“Your son will receive physical, occupational and speech therapy as part of his early intervention plan.”
This was one of the first things my parents ever heard from a therapist. As young as I could remember I received some form of therapy. This was due to my earliest challenges with autism. Along with being nonverbal till I was 2.5, even though I started speaking at 3, were speech delay, motor challenges, dysgraphia (a handwriting disorder), twirling, auditory processing disorder, severe sensory integration dysfunction, and expressive and receptive language disorder.
I could remember to this day going to Hackensack Medical Hospital and playing with Play-Doh to help strengthen my hands and walking on balance beams to help my coordination. These would be my favorite things to do in therapy. I couldn’t list out all the other things we would do because this article would be 10,000 words by the time I was done.
If you ask me today looking back what the most difficult part of receiving therapy as someone on the autism spectrum it was not seeing progress at the end of each day. At that time I didn’t feel like I saw any progress at all. I came in with a mindset from the very beginning that I wanted to succeed right away. Although the therapists were able to write in their reports to my parents that there was small improvements I just saw a struggle initially. It led to my emotional issues to rise while I was still trying to communicate even my basic needs to my loved ones.
There was not a lot of hope back then from my perspective but what my parents and therapists did for me is something that I can never thank them enough for which was them believing in me. There positive reinforcement and them seeing the bigger picture made me start to see it in myself. So while the time it took to see the therapies help me was definitely my most difficult challenge I can say today that it was all worth it. As years went by I had to go to less and less therapy sessions until the time I graduated from high school where it had practically stopped completely.
My advice for those kids out there with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism who are having difficulties with their therapies is to understand that it’s not a race, but a marathon. Think with the end in mind and the rewards you will receive by sticking at it. I know it may be challenging to see now but one day it will all come full circle like it has for me now.