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When Therapy Is Working for My Son With Autism

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I often share our son’s successes, the seemingly minor milestones to some that mean so much more to those in the autism community. Sometimes it’s a new food he has started eating. Sometimes it’s a trip to the store without a meltdown. Sometimes it’s saying a full sentence and shocking us all. Always it’s the direct result of therapy that’s working. 

Some of these therapies have recently come under fire for trying to change the core of who our children are. Some are questioned for their effectiveness and quality.

Unfortunately, we have experienced therapy that doesn’t work with a few therapists who just didn’t get it. Thankfully, we have also worked with a lot more therapists who measure their own success by the difference they make in our son’s life. And that difference has been remarkable.

When therapy is working, sessions are filled with laughter and smiles. When therapy is working, he is learning and growing but thinks he is playing.

When therapy is working, obstacles are overcome and anxiety is lessened. When therapy is working, there are calming hugs and deep breaths when things get a little harder.

When therapy is working, there may be tears of frustration when he can’t quite get it. But there are definitely tears of joy when he finally does.

When therapy is working, he is learning to regulate his senses and in turn is beginning to make sense of the world around him.

When therapy is working, the therapist listens to him and watches him to gauge how things are going. When therapy is working, the therapist listens to us, his parents, to know in which direction we should be heading. And we listen to them to learn the best way to get there.

When therapy is working, his siblings no longer fear they will be hurt by him. They hug him. They laugh with him. Because therapy is working, he is learning to know how he is feeling and how to cope. He is learning how to tell us those feelings, too.

When therapy is working, we are not focused on changing who our child is. We are focused on giving him everything he needs to be the best version of himself.

When therapy is working, they are peeling away the obstacles that try to impede him every day so we can see him.

When therapy is working, he is respected and loved, and the results are beautiful.

Follow this journey on From the Bowels of Motherhood.

Originally published: November 4, 2015
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