As we see this year drawing to a close, I look back and reflect upon a year of happiness amongst drama, where my special boy has continued to shine his light, extinguishing the darkness and keeping our little world in the light! What has been obvious to us, is that our Jay had no idea of the drama taking place in the outside world. He remained completely at ease, calm and happy and thus we felt a calmness in his company in moments away from the world, and in the sameness of our days. A comfort in the normality that we insisted was kept in our home. When I look back in reflection on 2020, I see only a happy year. What went on beyond the walls of our home stayed there, and we found a happiness within our own life that was ours alone, and in that happiness was a freedom. A freedom that noone could take from us. I’m proud I managed to shield Jay from the worst of it and that to this day he has absolutely no idea. There is a freedom in that!
We quite literally spent this year having adventures together. We are fortunate to live near the North York Moors and forests and so many of our adventures took place in beautiful quiet places where we could escape and just be us. Forests provided Jay with an excitement as he searched for his favourite animals. Peter Rabbit and Friends stirred an interest in forest animals such as Badgers, Rats, Rabbits,and especially Foxes. From this, Jay would search endlessly on walks, for animal homes. He would stick his head in to the entrance to a hole, and would talk to the animals in there asking them to come out and see him. Sundays have been spent in creating beautiful images with paint of animals which have delighted Jay’s friends in his school class, as he shares pictures of his art each Monday. They encouraged Jay to talk to his class about his art, thus helping Jay’s communication skills and confidence levels. His teacher has said its the highlight of their day on Mondays and each child responds to Jay’s art with happiness. To know that our followers online also look forward to seeing Jay’s art also is much appreciated. Jay’s art is displayed in our hallway at home and is a much valued part of our home. His art projects are his own ideas. They are child initiated and reflect both his interests and his developmental age. In line with his developmental age being 3, it has been the year of questions. Why? This is the word I’ve heard more than any other this year. Why this and why that! I’ve had to have my thinking cap on constantly as he fires this question at me unexpectantly at times and man does he expect an answer and quick! Exploring our local area this year has resulted in us having a much nicer year, as usually in the summer we attempt various trips which quite frankly often end up more stress than they’re worth. Spending time together in simplicity suited us better and so summer this year was a success. Yes we had meltdowns but nothing like the meltdowns of 2019, and a lot of this had to do with the peace as there were no busy crowds to deal with just beautiful countryside. I had to deal with all sorts of issues this year due to rules I did not, and, still do not agree with as they threatened our human rights to freedom, but at least I was able to spend summer in a quieter place and that also made things calmer for Jay to fully explore. We paddled in upland streams, we made dams, we found Butterflies moths and Orchids and foxes, deer, rabbits and Barn owls.
My own personal interest in healing crystals provided Jay with a sensory experience as he explored the shapes and properties of the crystals which helped his mathematical ability to recognise and name shapes. We charged the crystals under the special Halloween moon and Jay had the excitement of laying each crystal on the tray and making a grid with them. His favourite thing is to hold them and watch the light through them, again this provides a lovely sensory visual experience which he also told his class about. Jay made a best friend this year at school. His best friend is spoken of each day in our home, he has never had a best friend before. Now he names all 5 of his class and talks about them and his teachers, a thing he has never done before. His confidence in school has gone up ten fold and his increasing abilities to converse with his friends and respite staff has also developed really well this year. Jay only had a month off during the first shutdown as he needed to go back after 4 weeks for quite a few reasons, and whilst here we homeschooled him. I am an early years practitioner with over 20 years experience so I was able to teach Jay easily as his development age is 3. We turned our garden in to an outdoor classroom. Because of this Jay learned to trust his safety in his own garden again after a 2 year phobia prevented him from going in his own garden. It started with his extreme phobia of bees and wasps and of weather. It was completely the highlight of this year to see Jay chilling in his hammock in July relaxed and happy. What a blessing he was off school because it totally cured him. There was also the question asked of whether every person character or animal was a boy or girl! At least twenty times a day Jay asks me if someone is a boy or a girl. He says that his Thomas the Tank engine train is a girl. I have to say “no he is a boy!” Jay will then reply with yet another character who is a girl. He will then say “Emily is a boy” I have to reply that Emily is a girl. So with the question why plus discussing the gender of everything on the planet I am kept very busy answering questions and kept on my toes with this little boys active brain which quite clearly is developing at a super fast rate now. It’s as if a switch has clicked on and he has begun to think like an active 3 year old who wishes to know everything about their exciting world and I love it! All this from a non verbal child up until age 7. Autism is so exciting as well as challenging and we never take anything for granted. Each and every year brings new skills that may be 7 years behind their contemporaries, but they mean so much because we, as parents have waited so long for them!
We have had challenges this year with Jay yet I honestly cannot remember what they were! Because the good of this year far out ways any challenge because all we see are the skills Jay learned and the beautiful memories we made!