It has been over a year since we received Avery's Autism Diagnosis, and we have learned to take it day by day. There are good days, and unfortunately, bad days, but we are learning to take them all in stride. I don't claim to have it all figured out, I'm not even close, but I have learned to celebrate every success and triumph.
To some it may seem silly to get so excited over every little thing. The truth is, that with Avery, and I'm sure most children who have special needs, there are no "little" things. At times it seems like everything is a struggle, and I know how hard he has been working to get it right. It doesn't matter if it is learning a new word, or completing a task that we have been working on, success is success, and I will take them all and celebrate every step of the way.
For parents who do not have a child with special needs, it can be hard to understand and grasp this concept of celebrating every success. Before Avery's diagnosis I was one of these parents. Sure, I got excited with major milestones, like crawling, walking, and first word, but making a big deal out of every time he said "mama", not so much. As we began to notice his struggles, with language and some skills, we began to realize the importance, for him and us.
Celebrating The Small Milestones
A perfect example is Avery’s potty training. For most kids, between the age of two and three (sometimes a little younger or older), a child will show signs of being ready, and their parents will begin working on potty training. Though it can take, on average, anywhere from a few days to a month, there are basically three steps that are celebrated. Step one-sitting on the potty, step two- peeing, and step three-pooping. Pretty straight forward and a rather simple concept. Now lets look at it with Avery.
Step One – Avery showing signs of being ready. He started this stage at 18 months, in fact we thought that he was going to be an early potty trainer.
Step Two – Making it to the bathroom door. Yep, though he seemed physically ready he would not even enter the bathroom most days. This stage lasted over a year.
Step Three – Sitting on the potty at all. This stage came and went in-between stage two. We would have a day where he might sit on the potty for a few seconds, then it may be several months before he would do it again.
Step Four – Sitting on the potty for more than a few seconds. We tried everything, even resorting to letting him bring his iPad, in hopes it would distract him long enough to pee.
Step Five – Peeing. Finally, after over a year and a half of trying, he went pee. It was mostly just a case of perfect timing, but it helped motivate him enough to make him interested in trying again.
And that is where we are today. It has been over two years of potty training, and Avery is peeing in the potty about 75% of the time. He has yet to poop, and still needs reminders to go “try” and go potty. We have learned that motivation and positive reinforcement works best with him. EVERY time he goes potty he gets a “great job”, or “good try”, for those unsuccessful attempts. It is an everyday struggle, and one we will continue to celebrate every success until he no longer needs us to. Will it be another few months, or a year? Who knows, what I do know is we will support him every step of the way.
Through the Storm: Part 4: Success is Success, No Matter How Small
A Very Splunky Mom – “Anonymous Mother”
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