I’m rocking him in my arms, back and forth, smiling so wholesomely. He’s looking back at me, giggling and cooing, with a twinkle in his eyes, testing out his newly discovered little fingers and toes.
He’s running around grassy fields in a diaper, teetering and wobbling, barely holding himself up but still being pulled forward by the momentous energy of his excited little body. He twirls around, smiling and laughing. His luscious golden locks hang down his forehead and I can see glimmering highlights all across his head. He plops down giggling and begins to eat a juicy mango, juice gushing down his hands and arms and all over his chin as he laughs and slurps it in delight. He looks at me, laughing and smiling. The sun shines and radiates into a beautiful prism through the loving angles of the tree he sits beneath. I love my life. All is perfect in the world and with this beautiful child.
He runs across a field, in uniform, moving in synchronicity with his teammates. His hair is darker, more mature but still a dirty blonde. His focus is fixed, filled with determination and intention in his piercing jade eyes. His cheeks are rosy and splotchy, a sweat bead dripping from his forehead. His face is soft but angular with defined and chiseled cheekbones. His jersey is silver and his shorts navy, with silver knee socks and his cleats leave their powerful impression in the soil only to rise again and demarcate a new untampered piece of terrain. The sky is overcast yet the tone is powerful and exhilarating. His body moves gracefully and steadily across the field. His teammate passes him the ball and he carefully assesses the field. With one steady move, he seamlessly kicks it into the goal. The crowd cheers. He smiles in delight and self-satisfaction, blushing and excited. He runs over to me and says, “I did it, Ma!” His teammates lift him on their shoulders and he is lauded and praised for his triumph. He soaks it in. He beams.
I walk down the hallway, allowing my toes to relish in the plush rich carpet. I stop in my tracks as I hear soft giggling through the door. I inch a little closer and push my ear up to the door. “Do you think Mom can hear us?” “Noooo, silly! She’s all the way downstairs!” Then, laughter and more laughter. I tip-toe backing away from the door, relishing in my precious children.
His posture is tall and deliberate. His black cap and gown are the perfect accouterments to his fortified stance. He is standing at the microphone. I can see his lips moving, but I can’t hear anything he’s saying. He pauses and smiles. Before I know it, the audience stands up, clapping. He bows and walks off the stage, diploma in hand.
In the day-in-day-out reality of working towards autism recovery, I would guess that most of us focus on all of our child’s behaviors that we want to eliminate. We may even go so far as to desire specific things, such as speech or self-help skills for our children. But how many of us actually go a step further and allow ourselves to visualize exactly what we want for our children and what recovery would look like?
I don’t know about you, but I can say for myself that I have never seriously done this. I may have experienced flashes or glimmers of a dream or vision, but I quickly stop the tape and force myself back to reality.
The more and more I place my attention in life on healing myself, I’ve started discovering a lot about goal setting and attracting the abundance we want in our lives through visualization and creating clear and specific goals. (If you want to learn more about this, you can check out my blog on making vision boards). But in some ways, even a vision board is vague. When it comes to autism recovery, for your specific child, most of us have never stared such a vision in the face.
When exploring why I avoided doing this more deeply, I realized that I had been afraid of having my hopes up and then not seeing my dream actualize. I’ve actually even had this idea for a blog for the past few months and scared myself away from writing it each month until now! This is perfectly understandable, however, the more I have worked on my own personal growth, the more I seem to keep seeing certain principles reverberating in my direction. One of these is the principle of abundance and manifestation. In order to reach our dreams, we have to be daring and bold enough to actually conjure them up! We have to decide exactly what we want, to go for it (and then be open to whatever the universe offers us). By letting go of the outcome, we can’t be disappointed when things don’t go exactly the way we want. In fact, often times, things go even better! Without specificity, though, we may say we want autism recovery, but we are actually avoiding creating a physical tangible space for it in our lives!
I tried taking my own advice and had the most incredible visions. I sat in a comfortable place with dim lighting and closed my eyes. I held my hands to my heart center because that is where I felt I would receive these images. I found myself smiling throughout most of this activity.
Most of all, I really feel closer to recovery. I have all of these amazing images of my son which actually even went back in time as well, to his infancy, but in my vision he was neurotypical from the start, without any of the developmental delays that I noticed early on. This too was especially nourishing for me, and helped me feel closer to the healthy child I believe my son is and wants to be. I purposefully cut myself off from “seeing” what his career path was or any of the other major life choices that would come in adulthood so as to not push any of my own agendas on him –especially because now that his recovery feels more tangible, I am even more excited to watch him decide these things for himself and to watch him unfold.
If you feel like you are constantly working towards recovery, but can’t actually even fathom what it would look or feel like for your child and in your life, I invite you to try this little exercise. Allow yourself to let go and believe that the sky is the limit for your child – there is no vision or dream that he/she cannot reach!
And yes, I am taking my own advice as I write that – even though he did look cute in those doctor’s scrubs. Oh, crap! I wasn’t supposed to say that part. D’oh! heeheehee…shhh…..
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When my son was 22mo old an EI case worker/coordinator came to my house. We had already had the Speech eval but were waiting on results. I decided to put in a request for an OT eval based on the ST recommendations. In the midst of talking & paper signing, she got distracted by my son. She looked at him running amuck thruout the house & stared at him for a good 2.5minutes. Then asked, “Does he do that often?” I said “do what, run all over the place constantly moving like he has ants in his pants&cant sit still? 24/7.” The look on her face changed to the most serious, standoffish, coldest expression. With a hopeless, negative and know-it-all tone she says the following in a secretive voice:
“I hate to break it to u but u do know that he will never EVER be able to speak clearly in full sentences, right? If u r lucky he may be able to say 2 words together at times but only when he gets MUCH older, closer to adult age. Also, when he turns 5, he WILL NOT be able to go to a regular Kindergarten class in a regular public school. He probably wont learn to read or write either. He will need to attend a SPECIAL kind of school for the rest of his school yrs. Then after that, he will need to live in a community assisted living type of facility.” Huh? Say wha? Ok lady u gotta go, I thought to myself. I pretended to be too distracted to pay attention as I showed her the door but truthfully I heard every last word.
I’d be lying if I told u what she said didn’t faze me. She scared the shit outta me. It took me a while to stop replaying those words over & over in my head. But as time passed and I became preoccupied with therapy&biomedical research, I thought about her words less & less. Then my son started to make progress. I realized, he is proving this b¡t€h wrong more and more everyday!! Hahaha
So when was the next time I thought about the lecture of doom? 3.5 yrs later on June 8, 2011. I thought about her words as I cried tears of joy sitting in the audience in the multipurpose room of my son’s public school and watched him sing “Firework” with the rest of his Kindergarten class. Then he walked across the stage when they called his name for his diploma, he shook hands with his teacher, said thank u, and went back to sit in his spot!
He has far surpassed the hopes & expectations that I envisioned him reaching, even in my wildest dreams! Having faith in him & his abilities has taught HIM that his potential is limitless. We have faced many difficult challenges. Still do. But I am dedicated bc his determination is my motivation. THANK GOD I didn’t believe that woman! Instead I believed IN MY SON! Recovery is possible-NEVER GIVE UP!!!
I really like this post! I have a dear friend that recovered her daughter now age 13 and she asked me to create this vision for my daughter as I began biomedical with her at 20 months old. I did it from that moment 6 months forward, 1 year ahead, and 5 years ahead. It made a big difference for me to gage her progress. She was where I envisioned at 6 months, almost there at 1 year forward and now is recovered (managed with diet and supps) before my vision of our family at 5 years.
It really helped set the pace for her recovery in my mind and create a “can do” in my spirit during the hard times. I cant wait to compare my vision to reality when she turns 6 or 7 (now 4).
These visions are so vital. Loved the detail of your post. Its perfect.
I love it, Princess! I firmly believe that dreaming is the first step toward where we want to go in life and if we are not attached to the outcome it doesn’t matter what the near or distant future actually holds (perhaps, then, it holds even more dreaming!). I think of all the creations in the technological world…were they not first dreams in someone’s mind? What if the Wright brothers had cast off the ideas of flight when they first surfaced as ‘impossible?’ Our world would be quite a different place. If we just look all around, we can see the tangible realities of the power of dreaming….my goly, even this internet connecting us was at first a vision! I love the Walt Disney quote: If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Thanks for being an authentic inspiration to so many others on the autism journey and on living life to its fullest!