Since almost day one of my son being diagnosed with autism, I never wavered from the notion that all was not lost. I truly believed that somewhere inside of Matt, the light was still burning and his ability to learn, assimilate, communicate and function was not just a hope but rather a given.
And while admittedly the journey has been slow at times, he has come so far from being the little boy who was once trapped inside in own mind to becoming a child who continues to experience and enjoy life through the eyes of a 7-year old.
In just the past month or so alone, my wife and I have seen — and heard — things that we’ve never before witnessed with Matt: mostly good, of course, but occasionally naughty as well. He is seven after all.His number one behavioral spike, I think, continues to be centered around his talking and communication. He’s not only playing and interacting with his twin brother but also other neighborhood kids. He’s beginning to dictate the story-lines and inserting himself into to the pretending and imagination.
It was just the other day Matt was watching his twin play the Wii and I heard from behind me an excited voice yell: “Go Martin! You can do it, bro!”
It’s that type of encouragement and interaction that has been a long time in the making, yet I couldn’t be happier.
However, he also invited a mother, her teenage daughter and friend — who were just walking around the neighborhood — inside for a tour of our house. And they accepted! Needless to say, my wife was a bit shocked at the unexpected house guests.
Just about every morning I go through the routine of asking Matt if he had a good night sleep, what he dreamt about, is he ready for school, etc. More times than not I get one word answers: “Did you sleep well?” “Yes.” “What did you dream about?” “Nothing.”
The other morning, however, I went in to wake him up and he immediately tells me: “Daddy. I had a bad dream.”
Surprised, I asked if he could tell me what he dreamt about; although not expecting a very detailed answer. His response: “I was on the tracks and I couldn’t get home.” Then he added “I failed.”
Other than reassuring him that it was just a dream and that he certainly didn’t fail anything — I wasn’t sure how to respond. On the one hand, I was proud that he said as much as he did; providing more details than he has in the past.
On the other hand, he admitted that he had a bad dream, talked about how he somehow “failed” and was clearly sad about it.
Still, this is something I’ve always hoped for: the day when Matt would tell me his dreams; to open himself up, if even for a moment. That said, I’m not sure I was ready for this.
He’s come a long way and there’s certainly a long way to go still. But to see his fight, his determination, his growth and to watch that light become brighter with each passing day is such an incredible experience.
Mr. Miller I love reading your post about Matt. They are always so honest and heartfelt at the same time. He quite an amazing 7 year old child who is making leaps and bounds through the world we live in! He always had amazed me and I know he will continue to do so. He surely is not the little boy I met 4 years ago. Wow!
Go Matt go!! (And Martin, Mike, and Monica!)
My daughter also enjoys inviting random people to come to our house…luckily we live 2 miles out of town, she’s young enough to not know how to give directions (or our specific address beyond the road), and no one has taken her up on the offer.
Give her time… Somehow they all learn to read or use GPS.
That’s great to hear Michael. Matthew is a typical kid. You hope for somethng and hope for something and then the young lad does it or says it or thinks it in not the same way you figured and you wonder if he is ok. I guess that’s typical parenting too.