Real Progress Takes Time, So Don’t Give Up

Imagine all the things we make comments on, the good repartee with friends and family, the words of love and caring for our family, and now imagine there is no way to say them out loud.

I am autistic, and it is cool, but it also comes with challenges. I cannot get my mouth to form words, but I have so much to say. This was my life until I was seven years old. That was when I learned a different education-communication method called RPM (Rapid Prompting Method). Progress was gradual from choices, to stencils, to letterboard, to typing on my device.

Getting out of bed is a challenge sometimes. It is so hard to focus my mind that it makes my head hurt. Sometimes I am determinedly fighting cobwebs in my brain, and sometimes I am careening from one thought to another.

This daily struggle is accentuated by additional worries about studies and tests and my future, making it harder to concentrate. I don’t think of getting the best grade or of being perfect but of putting in my best effort. This thought has helped me to be happier and less stressed.

It’s hard to sit still when my body needs to move around in order to calm down. Painful are the memories of my childhood. I made so many attempts to follow along with my classmates, but my social graces were generally misunderstood.

My classmates were able to sit for circle time but this was so difficult for me. My body had a mind of it’s own and wouldn’t listen to my good brain. Attempting to sit was a bitter struggle that took all my concentration. I blame how very sensitive my sensory system was at that time.

I want to thank the wonderful OTs who helped me experience sensory regulation. They had to make adjustments in my schedule for sensory breaks and have accommodations in the classroom, but how awesome to get an age-appropriate education. Education is the goal of every student and getting an age-appropriate one should not be a battle.

Travel in an airplane seemed impossible at one time. My family did not fly on vacation for eight years. We took sixteen-hour road trips instead. Then we decided to take a chance when we went to see Soma Mukhopadhyay for the first time. We did not take a connecting flight. We flew to Dallas and then drove to Austin.

It was a successful trip. All my body wants to do is move, but I was able to stay in my seat. Snacks and watching movies helped. Playing games on my iPad made time go by faster. My travels have taken me as far as California and Quebec City and Florida. My dream is to be a travel writer.

I remember the progress I have made and this helps me overcome my current anxieties. Certain negative habits are hard to get over. Hanging in there takes courage. I have achieved goals that at one time seemed impossible. I had to make a total commitment to achieve great goals. I know that I can achieve my dreams.

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3 Responses

  1. A travel writer whose writing forces there to be autistic-friendly practices by airlines, + records their existence to help make them continue to exist, will be of great value to all travellers. For all, autistic and not, need there to be more careful and less cattle-like air travel.

  2. It was very inspiring to read your story, it gives me great hope for my son, thank you ❤

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