Sunday, December 9, 2012

It Comes in Waves - 2012 Blogging Advent Calendar Day 9

We work so hard. We see so many improvements in some areas, while others seem to be in a holding pattern. Then there are the times we worry that she is regressing.

Bianca goes through cycles. We notice that she will have a flood of breakthroughs for a period of 3-4 months and then it is followed by some kind of regression. It is almost like a wave crashing onto the shore. The wave advances and beats down on the sand that is in its way and then retreats. But as the wave returns to the ocean it carries some of the sand with it and slowly over time erodes the beach.

The beach full of obstacles has taken one hell of a pounding. Bianca has been talking up a storm. She has been answering questions. I actually fear writing about it, if by chance she loses some of the ground she has gained. Don’t get me wrong, she is still plainly autistic. I never know how to describe her because I am not a big fan of “High Functioning” and “Low Functioning” labels. As I have said many times, she is “Bianca Functioning”. We aren't talking about full “How was your day?” conversations here. But if she clearly wants something to eat and I ask her, forcing her to tell me… she will say, “Want cookie”.

I can hold her favorite stuffed animals in front of her and ask, “Who is this?” and she will tell me. It is so cute, and you don’t realize how much you take for granted communication with your other kids until you have a child that struggles to communicate. The best are the moments that SHE chooses to communicate. Often times it means that she comes up to me, climbs up on my lap, grabs my face and puts her hands on my mouth to try and make me mouth whatever it is she wants to say. Usually it is a request for a favorite show, or something to eat or drink.

This morning I woke up to hear my mom (who along with my dad were staying with us, and are morning people) exclaim, “Oh no! Bianca!”

Even half asleep I knew what was going on… a Code Brown. It was 5:45 a.m.; I had gotten home from work and to bed at about 3:00 a.m., so Bianca’s getting up did not alert me. I wake my wife up and hand off Bianca to her so that she could give her a bath, while I cleaned up the mess… and it was a mess.

It has been a while since we had a Code Brown. Bianca has been showing when she has to go potty by getting naked. Not an ideal way to let us know, but it certainly gets the point across. As I cleaned up the mess, I started to worry about regression. Could we lose the gains we have made in the potty training department? I wasn't panicking, but it was just a sobering thought. As I scrubbed, Resolved and wiped down the carpet, toys and walls another thought crossed my mind. As it stands, this is no longer a daily occurrence.  How great is that? Bianca’s playing with poop was something that for YEARS I never talked about to anybody outside of my immediate family. Now I can talk about it openly, honestly and keep it in perspective.  When I post about Code Browns or Poo-casos on my Facebook Page, I get support and understanding and most importantly the understanding that others are in the same boat.

Could this be regression? Maybe. But just like that ocean wave pounding the beach, Bianca will beat this too... it might just take a little time.

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