Well, 9 years ago today, Life With Joey was presented to the world. How far have we come?
Nine years ago, Joey was four years old.
We were just learning that we were Joey's sole real advocate. We were just starting to butt our heads against school staff and school politics. Other people were helpful, offered advice, mentioned some things that might help, but they all had other kids and other jobs and other things to worry about. We have Joey and Andy, and that's all we worry about. If what they need is good for other people, too, yay. But nine years ago, we were still trying to work to get everybody what they needed. We learned- Joey and Andy first. Otherwise, we get left in the cold. They get left in the cold.
We were just starting to realize that Joey would likely need an aide to be in a regular classroom environment. Unfortunately, it took him running out the door from stress and anxiety before we could get one... six years later.
Joey loved Pinky Dinky Doo, Oobi, and Little Bear. He loved Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. He loved to sing Waltzing Matilda.
Well, some things don't change, eh? Only now we sing Let It Go instead of Waltzing Matilda.
I hope you've been enjoying the ride with us so far. I know there are longer gaps now, but getting older means there aren't so many of those small triumphs and quick cuteness, and often what I find worth writing about, Joey and Andy don't want shared. That's OK. This is their lives, too.
Today, I have a teenager and a preteen. Joey may still like Little Bear, but he also likes Mario, and video games, and riding his scooter. Andy is into the Avengers. They like to hang out with their friends, but they also still like bedtime books. Neither is still in public school*. Nine years ago, Andy hadn't even started school!
Joey is better at conversation, but has a unique way of using language that can still cause communication issues. He loses communication skills when he gets upset, anxious, and stressed- good or bad stress. Frustration and anxiety are still our dire enemies, to be battled daily. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we don't.
I have appreciation for Signing Time, Social Thinking, and Zones of Regulation. We are still discovering new methods to work with, new interventions and coping skills to try, new angles for accessing skills even in crisis.
With these tools, Joey now can- and does- run his own snack cart business at school.
That is how far we have come.
Where did the time go?
*Technically, Joey is in public school, but is in a private placement paid for by the school.