To get caught up, check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the story before you check out this latest guest post:
From An Autism Dad...
Wow, looking back and reading what I had written previously is tougher than one would think. Liam has progressed in a great many areas but with his progression has come a whole new world of challenges.
Liam now has an 18 month old sibling that let's just say enjoys his role as an antagonizing little brother. When Liam's only sibling was Robyn (who is eight years older than him) there were few problems as the age and gender gap lead to them having little in common and while they liked each other, they basically ignored one another. Now with the emergence of his little terror of a brother - who has taken a keen interest in the toys and activities of his older brother - the problem is much more challenging.
The two kids are opposite in personality as well. Liam is quiet, artsy and likes to play alone. Erik is social, loud and rough. Given that neither child has great verbal skills. It can lead to some interesting moments in our household. The coping and patience is has taken to maneuver and successfully negotiate in this environment can be tiring and very stressful. This is where communication between parents is critical for success. A united front is not just advisable but necessary.
An important lesson I have gained is to really not stress over minutia. Keeping an 'even keel' is critical. Success should be celebrated but it is good not to get too high because that sets one up for despair when regression does happen. As I said in a previous year, being a parent of a children with Autism is like running a very long marathon - although it is more apt to say it is more like doing an extended Tour de France with its multiple stages. You have to know when to pace yourself; know when to kick; and when to pull back. By keeping an even disposition, it reduces the stress that comes with being a parent and saves a lot of energy for the times when it is actually needed.
Last but not least, I have continually come to appreciate life in its entirety. One needs the bad times to appreciate the good ones. One needs the trials to appreciate the successes. This may sound trite but love is boundless; it is endearing; and it is the source for hope. I am so lucky to be around so much love thus my life is indeed a source of happiness as a result.