Katyknits

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Anniversaries January 11, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — katy @ 6:11 pm

January 12th is my one year anniversary blogging.  January 13th is Owen’s 2 year anniversary at his school.  These two year anniversaries really do me in.  Sigh.  When we left MA, it was with the promise of a better life for Owen and, subsequently, the rest of us.  His school program is top notch—one of the best—based on the studies of children with autism.  They follow the ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) approach that was shown to recover 48% of children with autism—to teach them to be indistinguishable from their typical peers.  The rates at this school were even higher. 

Among the first parents I met was another family from our town.  Her son, 5 months older than Owen, was nonverbal when he began the program.  A year into the program he doesn’t stop talking.  At 5, he knows over 200 sight words and goes to a typical preschool 3 afternoons a week with a shadow.  This was my baseline. 

Owen started off with some difficulty.  While he had a 35 hour work week in his home program, he had never been to school or day care.  I put him on the bus and he was gone from 8am to 3pm.  After school he had another hour of home teaching.  Now he receives 2 hours of home teaching.  I can’t blame him for being overwhelmed and a bit resistant.  Sitting for lunch, with his classmates was one of his biggest challenges.  He even came home with bruises on his back from being held in the chair. 

Of Owen’s progress, one of the teachers said she had never seen a child “skyrocket” like him.  I smile now thinking about it.  Owen, my nonverbal child, had all of his vowel sounds in isolation and the majority of his consonants—less the more difficult ones like “f”.  Next they would build up consonant-vowel combos and consonant-vowel-consonant and then words.  I couldn’t believe they could teach a child to talk using this method.  It seemed like it would take forever at this pace.  But I had heard from other parents this method worked.  And I believed.

I don’t know where or when things changed.  When the “skyrocket” changed to a “speed bump”…but it did.  Owen would gain a word and then lose it.  Kevin and I reinforced the best we could and can the teaching at school.  We try to generalize it in our natural environment.  No one would admit Owen was at a plateau.  

Owen should have begun preschool this September.  If he had gone down that expected path…at the very least, we hoped he would start this month.  I asked them to lay it on the line and they said he most likely won’t be returning to district anytime soon.  Now I must begin to formulate my arguments for keeping him at his school rather than sending him to another school that costs less and isn’t as good.

How does any of this relate to knitting?  Knitting was my solace after Owen was born.  Even before he got his diagnosis, I needed the knitting to get through the difficulties of life with this little boy.  I honestly feel like knitting kept me sane as I blamed myself for my failings as a mother.  I had raised two pretty well behaved children—Cameron and Gracie.  Why couldn’t I do the same with Owen?  We have some of the answers now.  Owen is not like his siblings.  Of course, he is also like them in some ways too.  However, I don’t feel like knitting.  My passion for knitting is waning.

Wow, I wrote that a week ago but didn’t post it.  The feelings are pretty much the same right now.  Owen surprised his teacher today with his ability to spell his name using Alphabet train cars.  It destroys me what is locked in side that mind of his.  I wish I could find the key to let it all out.  To let him out.  He is a remarkable child.  I wish I knew him better.

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21 Responses to “Anniversaries”

  1. Annie Says:

    Oh Kathleen, it just breaks my heart to “hear” the anguish in your writing. I know how much you love your children and want the absolute best for him. Owen is so lucky to have you for his mother.

    I hope you find something to give you solace~ if not knitting, something else.

    You and your family are in my thoughts.

  2. Amy Says:

    I too hope you can find solace or atleast escape in something just for you.

  3. ann Says:

    😦 I cannot imagine what it must be like for you. You are a wonderful Mother, going to bat for your children time and time again.

  4. Norma Says:

    I echo what all three before me have said. I hardly know you, but your love for your children comes through in your writing. It makes my heart ache to think what you go through on a daily basis, just to get through. My heart and head are with you.

  5. Rossana Says:

    I shall keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. No one could ask for a better, more loving mother.

  6. Christy Says:

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Leave the knitting alone if you don’t feel like knitting. Sometimes we need to feel the dark feelings to appreciate the light.

    Hang in there.

  7. Kerstin Says:

    Oh, Kathleen. What to say! Hugs. Don’t give up hope. I didn’t feel like knitting for awhile either. But it feels good to take some time to focus on something “outside” of life each day. I’m forcing myself to exercise more, too, and that really does help to re-energize and get those endorphins flooding the brain again. Try to take some time out for yourself — its good for both you and Owen.

  8. Sharon Says:

    Knitting, raising kids, life…we do it all one stitch at a time. In the year I’ve been reading you, Kathleen, you’re pretty tuned in to what you need. Be true to yourself. Knit when you feel like it. Blog when you feel like it…these are simple choices. You, your family…bring the wagons into a circle and channel your taking care where it matters. Wish there were more to offer.

  9. lillium Says:

    For all the times you’ve touched my heart with your understanding comments at my site – thank you. Don’t knit if has become “work”. You know my prayers are with you. I’m not going anywhere – I enjoy reading what YOU write because I’m interested in YOU.

  10. Laurie Says:

    Katy~does it help for me to say I do know how you feel? How I could barely look at photographs of William taken before his diagnosis, because that was the boy I wanted back, and he had been eclipsed by this cruel doppelganger who was him but wasn’t? How angry I was at this “other” child for stealing my perfect boy? How I felt so guilty for feeling this way?

    I’m so sorry, sweetie. I wish I could tell you that it will all be okay. I sit here and weep for your pain, and for mine. There are no easy answers.

    Sometimes it comforted me to know that it wasn’t William who had changed, only my perception of him. He is who he is, and nothing can “cure” him. The best I can do is to try to help him find his way, and try to find my own, as well.

    Find peace where you can, Katy. Cry when you need to, but not for too long. I wish there was something else I could say.

    I send you love.

  11. Orli Says:

    Dear Katy. I understand your feelings. I’m not sure what I can say. Only this. If it’s true that thier is a reason for everything that happens in this world (I’m not saying that it is but if) well, it’s because you are such a remarkable mother that is willing to do what it takes (moves to where thier is the best school, spends one on one time at home., etc.,), as I’m sure you know some parant’s aren’t bothered, well it’s because of this perhpas that this challenge has fallen on you, because Owen is the LUCKIEST boy to have such devoted parant’s who really care about helping him progress. I belive in my heart that Owen will come along way b/c of all of the love you show him. You set a good example to me and to many others. HUGS!!!

  12. Susan Says:

    Oh, Katy, hang in there! I know there aren’t any easy answers, but you’ve got a bunch of knitting bloggers who are there for you, whether you knit or not.

  13. Mary Beth Says:

    Yes, Katy, we are all here for you and thinking about you, knitting or no knitting! Your writing is so true to the heart! Owen, and Gracie and Cameron are lucky you are their mom. Take some time to do what feels right to you!

  14. Joanne Says:

    You’ve moved me to tears today. I think there is an underlying case of January doldrums going around the blogosphere, but you have bigger challenges.

    There is a lock, but there IS a key. There is a treasure more precious than gold in there. I truly believe that the fierce dedication of an exceptional mother is going to win in the long run.

    The alphabet train cars are a sign of hope.

    But, I worry–if knitting was the thing that kept you sane, are you getting enough support for you in this tremendous struggle? Are you hunkered down within your family, or are there support structures for parents of kids with autism? Are those too painful because you end up comparing other kids’ progress with Owen’s?

    When my son had his big struggles with depression a few years ago, I coped in some very unhealthy ways: packing on extra weight, waiting til the house was empty for long screaming crying fits, after which I would pick myself up off the floor and go call his school. I hope you can find some healthier ways to cope than I did.

    Another rather crazy thing I did was to demonize and personify his depression. It was a huge black monster, trying to devour my child. It made him hurt me emotionally, it tried to push me away. I realized if I gave up, the monster would win. My child would be lost. And if I didn’t stand and fight for him, as messed up and unloveable as he was, who would?

    Please reach out if there is anything I can do. Meanwhile, my prayers go out to you and Owen.

  15. Collette Says:

    I wish I could give you a hug. I wish there was something I could say or do to make you feel better–to make everything better. Please remember to be gentle with yourself and to remember to do things sometimes just because YOU need them.

  16. Karen Says:

    I was close to tears reading your post. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through. Your kids are very lucky to have a mom like you. Do what you need to do for your own sanity, whether that be knitting or something else. BIG hugs to you.

  17. Katherine Says:

    Take care of yourself, it’s a long, hard slog and it takes stamina. I know, my son who has something like Tourette’s mixed with Asperger’s is 21. We knew something was wrong from first grade on, but it took years to get any kind of diagnosis or help for him and the delay in getting treatment has left him (IQ tested at genius level) sitting in his room playing games and unable to function in real life.

    Having a diagnosis and program for him this early is good. It means there’s hope.

  18. Rachael Says:

    I have no idea what to say, except this: I send hugs and kisses and warm, loving thoughts across the miles to my friend.

  19. Christine Says:

    I, too, am at a loss of words of comfort for you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Your child(dren) are lucky to have a mom who cares so much like you do. Being a mother is the greatest joy, but can also be the greatest sorrow. I never realized the scope of the responsibility of being a parent until I actually became a parent. If it were as simple as putting on a coat or a hat to keep the chill away or providing a hug and kiss to wipe away some childhood injustice. Nobody ever really talked about the REAL life challenges we face being the best parents we can be. Take care of yourself to be your best for those you love.

  20. Cindy Says:

    I wish I could wave a magic wand. I read you for you. I so agree with Kerstin, make sure you take ENOUGH time for yourself.

  21. Angi Says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Even in the sorrow of it all, your love for Owen makes you shine. Be gentle with yourself. As I’ve written before, I think you’re an amazing mom.


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