When your child has autism, things that are small challenges or goals for normal kids and families are anything but normal for yours. Not only can it be a challenge but autism can make a normal event downright TRAUMATIZING.
At the end of 2014 we made a trip to the USA for our annual time of fundraising and connecting with family. We had almost a year of therapy and intervention for Keller and his autism diagnosis and we were feeling encouraged at his progress. However, the trip was disastrous on many levels. Keller regressed and was anxious and upset much of the trip. Those would be my feelings on all levels as well - I was anxious and angry. I felt like my family and friends only were able to see the worst version of Keller and I was constantly filled with stress. Truly, more than stress I just felt SAD. Sad about the reality of autism and unsure of our future.
We came back to Africa, regrouped, refocused, and re-goaled. Keller got back on track and continued to make significant progress. We began to prepare for our next trip at the end of 2015. We prepared Keller, we prepared our family and friends, and we prepared our hearts. There was lots of work, but can I admit that much of the work was needed IN MY HEART. There was a part of my heart that was terrified at having to take Keller back to America. I feared he would regress, I feared he would be anxious, I feared it would be difficult, and I feared I would crumble under the weight of it all. If Keller limped through the entire four weeks I know I would barely made it out alive.
There was no choice in the matter. We had to make the trip. We had to take Keller. We had to DO IT AGAIN.
And we are on the other side of it all.
Can I just say that SO MUCH OF SPECIAL NEEDS is simply doing it again. We fall and we fail and we HAVE to try again. We simply must DO IT AGAIN.
I didn't want to travel across the world with my autistic son but I had no choice. There are other things, however, that are also difficult with Keller and I do have the choice to try them again. Often I try and often I do not. Sometimes I am brave and sometimes the fear overcomes and cripples me.
Our time in the USA at the end of 2015 was an incredible success for Keller. He loved being with family, understood each transition and challenge, was incredible and calm on the airplanes, and overall just THRIVED in the USA.
As he succeeded, so did I. As he triumphed, so did I.
With children, with special needs, with LIFE, so many times we just have to TRY IT AGAIN. We can't give up. We can't be defeated. We can't be overwhelmed. We have to try again.
Because when you try again, you have a chance to triumph.
Don't miss your chance.