Two Steps Forward, One Step Back When Raising a Special Needs Child

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

When my oldest was diagnosed with a developmental delay, I knew that someday he would grow out of it. Then a few years later my 2nd little boy was diagnosed with Asperger’s. This was a whole different ball game. He would always be autistic. That would never ever go away.

However, that doesn’t mean we don’t make progress or that he never improves. It means that we will work with him over the years to be able to grow and learn how to live in this world.

We started with ABA therapy and now we have a great team who work with him at school.

When I look back at where he has been, we have made some amazing progress. For one thing, he gets on the bus like a pro. He used to just stand there refusing to get on it. I also used to get calls a lot of the time that he was having a horrible day or that he needed to be picked up. Things have been so much better this year in second grade. For one thing he matured so much over the summer. It was only 2.5 months but he seemed to really start to get the whole school thing.

That is why yesterday I was in for a shock when the bus tried to drop him off and he wouldn’t get off because he had a bad day. The school tells me what happens and it gets sent home in a folder. He knew he would not be able to play video games and earn a token for his day. I was able to get him off the bus and he was in tears. I had flashbacks to 1st grade and started to panic.

“How will he finish the end of the year? We still have 2.5 weeks to go?”

“How will he get on the bus in the morning? He is refusing to go back to school.”

“What did I do wrong? Everything was working. It was working!!!”

That is what flashed in my mind when we got into the house. I was worried. I just didn’t know where this was coming from and I wasn’t sure how I was going to calm him down.

I took a few breaths and remembered that we have come a long way and that with Asperger’s, it is very much two steps forward and one step back. And that’s exactly what this was, just a step back.

I talked things over with my son. We talked about what went wrong, why he got so upset and what we could do to make it better the next day. Within about 30 minutes he was calm and eating his snack. He assured me that tomorrow would be a much better day. I hope it is, but even if it isn’t, I know we have come such a long way with him and that this is normal. It is all a part of him figuring out the world and working on his behavior. I also have an IEP meeting later this week so I can bring up what happened. We will also be planning for third grade which makes me a little nervous.

I am hoping that he will mature more over the summer like last year and that third grade can be a great year for him. I don’t want him to always hate school and I don’t think he really does but it is hard to hear when he is having such a frustrating day.

Two steps forward and one step back is such a part of his journey. It probably always will be.

Do you go through this with your special needs child?

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