(Pictured: Dar’s brother’s picture of his brother)

Very briefly, because these very few words count for very much:

This week, Dar is doing two things better than he’s ever done them. If I ever tell you that Dar never makes any progress, refer me back to my own blog post from this week. That’ll show me.

The first is identifying common animals and common objects in books. This is something we’ve worked on, and he’s been okay in the past, but today, whoa. Waiting outside the speech therapist’s office today, I found a book I had never seen before. I will grant that it’s possible that Dar saw it before – not there, I’m always with him there – but at school. I’m going to pretend he hadn’t, though. I opened the book, read it, and on each page I would say “show me the cat,” or “point to the dog” or similar. Well damn if he wasn’t 100%! And these were cartoon representations; he had previously had more success with actual photos. The cow looked like a big Bessie cartoon. He got it, though. He got everything. I was loving it.

The second is one that actually means more to me: Yes and No. I find it particularly frustrating that Dar stumbles with a facility that most 18-month-olds have mastered. His “yes”es aren’t awful, but you have to know what he means when he says “uh-suh.” The thing is, he says yes when he means no. And until recently, he rarely said no as a first response; it tended to come out after I reacted with frustration to his initial “uh-suh.” He literally wasn’t grasping the concept of yes and no.

Until…maybe…this week. About a month ago I suggested to his ABA therapist that they focus on this particular skill. We workshopped ways to make him say no. I even briefly sprayed Dar with a spray bottle (as one uses for small plants). More, we tried foods he doesn’t like. I think maybe they’ve been doing more of the latter.

At speech therapy this morning, his therapist was stunned. She said his yes’s and no’s were terrific and maybe twice as good as they’d ever been.

Granted, he could backslide. He could be forgetting other things that I’m currently forgetting he knows. Well, forget that for now.

One of the main reasons that parents never get over that autism diagnosis is, well, their kids can’t get over autism. They tell you it’s a permanent disability, and that your child will never get better, but perhaps learn some coping skills. This is the sort of revelation of information I would not wish upon my worst enemy. Some insane part of you never quite accepts it. You have to believe your child can improve. Well, either that or lose yourself to despair or drastic actions.

Today is not a day of despair, at least, not in Dar’s little world. Today is a day of Yes, he can.

And when appropriate, No, he won’t say yes.