They Are Happy. Am I?

Last night I attended another SEPAC Meeting. What is SEPAC? Its the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. They meet in the school a couple times a year and yesterday we listened as Seraphina's in home therapist spoke. She talked about autism. She talked about ABA (my favorite therapy) and she talked about children.

Autism has changed my life in ways I never expected. As I sat with my kiddos today I reminded them how this year has changed us all. Its asked a lot from us. Changes that we never anticipated and yet those changes have been put in place seamlessly and I believe that it was a greater plan than we can begin to understand.

Daily I comb Seraphina's communication "log". Its a PEC chart that has circles and as of our last IEP includes two daily notes about what our Serrie does each day so I can begin working on recall with her. Since her diagnosis, I have focused on her. I focused with intensity. I focused with drive. I focused with the desire of success only a special education parent can have. Daily I obsessed over what she did. Table top activities? What were they? I didn't want to duplicate with fear that I may bore her. I wanted to expand her growth, her understanding, her knowledge. I found outside therapy to help support our Seraphina and I was willing to do anything to make Seraphina "normal".

Last night though, I was reminded that "normal" isn't always what we expect. Normal is different for everyone. I struggle without having that "normal". I struggle that I don't have the life I planned. As I drove up into my driveway last night I came to the realization that I cannot give Seraphina all the therapy I want. I also realized others will get therapy that I won't get, and although that is difficult, it is our journey. It is okay because we have more than others and we are blessed in the therapy we do get. I realized that many of us NEVER have the life we plan. We don't have the dream life we envision but the life that we do have can be a gift if we simply accept the life we are given and use that life to grow us as individuals and as people.

In that hour I realized pouring over daily PEC charts means nothing to Seraphina but time does. As I focus on her individual growth I help her to realize the gifts she has and I understand one thing I heard yesterday as I inquired what the future looks like.

We don't know.

I was reminded by the very wise Principal of our school we don't know what the future holds for any of our kiddos, these kiddos included.

I was also reminded we do know that MOST children with autism are happy in life. I was reminded by Seraphina's therapist that most children with autism are happy no matter if they live life with parents, in a basement, a group home or on their own, they are happy.

As I heard that I almost came to tears but then I understood, I can't change the life I am living. I cannot change her disability or take away her autism but I can give her all she needs and perhaps much of what she wants. I can support her academically, behaviorally and emotionally. I can give her all of me and who she is won't matter as long as she is happy and perhaps when I understand that, I too will be happy no matter where she ends up in life. In reality, this her life is not mine to live but mine to shape and walk along with giving her what she needs to be successful and the best she can be.


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