2008

We've seen good progress this year - although it was a bit hard to believe that in the middle months somehow.

Speech is better. He is having more conversation type interactions. He is understanding more. He is asking questions about things. He is saying "Look at me" and being motivated to join in games with others. The other day we went to the park where he saw a little boy from preschool. "Eden. I got a Woody toy for Christmas. Eden. Do you want to play with me?"

He's better with people that he knows - if he's in the mood for them. He quite likes Mr Wardle next door and usually says hello and goodbye and makes a comment or asks a question. Today he asked for his grandparents to come and visit him. He knows the relationships between different people.

He shows great interest in what others are doing. Tonight our daughter was out with friends at fireworks. "Where is she?" asked Bright Eyes. I gave a vague answer but that wasn't specific enough for him. "Where did they go?" "What is she doing?"

He can cope with more noise and chaos than previously, although it's still not a whole lot.

He can deal better with transitions - he doesn't yelp any more - he can get in and out of the car without hassles (most of the time) - he doesn't have to do his specific rituals at the front door any more.

And I can deal better with it too. My everyday sadness has lifted somewhat. I feel more optimistic for him. I find myself treating him more like the other children than I used to. I expect more from him, and I don't panic or shut down as much as I used to.

So looking back, all in all it has been a good year, even though at times it seemed impossible to go on. I don't want to sound falsely happy as though it has all been great and steady progress and everything is on the up and up. There was a period where I really wondered if I could go on with this, and one or two episodes where I felt as low as I have ever felt, and in fact, really truly understood how some parents either harm their children or engage in self-harm.

Thankfully, though, with help and grace from God and from people, I have made it through the year - and I'm ending it with optimism. That's a real blessing - and probably the greatest miracle yet.