We've been trying a little to teach Janey some signs. I resisted it for years, because I think I felt since she COULD talk verbally, that is all we should encourage. But the verbal talking is not making a huge amount of progress, and she was signing "more" all the time after learning it at school. I found a good web site that shows little videos of each sign. I think it's something a lot of people know, so it should be easier to co-ordinate with school than some things. We'll see how it goes.
I'm very happy to have met another woman with an autistic daughter through this blog---thanks, Michelle! It's so wonderful to talk to someone else that has been through a lot of this!
I'm also happy that Janey is starting music therapy at school. It took a long time to get it started, but I really like the therapist and I think it will be helpful.
To be less positive for a minute, I've been thinking about how much more parents with tough kids like Janey need support and breaks and time off, and how much harder it is to get that than it would be for parents of "normal" kids. It's an example of something that should be MORE available being actually LESS available. If Janey were mainstream, I could easily find a day camp, swimming lessons, dance lessons, music lessons, day care, etc. Paying for them might be an issue, but FINDING them wouldn't be. But as things are, it's so very hard to find such classes or care, and if I do find them, they cost much more than they otherwise would. I don't think people sometimes realize how hard just a regular day is with Janey. Imagine taking care of a child that does the kind of things an 18 month old would do, so you have to constantly watch them, but they have the physical abilities of a 5 year old, so it's even more dangerous. Then imagine you have no reliable way to talk to them, and that they are prone to suddenly have a tantrum or start crying at any moment, and you have no idea why most of the time. Then imagine that that is your life, all the time, and there is almost never a minute off. And imagine you love that child more than anything on earth, and want the best for them, but half the time you are too darn worn out to do all you think you should for them. And imagine you have 2 other children, and a house to take care of, and bills to pay. That's my life. And I like my life, most of the time, but I just wish I could get a break once in a while. And I am luckier than most, with a very supportive husband and good friends. Okay, enough complaining.