Global News

December 27, 2012

Autism and the ultimate goal: independence

Liz Becker

Navigating autism takes time – lots and lots of time. It took until Matt was almost 5 years old for speech to come, and then it was very few words for years after. It took almost 7 years to get out of diapers and almost 9 to completely be potty trained without the occasional accident. It took until he was almost 7 years old to get use to a change in routine, to age 12 to agree to try a new food item, and he was somewhere in his early teens when he started to pick out his own clothes. Autism slows down progress, but the good news is that it doesn’t stop progress. Doing something new just takes more time to learn.

I was never in a hurry – except for speech. Speech has a window of opportunity, so we pushed him to speak. Matt saw a speech therapist from his diagnosis at two and a half years old to his day of graduation from high school at 19 years old. Everything else was mostly accomplished with a bit of steady pressure and a great deal of time. Matt was given equal time to flap his hands and spin his toys and time to focus on learning something new.

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