This morning, I was doing a little reading back of my posts, something I do now and then. My first impression---"Wow, that woman sure does like to write a lot!" Yes, there are over 700 posts. That's over the course of seven years, but it's still a heck of a lot of writing. Another thought was about the early years. For the first few years, I was using the blog mostly as a diary. The posts are far more dashed off and, in my own worst critic mode, poorly written. I don't think it ever occurred to me that anyone would be reading them, and at first, nobody was. Now, I do get a fair amount of readers, which still amazes me every time I think of it.
It struck me that most people probably don't have the time or desire to read through 726 posts to get the story of Janey's life so far. I decided to pick out 10 posts---posts about what I would call turning points in our journey with Janey. They aren't my 10 favorite posts, or most popular posts, but they are ones that write about moments I think back on as instances that changed something in our life with Janey. Here they are, in order of oldest to newest...
The Bad McDonalds Trip
Up until the day of this trip, I felt able to take Janey most anyplace I felt like. She might have tough moments, but they weren't such that it made a scene or made me feel I couldn't handle her in public. I remember this trip to McDonalds vividly as the day I realized everything had changed, and I would be no longer ever just jumping in the car with her to go wherever I felt like.
The First Wonderful Music Moment
This might not really have been the first, but it's the first that stands out in my mind as a time that Janey completely surprised and delighted me by making me realize she could communicate things in musical lyrics and melodies she could not do in other ways.
The First Medication
This was, after an extremely tough stretch, when we gave in and first put Janey on medication.
Deciding Where I Stood
I think this was the first post where I felt I had earned the right to decide for myself where I stood on how I was approaching Janey's autism. Up until then, I didn't feel I'd earned my stripes enough to do so.
Giving Advice to Non-Autism People
One of the first times I felt I was part of a community and that as part of that community, I had something to say to those who might not understand the community completely!
There Isn't Any Respite
Up until the point written about here, I think I still had a feeling that there was respite for us out there, if we really looked. After giving up on what we thought we had found, we realized there are kids with special needs and then kids with specialer needs, and that Janey was not the first kind.
The Next Level of Tough
This is what I remember as the beginning of the next era with Janey---when it felt like the stakes were getting higher and Janey was entering a new stage of tough behaviors.
The Biggest Sleep Nightmare
Sleep has been an issue for Janey right along, but this night was the apex of it. Knocking on wood a thousand times, it never again has been quite as bad as this fabled night.
The End Of Inclusion
It build up to this day for a while---the IEP meeting where we formally agreed Janey would leave the Henderson Inclusion School and enter a program with autism-only classrooms.
The Hospital Month
A summary of the month Janey spent in first a regular hospital and then a psychiatric ward.
This posts point a bit of a negative picture, but that's not of course the whole Janey story! Right now, again, knocking on wood, Janey seems happier than she has in quite a while. We are hopeful her latest medication and the changes we have made and the schools have made in how we work with her, and of course her own maturation and remarkable spirit, has started another turning point, a very hopeful one.