We are almost exactly 18 months post-PDD diagnosis for Ethan. When I think back on those dark days of the Summer before his diagnosis, I am amazed. He has come so very, very far. I was terrified then. What was wrong with my child? What was wrong with me that I couldn’t apparently parent him successfully? How were we going to fix him? How long could we continue to chalk his behavior up to him being the youngest, very immature, and slightly spoiled? And then the light bulbs went off. Granted, I bawled my eyes out in those weeks following that day in the psychiatrist’s office. And I still am frequently moved to tears and frustration. But what a difference between then and now. He frequently engages in conversation (granted, it usually has to be about something he is interested in, and he has to initiate the conversation). He will usually respond to new people albeit with prompting. He is tantruming much less. He can often check his anger. He is playing *with* other kids rather than just playing next to other kids.
But boy, do we have far to go. I know how he is in the context of home, and in our daily activities. I do not know how he is in the context of school or at other peoples’ homes. I’m learning though. I get frequent feedback from his teacher, for which I’m completely grateful. But in talking with the social worker, it was brought home once again the level of his anxiety at trying new things, at any break in routine, at the thought of what lies in the future (next school year). We have become comfortable in managing his triggers at home.
We have come so far, and yet we have so far to go. I try very hard not to get ahead of myself, not to worry about what we might deal with in the future with E. He will grow and change. He will have new triggers. He will face new challenges. I try to remain focused on the here and now. I try to focus on all the progress he has made. But sometimes I get caught up in how far we have to go, in how much help he needs in learning to deal with his anxieties, his anger management, his social skills. There are times I am completely overwhelmed with how far we have to go. And on those days when he is completely sideways, I just want to curl up into a ball and cry.