An Open Letter to 2009

Dear 2009,

Welcome! We’re glad you’re here! 2008 was a hell of a ride, but don’t think that you need to do any one-upping to impress us. Not at all. We’d like it just fine if you can keep things mellow.

I suppose I should define ‘mellow.’ You see, in a house where autism resides, we already have a lot happening on a day-to-day basis. We have a 14-year-old autistic boy who learned to talk but has trouble regulating emotions and behavior, navigating social interactions, dealing with sensory integration, and understanding the purpose of education and how it relates to him. We have his mother who is trying to homeschool him and work two jobs and manages to write something, cook something, and clean the house every now and then. We also have his sensitive 12-year-old brother who is figuring out his place in all of this.

So by ‘mellow,’ I mean that we don’t need people getting lost or hurt, trees catching on fire, pets getting hit by cars, computers and – heaven forbid, the Xbox 360 – crashing, furnaces going out, or bouts of food poisoning. We don’t need any more loved ones dealing with cancer or getting in car accidents. You might be thinking that I’m being negative or critical of 2008, but I don’t mean to be. 2008 was in many ways a positive year, with some big forward strides, and we learned a lot. We are more resilient and capable. All things considered, we are happy.

And we’re looking forward to a great next year of life – a year full of goal achievement (including a graduation), enriching experiences (including a problem-free trip to the Grand Canyon), and even a new nephew/cousin! We have great expectations of you, 2009. And we think you’ll do just fine.

Best wishes,

The Teen Autism Household

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to 2009

  1. momofm3

    Yes, best wishes for 2009!

    My son Emthry will be 13 in August, so I’m starting to experience the dread of these upcoming teenage years. His body is well into puberty, but the communication issues leave him at an expressive age of about 8 months old. He’s non-verbal, and my “New Year’s Wish” is, as it always is, that he finds a way to unlock that door. We’re exploring assistive tech, and we use PECS and sign somewhat already. The poor kid just doesn’t quite get the picture association to an idea/activity/item yet. Years and years of ABA have gone slowly there.

    I loved reading your other postings, and I feel for ya on the sensory issues, and can say AMEN for myself not having those fears of the supermarket. I’ve always taken him with me, the ex being a lazy bum (…one reason he’s an ex ;), so he had to “get used to” the sights and sounds in the place. Now I have to chase him to make sure he doesn’t get lost. He has a “route” that he takes around the building, and once in a while he’s a little too interested in the butcher shop (!!!). I’ve even incorporated some academia into the trip, and I ask him to get me BANANAS, or an APPLE. He picks out his box of cereal, and I am amazed he somehow he manages to find the raisin bran, not knowing how to read and all…at least that’s the impression I have…maybe I’M wrong!

    Well, anyway, good luck with 2009. I like to subscribe to the belief that what doesn’t kill makes me stronger…we were hand picked for this job…what an honor!

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  3. Michele Kohan

    Reading your blog has brought with it many emotions and relief that I am not the only parent dealing with these issues. Your insight and love for your son and family has touched me very deeply, and for that, I thank you. My son was just diagnosed, at age 13, with high functioning autism. Although the issues you mentioned have always been there, I only recently found out why. It is a relief to finally have the answer and to know there are others out there like you who have been down this road. Thank you for sharing your insights!

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