Sometimes it feels like Janey isn't making progress at all, but lately, I've been thinking about the ways she really is progressing. The ways can be subtle and hard to notice, but they are there.
Reports from school lately are encouraging! Mr. Ken, her ABA specialist, told me this morning he's going to start adding more names to a list where Janey finds her own name, as she's getting better at it, and her special ed teacher wrote yesterday that Janey was doing some great letter identifying! I love hearing things like that.
At home, the big thing I've noticed is how much better Janey listens and follows what we say than she used to. I can tell her "close the fridge and bring me a spoon, and then I will give you ice cream" and she'll do all I have asked, if she's motivated. She will pick up on little parts of what we say. I told Tony the other day I was going to take a shower, and Janey loves to have a shower now and then. She managed a sentence that was original to let us know that---I can't remember it exactly, but it was something like "I want have a shower now"
She also shows good planning very often. She knows what has to be done first before she gets what she wants. Last night, she was very eager to go outside, but was in her nightgown getting ready for bed. She went and found some pants, and put them on, and came to us and said "You want to go outside" Pronoun reversal and all, it was great, although we still didn't go out. This morning, she had a notion it would be fun to stop at the chip store on the way to school. I wasn't getting her ready as quickly as she thought I should, so she went and found two socks and brought them to me. They were unmatched, as our socks often are, but I was impressed she knew she needed socks, and also that she understood numbers well enough to know she needed two. We still didn't stop for chips!
The negative part of me looks at all this and says---yeah, she's seven. She can do things that would be fairly normal for a two year old. But the positive part of me knows they are progress, they are steps that are necessary for her to work her way (and our way) toward things being slightly easier for her.
Some of it, the feeling of progress, can't be captured well in words. She just seems somewhat more self-possessed, somewhat more aware of herself and of the world. Not always---sometimes she still seems completely unconnected to us or anyone else, but fairly often. She is looking older, and acting a little older. I am very proud of her. Nothing comes easily to her, or almost nothing. It's all work, and I need to keep looking for signs that her efforts and ours and the schools are working. It helps to keep us all encouraged.