep south and flip-flops are always a viable option, even in the dead of winter. It’s so much more than tying shoes,

      *applauding* new levels of self-confidence!!!

      • He never cared either until recently. The whole thing about being embarrassed that I had to tie them for him was no where near his radar until someone teased him about it a month or two ago. :-(

  216. I also have a brag to share about my almost seven year old. I just got a facebook message from his Sunday school teacher. She wanted to be sure and tell me that slowly over the past year that he’s been in Sunday school he has gone from absolute refusal to touch or be near playdough to loving it. She said the past three weeks he’s enjoyed it so much that he has had trouble transitioning from playdough time to lesson time. He still washes his hands right after, but the fact that he’s enjoying it is just huge for him.

    • oh that’s awesome! (and brooke was the same way – slow to warm up to it and then it became her all-time favorite thing!)

    • I love getting notes of progress from teachers. It makes me feel less like a lone crusader. It reminds me that while I may be at the forefront, there’s an army of supporters helping in tiny ways. Teachers that he’s never had making him respond to their ‘good morning’s. Neighbors saying ‘hello’ consistently despite the fact that he never responds. And teachers who recognize that there are no small victories, only huge ones, taking the time to let you know that he’s trying.

      Congrats!!! :)

  217. My 2-year old PDD-NOS little boy recently mastered out of 6 of his newly assigned protocols from his ABA therapy in one month. That made me proud, but having him look me in the eye and say, “Mama!” for the first time–that made me cry.

  218. I had a sad moment today. I couldn’t understand what Alex, my 7 year-old with Aspergers, was trying to tell me about a picture he had drawn. I kept asking questions, he got frustrated and told me I wasn’t his real mom. Well, I began to cry right there in front of him (not my most shining moment). I felt a little hand on my shoulder. Alex leaned in to hug (!!) me (!!) and said, “It’s going to be okay.” My sad turned happy just like that!

  219. My 4 year old son with pdd-nos who two years ago could not handle a trip to the grocery store because the noise was to much for him went to a racetrack yesterday, smiled and yelled at the cars to “go faster”! Every time he got over stimulated he asked to go for a walk!

  220. Our Isabella is entering kindergarten and will enter school with an NT class and an aide and will have specials with them, too! The beginning of mainstreaming. We have a wonderful teaching staff and para’s in our public school system which we are so proud of !

    • Sounds like you have a strong support system in place. That is so important and can truly make such a huge difference. YaY for positive beginnings!!!

  221. My Eli who is 10, just competed in his first fair-showing a bucket calf. I was not sure how well this would go as working with the calf did not always go smoothly to say the least. However, he did an awesome job and I had to fight back my tears because I was so proud of him!

  222. My son asked where his brother was! I can count the number if questions that were not requests on one hand, this one actually showed some social awareness!

    • Very cool! Don’t you just want to squeeze them when they make a step forward? My son did something the other day and I was so busy getting excited, I forgot to answer him! :P

  223. My son, Lucas, who is almost 5, went to the doctor yesterday, said “hello Doctor” spontaneously when he walked in, let him check him from head to toe-including a Strep test (yuck!) without screaming, yelling, crying or carrying on! Then, again spontaneously said “thank you Doctor” when the doctor left the room! As if that was not incredible enough, today, he got his hair cut for the first time without screaming, yelling or crying! He sat there and let the stylist cut his hair!! WOW!!!!! Never, ever have either of these two events happened without a full blown meltdown. Dare I say it out loud…could things actually be getting easier!?! I am SO super, incredibly proud of my amazing little boy!!

    • This makes me want to exhale for you! Reading this reminds me of how far we’ve come and what used to be part of our every day lives. We move so fast towards the next goal, I sometimes forget where we came from. This is so very spectacular and I hope he continues to do well with drs and barbers!!

  224. We drove by McDonald’s tonight. My 5-year-old girl looked out the window and said, “I want McDonald’s.” A whole sentence. Spontaneously. I have never been more thrilled to buy a Happy Meal in my life, let me tell you.

    • Kerry, I know that feeling. When you hear that little person express a wish/ desire, there is nothing that can keep you from fulfilling it –esp. if it’s a drive-through away. : )

  225. My boy is finally looking at the camera when I take a picture..and smiling! I’ve captured more pictures of his smiling face in the last week than I have from his entire life.

    • Oh man … this is 1 post that speaks to me.  I’m such a picture person and I’m yet to get one of those “say cheese” pictures.  Good for you.  Snap away mama. 

  226. I love this page! I love reading about every one of these achievements. My boy (10) went to cub scout camp with his dad for a whole week (okay, they came home yesterday one day early). He swam, he managed a canoe by himself, he had to deal with a crazy activity schedule, he did a “team-building” event with 6 other boys on a log, he took part (mostly) in a flag ceremony, and he had a great time. There’s lots more to say about some meltdowns, and many, many breaks, and he spent a lot of time at the campfire talking to himself. But never mind all that. He went, he did, he had fun. I missed him so much I thought I’d go crazy, but I’m even more proud. I know just how hard he worked for this.

  227. bout cried when I heard about the kiss… ok maybe I downright teared up.

    She screamed and flapped at a fly today :D and the dog’s tail and the cat and she even squatted down and watched the ants (ugh darn ants but not the point). It’s like a whole new world she’s seeing. I can just picture her saying.. we have cats??! since when?? lol That cat loved you since you were born darling and let you leave some serious teeth marks on him. She even climbed into a chair and petted him which he was in heaven and patiently waited for her to clutch her way up into her daddy’s computer chair to sit with him. Only took her a few years to notice him ;)

    • Sounds like a busy girl! I think I love your cat. And I felt a little un-noticed with my son on more than one occasion. Kudos to her for being able to take in the world around her. :)

  228. To Jess, Thanks for putting all of this together and giving us a place to brag.

    To everyone,
    I only had time to read through 1/4 of the posts. I thank all of you for reminding me of all of my Aspie’s son’s firsts through your stories – the reading, the toilet training, school, shoe tying, not tantruming, etc.

    At 14, he is trying to self-advocate at the same time as trying to accept others and learn to fit in with society, Sometimes he gets so upset by what he can’t do yet. I wish he could see how far he has come from those days when moms would drag their kids from the playground when we arrived.

    Thanks again for sharing – you made me laugh and cry. You made my day!

  229. Our 3 year old son Sam has pdd-nos & is nonverbal. Sam has been working on adding any verbalization when he requests with a point in one of his ABA programs. Last week Sam points to a bag of cheetos, looks me straight in the eyes and very softly says “ch” I gave him like 10 cheetos and started crying. He’s amazing.

    • Ya know that cry that comes on so hard and so fast that your eyes actually ache from it? Yeah, that’s what this post did to me. I remember that moment so well. It’s so huge. I’m happy for you, dear. :)

  230. I was sitting on the floor playing with a game with my nt 4year old when my almost 3 year old asd daughter came up behind me and wrapped her arms around my neck and said momma. One of the best moments of my life :)

  231. We just finished an acive and social 2 week cottage vacation with no major meltdowns. Anxiety and some time right at the edge yes, but I stopped hovering and holding my breath. She hung out with the other kids on her own and participated in their activities. We were fortunate to have kids hanging around who were kind and inclusive and more than willing to help her out with a game or craft if she needed it. The meltdown will likely come this am as I pack up but that’s OK.

  232. My son goes to the local YMCA Summer Day Camp every other week. He also attends Before and After School care through the Y during the school year. The same counselors are at both, which is very cool. One of the counselors last week told me that he couldn’t believe how much Ben had changed this summer. At school he would play alongside the kids, not really understanding the concept of the game. This summer, he has blossomed in his teamwork skills and he plays the games WITH the other kids. This makes me happy – he’s having so much fun!!

    • Oh wow! That is beautiful. My son has also made progress this summer with his play skills. I don’t care what anyone says. Just b/c my boy doesn’t look like he wants to play, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to. So glad your son is joining in with the other kids. Playtime rocks!

  233. Andrew (6, PDD-NOS) lost his first tooth Friday. He didn’t freak out. Alas, he also didn’t tell anyone, tried to put it back in, and said he “got rid of it” when that didn’t work. It is now a literally lost tooth, but it doesn’t bother me in the least.

    • lol, THAT is a funny story! I’m glad he didn’t freak out, and I hope it is found and not by an innocent bystander who happens to be visiting. :)

      • It was found by a classmate Monday morning (not sure where)! The teachers must have put out an APB on it and asked everyone to be on the lookout for it. Glad they don’t clean over the weekend or anything.

  234. Just got back from a weekend trip to Texas. This meant a plane ride, airports, different bed, car, etc. Not to mention a family BBQ with tons of new faces…which meant handshakes and even (GASP!) hugs! He looked each person in he eye and said hello! So proud of my baby. He hung out in the background quiet and observing. And when it all became a bit much, He DIDN’T Melt down and demand that we go home (as in our last trip). Nope, instead he put on his headphones and self soothed all on his own. I’m so so very proud of my baby. After too many years of short local day trips that often ended in tears (mine), family vacations are now a very real possibility! I can’t say it enough, I’m so proud of of my boy!

  235. My baby boy Brandon, who is now 8 years old went to his first movie at the nearest theatre with his family! An event we’ve only dreamed about has now come true!!

    • donna, that’s AWESOME! we’ve made it through one movie too (well, mostly :)). not an easy feat for our kiddos. hopefully it opens up a whole new world for him!!

      • thats so awesome.
        we tried a movie, did the social story and really prepped sammy. he did awesome. but we forgot to prepare him that when the movie is done you cant just watch it over and over. so heads up anyone prepare for that if your child is a repeat movie watcher!

    • Oh, Donna, your post spoke directly to me! My 8-yr-old Aspie can go to movies now. With headphones, sure, but he’s GOING! I’m so happy your son can share in such a fun family thing to do. Marvelous!

  236. Dropping off my kids at the last day of summer camp Friday, Ms W said. “You know, your son has been such an inspiration to all of us this summer. We just love him (her eyes began to tear up). He is always so happy, so kind, and such a hard worker. He won the camp wide hula hoop contest last week and the whole camp (1st – 6th grades) was cheering him on. Nobody singles him out, as sometimes happens. The kids all genuinely love him. I had no idea until a few weeks ago that he has Autism. It wasn’t until his sister told me, that I looked a little closer and could see….” She then told me that her job during the school year is a T.A. in a self-contained Autism classroom. WOW! This mama was a sobbing, happy mess the whole day. He’s 7.5 and just a few years ago, when he was 3, he had few words and no social or self help skills. Leaps and bounds! Oh – and we will definitely be back next summer!

  237. Sorry, I just have to write here! Not a mom myself, I used to mind a boy with autism so I know the ups and downs and success stories. My own most favourite story is when the boy, 9 years old at the time with very limited vocabulary, called me by my name and pulled me to go to his play room.
    I have been crying while I read all this, you are all so amazing and I love your stories! Bless your beautiful children!

    • oh, eve, thank you! thank you for investing your time and your heart into our kiddos and for sharing in the celebration of their victories. THANK YOU!

  238. we went swimming. sammy is very frightened by water. he use to love baths. one day he fell in the pool and has been terrified ever since. but this tyear he put his feet in just a little then walked to the bottom of the steps. he wants to love it but just cant force himself.
    he has however started verbalizing his anxiety. he says “im nervous(while flapping) and we work through it from there

  239. My son is four and will be five in November. He is finally able to count to five! He is autistic and has been going to early childood for the last two years. His last IEP with the school Nathan was unable to identify any numbers. He and I have just been working on it this summer and he finally gets it!

  240. My 5 y.o. with ASD asked a friend to come play with him on the slide yesterday at a party. My son also did NOT throw up on the floor when he got overly excited at the party…he quietly told me that he felt like he had to spit..so we went to the bathroom and he made it to the toilet. I am proud of him for this! Strange, I know, but I will take little successes!!

  241. My daughter, who has Asperger’s and often acts strangely (majorly doesn’t fit in), finally was admitted into the school Gifted and Talented program after nominating her myself and having the district test her between school years. Teacher’s have such difficulty understanding that intelligence can come in all different packages.

  242. My 14 year old completed a 5 week summer residential program at Riverview School. I can’t even express how much of a challenge this was to a boy who does not like to leave his home. He is amazing – simply amazing.

  243. Yesterday while on a field trip my son made and kept a friend the whole day. This little girl did not once call my son any names or tell his to go away, just stayed by his side and was his friend. I would have not believed it if my daughter was not there to witness the whole day and document it with pictures for me. I was so thrilled I wrote her parents a thank you card for raising such an patient and wonderfully openhearted child.

  244. LOVE this!! My boy is 3 1/2 with ASD. He has started saying “Watch me!” and “Look at me!” when he’s doing something, to show off. And when I’m talking to someone else, he’ll interrupt, yelling loudly, “Mamma! Mamma! I have to show you something!” With any other child, it would be extremely annoying, but I love that he is trying to get my attention! He can be annoying all day, for all I care. :)

  245. My beautiful 7 year old daugher Sammy has made it through the first two days of school without kicking, biting, or scratching me(or anyone else) and has had two GREAT days. My friends have explained that as time goes by, things do get a little easier but I couldn’t find the strength to believe them. I am so proud of my girl for working through so much just to get through the front door. This is going to be an AWESOME year!

  246. I had to share because it would only be fully understood here :) My 6 year old daughter came home from 1st grade today completely bummed out because she had to move to the quiet table at lunch (they are allowed to socialize the entire lunch period but the lights go out the last 5 minutes so they can finish their food. They are not supposed to be talking and if they are they get moved to the quiet table…ridiculous rule if you ask me). Apparently she and 3 of her little friends couldn’t quit conversing……my daughter couldn’t understand why I was chuckling and smiling ear to ear when she told me she “got in trouble”. I reassured her it was ok and just try to remember the rule the next time. Secretly I was thinking….”You go girl, with your big bad talkin self!” Two years ago, she wouldn’t have been able to carry on a back and forth conversation with a bunch of other kids. To see how far she’s come…yup, I’m the mom who’s gonna smile if you take a trip to the quiet table once in a while :)

  247. I’ve been wanting to be able to say this for a while and today I can. My almost 4 year old smiled and said cheese for the camera a few times this weekend. It’s the 1st time ever and he did it multiple times. It came out of nowhere and I can’t be happier.

  248. My son is non-verbal and tonight he said “mama”!! It took a bit of coaching, but just to hear that from his sweet lips made my heart overflow with joy.

  249. We won against our insurance company! We have been repeatedly denied ABA coverage for our daughter so we have been paying out of pocket for her services for the past 3 months. Last week, just three hours before our hearing, they called and said they are going to over turn the denial! But they still feel they have a “rock solid” position………that ABA is experimental.

    • YaY! That is so great! Good for you for standing your ground and fighting for what you know your daughter deserves. Your actions not only benefit your family, but all of us. The insurance companies are going to realize that we’re not going anywhere and we’re not taking their stupid excuses anymore. Congratulations!!!!

  250. BANNER DAY! Ok, so, first time this year that temperatures have dropped below 88 degrees here. Cameron (9 yr old), after walking to the table, said, “My feet are cold.” I think I told him to put on his socks or slippers or something. And then he said, “Are your feet cold, too?” Wait, what? Yeah! Not only did he ask me what I was feeling but he knew that it was at least a possibility that we were not feeling the same thing!

    I told him my feet were not cold, to which he asked “Why?”. I told him I was wearing slippers and he said, “You’re feet are not cold and my feet are cold.” BINGO BABY!

    But we’re not done yet! On the way to school, he told me he knew where his backpack was. Which is Cameronease for “I want my backpack”. (He has insisted on carrying his books this year.) Then he said that the other boys in class use a backpack and he wanted to use his tomorrow.

    What’s that, son? You want to fit in? Abso-freakin-lutely!!!

  251. I love this board! This is my first time posting about my son, Jake. Jacob has been getting of the bus, all by himself, walking to the door (while holding my hand!)

    Annnnnd…. a few weeks ago he mimicked a snore! With no prompting just being silly. I’m a proud mommy

    • A first timer! Welcome, we are glad you stopped by! You should be proud. Those are two huge accomplishments. How wonderful. Grab these small victories and tuck them away. That’s what I always do so that I can dust them off later when things are tough!

    • That is completely awesome!!! Don’t you just want to explode with pride. These things are a big deal and show a lot of strength and desire. YaY Jacob!!!

  252. I know its wrong but I became very excited (as did the teacher, secretly) when my 9yr. old daughter got in trouble for talking at school with a girlfriend she has made!!!

    • That is the best kind of trouble for our kids to get in!!! Woooohoooooo!!! I’m so thrilled for the both of you – a friend – that is so huge! It’s not wrong to celebrate that kind of victory. You go girl!

    • haha, no it is not wrong! Revel in it!! My son’s teacher was telling everyone when she had to call him down for talking in line in the hallway! I was congratulated by every teacher we passed. I say pat him on the back! I’ll gladly take a moved marker for talking ANY DAY! Congratulations on both the chatting and the new friend!!!

  253. Nate, 71/2, now knows how to swim….after 5 years of getting no where with it in swimming lessons he just did it on his own last week. It ain’t pretty ;) but it is definitely swimming! The smile of pride on his face made the tears flow down mine… :)

    • Isn’t it amazing when it finally clicks? My 7 1/2 year old finally learned how to ride without training wheels on his bike about a month ago. I totally agree – it ain’t pretty for him either! Congratulations. That is wonderful.

    • awwww, that smile is worth so much. that’s beautiful that you kept him involved even when it appeared he was getting nowhere. (lol @ it ain’t pretty but it’s definitely swimming haha)

    • WOW!! That is totally astonishing! I couldn’t play that if it came up and bit me (mixed metaphors, but you get the idea). You should video her playing and post for us. That would be amazing to see. What a wonderful talent to have.

    • Well done, what we did with videotaping was put the video camera in a box on a shelf in the room having cut a hole just large enough for the lens and managed to get videos by stealth :)

  254. HI! I’m new here. I just discovered Diary of A Mom, and I absolutely love it! I saw this Brag Page posted on the Facebook’s page for the blog and I just had to share a little accomplishment too, because I know you all will understand! Nobody else does. My little boy just turned four on the 11th, and his birthday present from his great grandmother was a trip to see a Max and Ruby play. I was terrified for him. We all went. I tried the best I could to prepare him, but how do you prepare a severely Autistic four year old for something like that, at least without ruining the fun of the characters being real? Two of his major fears: Darkness and loud noise. I knew both would be happening here. I tried to explain to my grandmother that Owen probably wouldn’t want to stay past the curtain opening. I was thinking, ” He’s so excited to see two of his favorite characters, so I figured, it wouldn’t hurt to try it, right? If anything, I can just reimburse my gram for the tickets…” He. LOVED. it. He sat through the whole thing! He was better behaved than the majority of the other children there, in fact! He even got a light up wand, and acknowledged that he was just like everyone else because they all had wands as well. He said “A WAND! JUST LIKE EVERYONE!” I’m not going to lie, I cried off and on during the play, watching his face light up, watching him interact at the correct times, watching him enjoy something so new and different and handling it so so so well. Anyway, I just thought I would share that :-)

    • Oh my goodness. That makes me teary too. That is such a huge deal. I have been there with my 7 year old who has Aspergers too. Holding your breath, practically panic stricken that he will ruin the performance for everyone else and you will walk out, with him under your arm, screaming and trying to hit and kick you, while everyone judges you for being a crappy mother! I am so glad that it worked out so well for you. What an amazing day that must have been. I’m proud of him and YOU for having the courage to let him TRY it. What a good mama you must be!

    • girl, i know that feeling all too well. the dread and the anxiety that i feel my son will have ends up being all my own, lol. and he teaches me, yet again, to not worry and to be brave, because you never know. you really never know.

      very cool that he said ‘Just like everyone’! We all know what a big deal that is! My 9 year old just did that for the first time the other day. And do you know where i RAN to scream about it? Right here. This place is a godsend. Welcome, friend. :)

  255. We had an IEP meeting today and my son’s OT, who did the initial OT eval back in 2009
    went over his goals…and also talked about how far he has come! He is holding a pencil correctly more often than not, he’s cutting paper by himself, and he is stringing beads like a pro. Additionally, several members of his team praised his manners and his overall cheery attitude. His teacher talked about how smart he is…we all know he has it in there…we just have to help him figure out how to get it out!

    • Progress! What a beautiful word! Sounds like your son is making it in spades. That is so exciting for him and for you! Keep it up, with a wonderful team and an awesome mama surrounding him, he will be sure to continue making leaps and bounds!

    • Sounds like nothing but good news! Sounds like he has awesome teachers, too. Seeing the potential in them is so very important! Congrats on a great IEP! :)

  256. i wish i had found this earlier so this is going to be a little ‘out of time’ so to speak…my baby graduated from HIGH SCHOOL! when we first started all those years ago he was three years old entering non-categorical pre-school as a non-speaker. now we have to remind him to wrap up his topic when he goes on too long. he’s in COLLEGE now, struggling, but he’ll get it. he still doesn’t drive and he wants to have a job. his goal is to prove he’s ahead of his assignments then he’ll be allowed to apply for a very part-time on-campus job. ADHD plus asperger’s is no picnic but i am so grateful he has made so much progress from where he started. we have all been blessed, and more than a little lucky.

    • ADHD plus Aspergers – sounds familiar. My son has the same diagnosis. Your comment gives me hope though. Z is only 7, but some days I wonder whether he will accomplish everything that your son has. So. Exciting. You must be so proud. Especially given he was diagnosed in a time where there was so much less awareness and support than there is now. That is a huge testament to you. You must have had to fight very hard through some difficult and dark times to get him where he is today. It’s incredible. Give yourself a big pat on the back – your a wonderful mom! And as for him, gosh, tell him that he is an inspiration to all of us who are wondering what the future holds for our kids! Keep up the amazing work!

    • i’m kinda speechless at this. this is incredible and gives me so much hope. i don’t let the doubts creep in too often, but they creep in anyway. thank you for posting this!

      (also, both of your last names are VERY common here in Louisiana. Do you mind me asking which state you’re from?)

  257. We’ve been working with Alex (5) for months on pooping in the potty. About six weeks ago, I asked Jess for help, as I was ready to rip fixtures from the walls.

    The best advice I got was to be super patient and take our time. So we did, and he’s been making slow but real progress.

    Today, for the first time he approached me UNPROMPTED and said, “Mommy, I need to put poops in the potty!” And he did so.

    I don’t dare to dream the work is over, but we have come so far!!

    • That is huge! Potty training was almost the end of me. It took a number of years for my son and honestly, we still aren’t all the way there yet! Congratulations on a massive accomplishment. Jess gave some great advice but you were the one who took it! Patience is hard on this issue but you did it! Give yourself a pat on the back. And give your son a huge hug from me. I’m so proud of you both!

    • Those have to be some of the best words you have heard. How terrific! Hope you continue to see progress. We just accomplished this feat with my 5 y.o. in the spring!

    • Potty training is so exhausting. I felt like we were both in training, him for the potty and me for my patience! Congrats to you BOTH! :)

  258. On Wednesday night the six of us went out to Applebee’s to celebrate my birthday. Nicky (age 3 1/2…diagnosed at 16 months) asked for ice cream from the minute we got there. When we finally let him have it at the end of our meal, the waitress put it down in front of him first, then his twin sister, Izzy. As the waitress began to walk away, Nicky said “UM, EXCUSE ME?? Could I have a FORK, please?” The waitress replied, “how about a spoon sweetheart?” to which Nicky replied, “ok, that’s fine.”!!! I know you moms & dads out there reading this understand what a HUGE deal that was :-)

  259. A few years back, my son Tim realized it was my birthday and asked me to take him to the drugstore, a place he had never before wanted to go, When we got there, he told me not to look while he got me a present! He grabbed a random book off the shelf, explaining his mom liked to read, and picked a card. He got money from me to pay by himself, and handed me the bag. The card said, “Happy birthday to My First Best Friend!” I will never forget that birthday.

  260. I’m loving reading everyone’s brags. Your kiddos are all so awesome!!
    My 8 yr old blew me a kiss for the 1st time ever last week. Spontaneously AND while he was on the school bus pulling away from me, his two biggest fears and the source of meltdowns and tears every day beforehand. YAY James!

    • YAY James is right! And YAY for you too. Isn’t is wonderful when your child is FINALLY able to express his love for you. When that happens I feel as if my heart is going to burst with joy. Awesome for him too that he’s overcoming his fears – awesome progress! Just awesomeness all the way around! Way to go mama, you’re obviously doing something right! :)

    • I remember the first time my boy told me he loved me. It took him a while to say it again, probably b/c I started blubbering like an idiot, lol. Great feeling. And great progress!!!! Congrats :)

  261. My son was able to tell his dad about his field trip at school. His dad is deployed and it was the 1st real reciprocal conversation he has had over the phone. he does not like talking ont he phone. But he asked to have the phone to tell dad about his trip. He remembered what they did and where they went some enthusiasm and inflection in his voice. Very proud.

    • Such a big deal! My 9 y/o is still struggling with storytelling so I completely get how awesome it is to hear them tell a story with enthusiasm and inflection. Very Very Awesome!!!

      And on a separate note, ‘thank you’ does not BEGIN to describe my appreciate for the sacrifices you and your family make for our country. I cannot imagine having to fight this without my husband here every night to pick up the pieces. I’m in awe of women in your position, seriously. God Bless you, Erika.

  262. I took my little guy to a restaurant for Lunch. As I always do, I asked him what he would like to eat for Lunch. Normally, I do not even get an acknowledgement that I’m in the room, much less speaking to him. However, this time he looked up into my eyes and said “Broccoli and French Fries please.” I had to dab tears from my eyes so I could explain to our lunch companion the significance of what had happened….

    • Congratulations on your victory, Charity! It makes such a HUGE difference when they can ask for what they want. I remember the anxiety I’d feel trying to guess what my boy wanted, knowing the wrong answer would trigger a meltdown. And as a mom, you want to get them what they want. YaY for broccoli and french fries!!! :)

  263. My son Nolan is six, non-verbal with autism, and in first grade. We live in the tiniest community, so he is mainstreamed with the same kiddos that he has been in class with since preschool. This year has been especially hard on me, seeing the gap between what the other kids are doing and the level Nolan is at. I have been advocating for a special ed room in our school because of this. This week, however, a huge milestone: Nolan wrote his name, BY HIMSELF! I’m a proud and happy mama!

    • I live in a town of 3000. I know exactly what you mean. Good for you for fighting for your boy! and YAY for Nolan for writing his name! Congratulations!!!

    • u know, i work as a nurse,, a client who i visit regularly once told me that her son did not speak until he was 7 and didn’t write until even later and well he’s in his 60’s now and last year he rented out one of his Florida, beach front apartments for my family for 2 weeks XD

  264. I’ll say it again- I just love this page.

    My boy (10) played at the park today with some other kids for 30 minutes during his big brother’s soccer game. He was almost entirely appropriate, and when he got confused and ran off, he came back and got back into the mix. Later he said “it was a misunderstanding. I thought they were teasing me, but they weren’t.” Okay, the kids were all 2-5 years younger. But this was HUGE!

    Karin

    • That is completely wonderful, Karin. Who cares the ages. My son, emotionally, is much younger than his years. What’s important is that he’s interacting. And the ability to sit back and say, “wait, they probably weren’t teasing me”…that is HUGE! critical thinking skills rock!!! :)

  265. I feel like one of the people in the ‘perfect family’ newsletter when I tell people that my 18y.o. brother is a freshman at Oxford University, but the other side of the coin is that my younger brother has Asperger’s and I remember so clearly a time when he was the 12y.o. hiding under the table playing Pokemon at our grandmother’s birthday, or the 8y.o. physicically harming me, the little boy so smothered by depression and anxiety he couldn’t envision a life for himself past his teen years.
    And now my sweet darling brother is wearing jeans instead of soft track pants, he’s making friends and going out to bars and he’s studying Computer Science at one of the world’s best universities… Someone f***ing pinch me!

  266. My teen went stag to his first semi-formal homecoming dance this weekend, after much hemming and hawing. I think I held my breath the whole time, waiting for the call to come get him. It never came, he stayed ’til the end just like everyone else; AND… he danced his first slow dance, ever, with the girl he’s liked since elementary school. God bless her for saying yes. He was so happy. I can exhale now! :)

  267. My five and a half year old went potty in the toilet 2 times today for the first time ever! Plus he got off the bus and told me about it. A sentence and plus he has no hives. In past potty attempts at toilet he got hives from the stress. I know 5 is old for starting any potty success but I feel great right now. He held my hand to house and was proud of himself. I cried, I admit it.

    • uh-uh. don’t you dare. no one here thinks that’s too old. That is a big deal. Period. The hives only speak to how hard it is for him, poor guy.

      And for him to tell you about it WOW he must’ve been so proud of himself. It’s empowering, really. I love when our kids do something that they know is an accomplishment. They know they’re on the right path. It’s encouraging and it’s all about building them up for the next progression.

      AWESOME news!!! congrats!!!

  268. my 13-yr-old is on the phone with her bff talking about boys…..oh my gooooood, my heart might explode!!!!! This is the coolest moment ever!! Typical is amazing….I am so beyond thrilled to be in this moment. The laughter is enough to carry me through through this bumpy week.

    • I love that “Typical is amazing”!! So very true. I know that feeling all too well. When I see my boy being boringly typical, my heart feels like it’s going to EXPLODE! So happy for you!!!

  269. My 7 yr old son taught himself to ride a bike without training wheels today. We had been trying to help him the last couple of weeks and today I could see he was getting frustrated. So before the meltdown could happen I told everyone (we were at my in-laws and they were trying their best to be helpful) to just back off and give him some time by himself before he got worked up. And about 30 minutes later I glanced over at him and he was doing it!! I yelled at my husband and father-in-law “Look he’s doing it!!!” I know He is so proud of himself even if he can’t verbally tell me. I love this kid!!!

  270. After years of wanting to get her ears pierced, but to anxious to do so, my daughter got her ears pierced today! The staff ay our local salon was wonderful! I called to make the appoinment and explained, at length, her story. I shared with them how we’d practiced prior to coming. They followed the steps along with me and without so much as a wimper she sat calmly and now has beautiful pierced ears.

  271. >backstory: BabyGirl was dx’d with PPD/NOS just before turning 3, at the times she had about 20 words. She is turning 7 in two weeks and is mainstreamed into first grade.

    The other night she asked us why “mommy, daddy, and me live in the same house?” and I told her b/c we are a family. She replied “Mommy, daddy, and me are a family. We live together. We are like a puzzle. A puzzle you put together.”

    We were stunned and so proud that she made up her own analogy, and it was fitting (sorry, pun not intended).

    But the best part? The best part was the following day, she was clearly still mulling over the previous night’s convo:

    BG: Mom? When I grew up I can live with you?

    Me: Sure, if you want to, we’d love for you to live with us.

    BG: I want to live with you when I grew up because we’re family and family live together.
    (insert: Awwwww. Sniff)

    Me: Well… Grandma and Grandpa, and Pau Pau and Gung Gung are family too, but we don’t live together. You can still be a family and live in your own house. Everyone still loves each other.

    BG: Oh… Oh! Oh! OH!

    Me: Mmmmm hmmmm?

    BG: Oh! Then when I grew up I want to live in my own house!

    Me (abrupt end to my soft fuzzy feeling): All right, you can most certainly live in your own place if you want. Or you can live with us when you grow up, we don’t need to decide right now.

    BG: I want to live in my own house.

    Me: Ok, that’s settled, but maybe you can live close by so we can visit each other sometimes.

    BG: Ok. (this is significant to us because she’s exhibiting notions of what NT kids feel, the sense of wanting the security of parents but also the force of independence. So glorious that my daughter tests pushing us away and wants to do things on her own.)

  272. My daughter made her middle school poms team! They had their first performance Tuesday. She learned the routine and kept up with the rest of the girls. She will perform at all of the boys basketball teams home games. I cried as she performed and overheard her classmates cheering her on. I couldn’t be more proud of her!

    • That is so completely awesome! I love LOVE love to hear about our kids getting to do the activities that create memories and a life story. I worry my son’s life story will be kinda bleh, lol. Anything adding layers to their experiences is spectacular! and what a great confidence builder!!! you should be crazy proud! congratulations!!

  273. My son started calling out Mommy when he needs me. He started doing this yesterday and I didn’t tell anyone, for fear of jinxing it. But he’s still calling out for me today. I’ve been waiting 7 1/2 years for this. Can’t stop giggling and tearing up.

    • awe, congratulations! it’s the simple things we need, right? there’s some sort of validation in that for me, when my son started calling me ‘mommy’. very big moment, so happy for you! :)

    • So awesome!!! My son finally said mom at 4 and didn’t call me until much later… Now he calls me 100 times a day and no matter what the situation I can’t help but smile EVERY single time- good for you!!!!

  274. My older daughter’s facebook post from today:

    The hardest part about having a sister with Autism is when she asks: “Why don’t you have Autism?” My answer to her “Because everyone is different and I love you for who you are. You are special in your own way.”

    She is 13 and wise beyond her years with a inner goodness. Both of my girls are wonderful and special!

    • yes, one of the silver linings is the remarkable person my NT daughter is becoming. she judges no one. not b/c she tells herself she shouldn’t, it just never occurs to her to do such a thing. and they learn what it truly means to love someone. i’m not saying they don’t lose it sometimes, lol. but who the hell doesn’t?

      congratulations on managing to steer both of them in the right direction.

  275. Time to check in again, I love having something to share. At this time last year, my 12-year-old son E had never touched a trumpet (or even really ever given much thought to one, as far as I know). Last night, thanks to an educational outreach opportunity through school, he sat in with a professional concert band (one of the nation’s premier, I might add) and played a song with them. A song that was not simplified for school kids, but one that fits right into their professional repertoire.

    My kid, who was unable to blow out his own birthday candles a few years ago, puffed out his cheeks (eyes crossed by the end) and hung in there, note for note. You should have seen his grin as he stood tall and took his bow alongside the pros, who kindly fist bumped him in obvious delight.

    What a difference a year makes! Thanks to school administrators for taking the time to apply for a grant for this amazing opportunity. Thanks to the band director who didn’t bat an eyelash last winter break when I nervously asked him if my Aspie son could join the band, and welcomed him into the band family with open arms. Thanks to his teachers, who patiently help him master the instrument and in the process manage to do wonders for his self-esteem. Thanks to his band peers for making him feel like he has a place where he truly belongs in a large, vibrant and often-chaotic school.

    Most days, my son leaves for school and I head out for my morning jog. Oftentimes, my footsteps get heavier as I imagine his upcoming day. His struggles are many — auditory processing, reading comprehension, social skills — to name a few. Most people have no idea that underneath his quiet facade his brain is firing on all cylinders every minute of the school day and he is working at least 10x harder than the average kid to stay afloat. But this morning, remembering his ease with the music, his joy in the collaboration last night, I felt like I was running on air.

    • That is an amazing story (and incredibly well-written). I love to see others accepting our kids. All the advocacy is paying off, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Something that this path has taught me and is still teaching me, is that people will surprise you given the opportunity. There are still moments when I’m disappointed, but the moments when I’m impressed at the compassion and support we receive far outweighs the bad ones.

      Every child has a talent. Good work, Audra, for helping him find his. Self-esteem is priceless.

      • Self-esteem is priceless indeed. It can come from unexpected places, so the key is to keep searching. Lesson learned: never, ever give up!

    • Audra, thank you for this post. The last paragraph is how I feel about my son too. If only people could understand how much it takes for them to get through the day. My son is in high school and is having a hard time, academics are getting tough. But he plays drums outside of school and has a great private teacher who encourages him and builds him up. So thankful for that. Thanks again for sharing, it gives me ideas on seeking more opportunities for him to be exposed to the music community.

  276. Audra…thank you so much for your post. Your story brought tears to my eyes, and pride in my heart for your boy!! Our son is only 3 1/2 – and was diagnosed about 1 1/2 years ago – and as you know, there are good days…and not so good days. Hearing your inspirational story filled me with so much hope for the future – a future that is so hard to see sometimes! Please keep us posted :-)

    • I know, the future IS so hard to see. My son was diagnosed at about the same age as yours and for a long time my vision was clouded by fear and despair. But I can honestly say that the good days have far outweighed the bad and progress, though sometimes slow, has been steady. Everything E does, from pouring himself a glass of water to playing the trumpet, feels like a bona fide miracle. Seeing him thrive in middle school, I now actually do dare to imagine a future for him. Family, friends, work that he loves…it all feels (miraculously) within reach. Keep up the hope you’re feeling, my E is proof that the hard work does pay off.

  277. Matthew (age 3) is PEEING IN THE POTTY!!!! He just did it yesterday on accident but he got lots of praise, love & a cookie. So it “clicked” and now when we take him he pees a little and asks for a cookie, lol. But I’ll take it!! :D

    • haha, hey, that’s just some ABA therapy, is all. :P

      very big deal. my NT 3 year old is still struggling with the concept that something is supposed to happen when she’s sitting up there. Congrats on clearing another hurdle!!! :)

  278. My younger son, J, PDD-NOS has only had ONE potty accident this whole week! Yes. He’s 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten, and for him, this is HUGE!

      • So we had a HUGE backslide after Thanksgiving…. but since Winter Break from school he’s been doing fantastic at home staying clean and dry about 95% of the time. So, just have to find a way to carry it over to school.

  279. My 21 month old son Maddox (diagnosed with ASD last month) just said his first word ever…mama! I can’t stop smiling! The first time I thought it was by accident so I asked him to say it again. He did! I even managed to catch it on video before he got annoyed that I kept making him repeat it! Elated!

  280. My 3 year old ASD son, C, lost his ability to say “I love you” about a year ago. About three months ago he started saying “I love you Mama/Dada.” He even says “I love you too” when I say “I love you” first. It wasn’t forced…he just started saying it here and there and now says it throughout his day- which is “normal” for our family- my husband and I say “I love you” lots. He even started kissing me about a month ago. I love my kids…no matter what….it is just nice to hear that C loves me too :) Love that kid!

    • We all love to hear those words. We’re human. And getting them back from the people we give so much of ourselves to is so very comforting. Showing that they care for others is a big deal with our kids, especially when we start thinking and hoping about their adult relationships. Awesome news!!

      Congrats to C for getting those 3 words back. Congrats to you for getting the satisfaction of hearing them. :)

      • Meant to reply – instead I commented, so here I go again!

        Congrats to you and C! The truth is, and I know everyone here will agree, no matter how AWFUL some of our days can be, hearing those three words truly make all the bad stuff melt away. I am luck enough to hear them from my Nicky – especially at bedtime when he is winding down and all mushy – and the truth of the matter is I freakin’ crave those little words all day long!

  281. Congrats to you and C! The truth is, and I know everyone here will agree, no matter how AWFUL some of our days can be, hearing those three words truly make all the bad stuff melt away. I am luck enough to hear them from my Nicky – especially at bedtime when he is winding down and all mushy – and the truth of the matter is I freakin’ crave those little words all day long!

    Here’s to C and more words to come!!! xoxo

  282. We visit the library weekly. There is a routine (when is there not?). Kate heads off to the kids department and I go to the DVDs and adult fiction. When I cam done, I check on her in the kids department. Well, yesterday I was pleasantly to find Kate with a librarian who she had very politely asked “Excuse, can you please help me find the Mother Goose books?” (yes, she is 13, but I digress…). I stood in awe before asking the librarian if she had approached her on her own. I was told she had come to the desk, asked very politely (and spoke without mumbling!). I told the lady she had autism and had never done that! My eyes were brimming with tears. Oh, those very small things that just bring so much joy. I guess I got my Christmas present early…xoxo!

    • You must’ve been so proud and excited. It’s so reassuring when they make the kind of progress we know they’ll need to function as adults. And no prompting! Very big deal!!! My 9 year old HFA son still mumbles a lot and I’m so looking forward to getting to the moment you were in yesterday. Awesome news!!!

  283. Love this Brag Page Idea…Ashley, my 6 year old daughter, told a joke tonight….why is 6 afraid of 7, b/c 7 8 9….I don’t know if she totally got it but she really laughed when she told it so she seemed to get it was a joke…yeah!!!!

  284. My son A who is 7 made it a whole week with no hands on incidents, no having to go to student support to regain control or to put his listening ears on at school.

  285. My baby made star of the week today in this therapy center. He mastered out of his facilitated toy play protocol (translation: he plays appropriately with every blessed toy on the premises), and has made great strides in his new communicative language protocol ( “Feed me doughnut” is going to get old soon. But not yet.)

  286. We have had a very rough year, really bad. My son asked where my mom is I say planet heaven (long story). He expounded, unprompted, that not to worry he would never leave me and we would be together forever . Shocked the hell out of me that he could take an event and relay to himself that way.

  287. I love reading your stories. I’m a foreign language teacher with a 4 yo son – no special needs per se – but I have a passion for people & families. (also working on an “Autism Awareness Activity in April 2012 at the HS where I teach). I’m blessed by your successes! Some of us “others” DO get it anyway! (We’re NOT a Piper family … never have been!) :)

  288. What a lovely year we’ve had, bankruptcy, homelessness, utter poverty, but all that wonderful stuff HA! HA! pales in comparison with the fact that my son, my sweet beautiful, blue eyed, blonde who is so breathtakingly beautiful that people stop us on the streets, for the first time ever said “I love you Mom!” without prompting! I am rich beyond my wildest dreams!!!!

  289. I spend a couple of hours yesterday reading through this wonderful list of accomplishments, and today I have one to add:
    Trav got his progress report for speech, and had almost as many “slight improvements” as “no changes”! Usually it’s been mostly NC with one or two SI. Also got a note from his teacher today, she said he’s a treat to work with. <3
    This is especially memorable because we started the evaluation/therapy process almost exactly one year ago. It's amazing to see the progress he's made.

  290. My heart was bursting with pride – and joy – to see my son, the same boy who couldn’t tolerate a skate on his foot or a helmet on his head just a few short years ago, playing hockey in front of 47,000 people on the kids’ auxiliary “pond” at the Winter Classic in Philadelphia on Jan. 2.

    Sure that was a big accomplishment. But it was all the stuff that WASN’T an issue that really made me even prouder. He had to wait around for hours. He had to wait his turn to skate a shift with 30 other kids on the tiny rink. He had to watch the actual game on a single TV in a small room with those same other kids. He had to keep skates on his feet for 6 hours. He had to wait for someone to escort him to the bathroom and help him with all his equipment. And did I mention he had to go out in front of 47,000 people and play? NONE OF THESE THINGS DETERRED HIM IN THE LEAST.

    What a way to start the New Year, and to leave the struggles of the fall in the past. Onward and upward!

    • OH MY!!! What a PERFECT way to start the New Year!!! Congrats to you and your boy – I have tears welling up just imagining the moment!! xoxo

  291. A couple of nights ago, K was into his usual “don’t want to go to school tomorrow” routine. But this time he said he didn’t want to do Music Therapy and his class was scheduled to have Music Therapy the next day. That was the first time he gave me a specific reason of why he didn’t want to go to school. I was speechless for just a moment. But did manage to pull it back together to go over some options of what he could do instead during Music Therapy and that I would talk to Ms. R.

    It ended up being a moot conversation since they had a 2 hour delay in the morning and Ms. R cancelled the Music Therapy lady. But now, for the next time, we have a plan.

  292. M son, who can only say about 5 words spontaneously, just put 3 words together in a sentence: “I want snack”! It was right before bedtime, definitely not snack time, but you bet that boy got the best damn snack of his life.

  293. I have been afraid to brag about Nolan’s progress with potty training, for fear of jinxing it. Usually a couple of successes are followed by a week or so of poop horror stories. But I gotta say, I think we have turned a corner here. Four times in the past week, he has initiated going to the bathroom and pooping on his own. Two of those times, my non verbal little man had to find his PEC card and give it to his aide at school. He is almost seven, and shortly after he was diagnosed the doctor told me that the average age for autistic kids to be potty trained was seven. I said something like, “Over my dead body will this kid not be potty trained until he is seven.” We’re getting in just under the wire!

  294. My son earned his self-moderation badge at school!!!!! He wears it every day and every couple of days “champs” get an extra reward (an extra 10 minutes of recess, a 2nd book to check out at the library, a special cookie, etc.). He has really struggled with talking back to the teachers (trying to reason his way out of work) and struggled with appropriate interactions with fellow students. They do not give special allowances for Champ Badges, he had to earn it just like everyone else. AND HE DID!!!!

    • very awesome! i’m fighting my 9 y/o on those issues. which is hard, cuz i tend to do those things myself :P Self-moderation is a big deal, congratulations!!!

  295. He did it – yesterday M tied his shoelaces by himself!!! :) :)
    And the trick was to get him to do the initial cross over, then make the 2 loops and cross them over in the same way- ta da, shoe laces tied!
    Hope that helps someone else.

    • My boy turns 10 in March and he just conquered this as well. And by ‘conquered’, I mean that he can get through all the steps without dropping a lace or having a meltdown. His laces lack tension, but who the hell cares?!? We get how much goes into this task, so CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

      • Oops, message 341 was to Luna.
        Well done to your son and thank you for always responding so positively to these brag page posts.

  296. Connecting the dots, one penny at a time…

    I’m driving Sam to school the other day and a neighbor is getting a new roof.
    Mom: look guys they’re getting a new roof.
    Max (3 years old): awh, I wish we had a new roof.
    Mom: I know, we probably need one.
    Sam (4): well then let’s get one.
    Mom: we can’t right now, roofs cost a lot of money.
    Sam: oh

    A minute later…

    Sam: I know mom….we can take our piggy banks……..and we could….go to Lowe’s……..And we could use our piggy bank’s money…. To buy a new roof. Would that be a great idea? (This whole utterance took about 60 seconds to get out, and the whole time I think, I hope, I know where this is going, telling myself don’t interrupt him, let him finish, don’t finish his sentence for him! And he did!)
    Mom: that is a great idea! That’s so nice, thank you for offering to share your money! I’m so proud of you!

    More than you could ever know.

    • Fantastic for the both of you! Sounds like you’re doing it right!

      It used to be most tempting for me to finish his sentence when he was conversing with a stranger. As he has made progress, so have I. I now stand patiently next to him, letting him look me in the eye instead of the new acquaintance, and if they even look like they may hurry him up, I give them a very clear “be patient and stand there until he’s finished or I may have to hurt you” smile.

  297. Just had to share folks…We’ve been potty training for more than a year now, but today was his first completely dry day AND he said “I want potty” when we were eating dinner out at a restaurant this evening…Oh ma goodness! I wanted to laugh, dance, and cry all at the same time!

  298. After a short verbal exchange with my 13 year old, she asked me, “I didn’t say anything rude, right?” This is an indicator of how much progress she’s made… But it is also an indicator of how exhausting conversations must be for her… having to monitor your every word to ensure it came out the way you intended must be an incredible struggle… I love her so much…

    • it’s heartbreaking. i see the fatigue on my boy’s face after a conversation with someone other than his immediate family. he constantly looks over at me with a “is that right?” look. :(

      Good for her that she’s making progress.

      And in the interest of full disclosure, I am not on the spectrum and I have to ask my husband “I didn’t say anything rude, right?” after we leave every party/social engagement.

  299. AHHHH….I just volunteered to be part of an internal video at my company (6000 people) telling people about MY autism, as a teaser for a panel discussion to be held in April. I am such an introvert, always SO SO nervous speaking in front of groups of people, and have no desire to be on camera. But for this, I’ll give it a go.

    • This is utterly fabulous. Fabulous that they are making the video – fabulous that you are participating. In behalf of my daughter and an entire generation to follow, THANK YOU for doing this. 

      “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Ambrose Redmoon

    • I hope I didn’t misrepresent myself. I should have said MY experience with autism (son age 7 diagnosed with PDD-NOS two years ago). I am NT, whatever than means. Everything else still fits though. :)

      • I’m NT and speaking in front of 6000 people, even by video, would make me hyperventilate. Add to that, you’re discussing something very personal, a topic that easily makes me tear up. NT, Aspie, HFA, PDD-NOS…you’re helping our kids. Period. Thank you for that!!! :)

  300. Thanks, JenK! I hope you know that this entire community appreciates your willingness to open up. We are with you, cheering you on!

  301. My 7-year old first-grader son with PDD-NOS, graduated out of Special Education and no longer will have an IEP or dedicated time with the sped teacher, his aid or OT.

    I’m terrified of the change, but his teachers and aids all assure me he is ready.

    • I understand you being terrified. Doing anything for the first time without the customary supports is scary. He may still need some help adjusting to the change in routine, so a little trepidation on your part is a plus. But with the teachers and aides unanimous about his ability to transition, I’m sure he’ll do great!! Being able to function in a mainstream classroom will greatly prepare him for life. Honestly, I’m a little bit jealous lol but more so, happy for you. Congrats to the both of you!!!

  302. Tina, we went through this last year in 2nd grade. Kenzie’s special ed coordinator told me if I ever had problems to call or shoot her an email. I have already done that with some social issues she was having and both the homeroom teacher and special ed teacher had suggestions and we worked through it. They just don’t “kick them out”, lol , like I told everyone when they took her off her IEP. I too was terrified, but things have gone great. I just missed the team as a security blanket, it was so much easier, lol. But just wait, it will go great and now you just have to deal with ONE teacher. Congrats!

    • I can’t fathom the change of working only with ONE teacher. LOL it will be such an odd experience not to meet with a room-full of people. Congrats on Kenzie gratuating out of services! It is reassuring to know you have been able to consult with sped as needed. My IRL friends think I’m crazy for being nervous, but I knew ya’ll here would understand my trepidation!

  303. I just took my two boys (four years & autistic and his 20 month old little brother (suspected spectrum) to a McDonald’s restaurant. Normally, we eat in the car because the restaurant itself is too crazy. Today, I think I was feeling saucy and decided to try eating in the restaurant. I carried the 20 month old and held the 4 year old by the hand. We went in & ordered. Of course, I didn’t have enough hands to hold onto the little one, the food, AND the big one, so I let the big one loose. Do you know…he walked next to me the entire time we were walking to the table (with one exception where he wandered about 5 feet from me. I said “Johnny, come here please” AND HE DID!). We also stopped at the drink dispenser, where he stood next to me and did not move!. He sat at the table eating his food, and then announced he was “All done. Go home now.” He then walked next to me out to the car (I did hold his hand in the parking lot.) I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because that’s the first time he has EVER done that…it gives me hope that he MIGHT be able to do more of the “normal” kid type things eventually. Go dude! Super happy mama right here!

  304. That’s so great. And all the other patrons had no clue that a totally amazing thing was happening right before their eyes. I’m glad you came here and shared it with us. :-)

  305. I shared this tonight on The Oxygen Mask Project’s facebook page:

    Okay, I don’t mean to sound like a braggart, but if I’m going to anyway I figured this is the right place to do it! Where to begin? First let me say that I’m sharing this very personal information because I feel like I think many of my hero blogger’s must, that if even one other person can see themselves in this post, and it motivates or encourages them to take better care of themselves or not feel so isolated in their journey, than it is worth it. So here we go…In November, I decided something in my life needed to change, what could I control, as I was spinning out of control? I decided it was finally time to ask for help, just like my friend at Diary of a Mom talked about in one of her blog posts. And let me tell you, IT HAS BEEN THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE FOR MYSELF! (And yes, I want to scream it from the mountain top!) So, here I am on the mountain top, or as close as I can get for today.
    I know there are people that think medications are over used, and in some cases they are; but when used appropriately, they can be life changing, if not life saving. I wasn’t sure at first how to ask for help, because I wasn’t really depressed, and I wasn’t really anxious, I was just really, really, really stressed. I figured, “well, there’s no pill for stress so I guess I just have to suck it up” and I did, for a really long time, until finally all that “sucking” started oozing out of every pore of my being, and quite simply I began to suck. I was irritable, agitated with everyone for even the smallest reason, in fact, I had no concept of the “small stuff” not to sweat, because nothing was small to me. I describe it as having no gauge for big or little insults or transgressions. My irritability shifted from once being only aimed at ignorant strangers who were inconsiderate of others, to those that I loved and were my safe harbor; first my husband, and then slowly to my children. I knew that I had a great life, but I certainly wasn’t acting like it. My wonderful husband, whom I am madly in love with summed it up best, when he said in the most loving way possible, “you were always mean to everyone else, but now you’re mean to me too.” That and hearing myself snap at my adorable 2 & 4 year old sons, who were in all honesty just doing their jobs being really good at being 2 & 4, bit by bit I seemed to lose every bit of patience I had prided myself on as having as a really good mom. Yes I have a child with Autism, this is to be expected right? Wrong. Man was I wrong. Prior to having children I always said, “I’m just a b&*ch, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to be my friend” and trust me, I didn’t have a lot of friends, but my husband always loved me, even though I’m sure he thought I was losing it at times. For me to hear my best friend say I was being mean to him now too, hurt and shocked me into change. I married my husband because I love him more than anything, not because I wanted to have children. I never wanted children to change “us” (spoken like a person who had never been married with children before). And slowly after the last 5 years of having two difficult pregnancies, then infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, one of them with Autism, “we” had in fact changed because I had changed.
    My husband looked at me one night and said “why are you so miserable, aren’t you happy?” I was so sad. I was happy damn it! What was he talking about? I’m just really stressed! Gosh, how COULD YOU ASK ME THAT! Sounds pretty happy, right? OMG, what is wrong with me? Cue, November 2011, asking for help.
    I saw a wonderful psychiatrist who said, you know what? You have some type of mood thing, this is NOT JUST WHO YOU ARE, this is not just your personality, you are not just a b*&ch. With proper medication and therapy you can be HAPPY. That is when my life changed started.
    Fast forward 6 months later. April 10th, sitting in Panera enjoying a sandwich by myself. My SSRI is working as it should. Lots of therapy has proven to me in fact – I am not just a b*&ch! I had a lot of stress and a biologically based chemical imbalance in my brain. I’m not crazy, I was just unbalanced. Now with the help of an appropriate dose of the SSRI that works for me, and lots of therapy , and the support of the most amazing husband, friend and children, I can honestly say: I.AM.THE.HAPPIEST.I.HAVE.EVER.​BEEN.IN.MY.LIFE. Did you read that? Yes, I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I never knew that I could be happier than when I married my best friend, or when I had not one, but two perfect little boys, but guess what? I could, and I am! I am so happy, I want everyone to feel this way. I don’t want anyone to waste another moment stressing over the small stuff that they can’t even identify as being small. I am excited to have friends and for people to like me because I’m happy & nice and not overwhelmed by my life. I put my oxygen mask on, and I breathed it in, slowly at first, one small pill, one hour of therapy every Tuesday evening. Then it was as simple as emptying my hot water heater. What do I mean? I took a shower so long that I used all the hot water. When was the last time I did that?
    Every Tuesday evening after therapy I would go out on a date with myself. Do something just for me. All alone. Can you imagine? I’d go to the bathroom alone, read a book, sit by the fireplace at Panera, browse the dollar aisle at Target, whatever I wanted, all by myself.
    Since then I’ve graduated, I’m feeling so good, I have such little to report at therapy, I go once every three weeks now. But guess what? Every Tuesday night I still go on a date with myself. Occasionally I let someone join me, maybe a new friend. Maybe you, as I sit here typing this. The joy has been contagious, I’ve spread it willingly, lovingly; my husband dates himself every Thursday now.
    After 8 years of marriage, and two wonderful sons, I can say with all sincerity that I am the luckiest woman in the world. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I feel like my marriage has never been more solid, that I have never been a better wife, friend or mother, and I am a better person for putting on my mask, emptying my water heater and asking for help. I never knew, I never knew, I could be so happy & my sincere hope is that you will be too. See you on Tuesday – I’ll be the one sitting by the fireplace, with the content, satisfied, fulfilled look on my face, won’t you join me?

    • Asking for help can be so difficult. Sometimes it’s just the asking that does it, a surrendering of sorts. Being happy helps the kids in so many ways. They see our stress, no matter how adept we are at hiding it. Congrats to you for finding and making your life better for you and your family!! :)

  306. My son Matthew, who is 3 1/2 today, tells me tonight before bed, just as I finish singing his lullaby, “Momma, Matthew is happy!”, with the biggest smile on his face staring straight at me, eye contact and all.

    My son is happy. And telling me about it. I just need to share that tonight. To all of you who understand without me having to explain.

    I’m happy too, baby. So much my heart is fit to burst. And so very very proud. Ignore the tears, they’re ones of joy. :’D

    • It’s so important to a mom, any mom, to know that our children are happy. On this path, we don’t get the benefit the parents of NTs get, NT children are so easy to read. My two girl’s happiness/sadness is obvious. My son’s is more subtle, to put it mildly. I’m often left wondering, “Does he know he’s different?”, “Does he feel out of place?”, “Is he lonely?”.

      That’s really spectacular that your son is able to give you that validation. Is there anything better? He’s happy. He’s able to articulate that. AND he did it spontaneously, without prompts. Awesomeness abounds!

  307. Andrew’s birthday (7) was Sunday. He asked us “not to sing the Happy Birthday song because I don’t like it. Just say Happy Birthday Andrew”. And after unwrapping a gift, “I did not ask for that. Take it back and get me a different present.” The beginnings of self-advocacy. It helps to be a silver-lining type of person.

  308. Well, I taped my autism awareness video for our internal company website last week. It’s been circulating for a week now (over 500 views – gulp) and I just finished up being part of a panel of autism parents at work, speaking of our experiences for 1 1/2 hour with 50 people attending. The video was difficult to do, the panel only a little less so. But I can now say I have no problem putting myself out there to discuss my kid and our story. And some parents have already reached out directly to me. Makes me feel good to finally be in a place where I feel I can give something back.