A couple of nights ago before dinner, my five year old son Tristan asked me to read a Bob Book from his ABA therapy box. I was tired and in a hurry, but sat down on our tan cushioned folding chair in the therapy room, and I told him to read the book to me instead. To my shock and amazement my son read the entire Bob Book all by himself and without any cues or help. Minutes later his father walked in the door from work and I had Tristan read the book to him again without help. I jumped up and down like a crazy mother with coals under her bare feet, and whirled my son around the therapy room like we were on a dance floor. Light beamed from his eyes and his smile was so wide I thought his two cute dimples on his cheeks might pop.
“I am so excited and proud of you!” I proclaimed to my sweet little man. “I did not know you could read! What a great job you did T-Man!”
The next morning when his tutor came for her two hour session, I asked her if Tristan had memorized the Bob Book. Angie said, “No, I cover up the pictures so he can only see the words. He has been working on that sight words book for two weeks now, and he can indeed read it.” I gave Angie a big smile and thanked her, because there was a time where reading seemed like an astronomically lofty goal for my son.
Barely two years ago, my son was completely non-verbal for the most part, and now a little over the age of five he read his first book on his own to me. As a mother of a special needs child with autism, this moment will be remembered for the rest of my life. The ability to read a book could seem trivial to some, but if you can read, then you can go far in your life. His mind opened to an entirely new world of thoughts, ideas and imagination.
My guest blog post from yesterday “A Mother’s Denial” at Strive For Progress really hit home for me, because if you read it you can see why I was so thrilled at the achievement of this milestone. I know my son is a hard worker and extremely smart in many ways, but sometimes you can get overwhelmed with the day to day issues of raising a child like my son. As is commonly said, I need to remember to stop and smell the roses more often, and make sure I praise him each day for his hard earned work.
For my readers who wake up everyday to my type of battle, be the Warrior Parent your child needs. Remember to NEVER give up hope. My son with autism can read a book, and I am sure there will be many more to come.
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