"I see a light at the end of the tunnel"
Autism is the hardest thing that I have to deal with in my life. It has been hard to see my son not able to connect with his environment neither with people and his family, which includes me. He didn't like me for a while. Now, I know he loves me! When there is time of struggles between Tommy and I, it feels very typical sometimes because I have the same struggles with Francis. Of course, there will always be struggles between Tommy and I because I am also the person whose challenges him the most and the person who disciplines him. Tommy is re-learning self-help skills not matter how long it will take, his dual diagnosis is not an excuse for him not to be independent, it makes the process slower and challenging, but not impossible. If Tommy doesn't behave, he gets disciplined and many times he has gotten in time out. I am also his biggest advocate because I believe on him beyond the labels. I am also his biggest cheerleader because I am immensely proud of him! Because I am his mom first.
We knew since Tommy was a baby that he has aptitude for being a swimmer. So his first swimming lessons were at 9 month old. He has always enjoy the water. But after he got Autism, I truly didn't know what to do to help him. So my mother instant said: Go for swimming lessons. I talked to other mom whose daughter has Down syndrome and recommended a great swimmer instructor who is also a Special Ed. teacher. Her dedication to teach kids with special needs to swim is above and beyond. The first year in swimming lessons was extremely hard for Tommy because of Ataxia —The Ataxia symptoms where shown during the hospitalization in 2011, but they were completely overlooked by traditional medicine. We spent about 3 years in swimming lessons, and it was all worth it!
It was the first time Tommy joined his cousins to swim and Jump (8/27/2016)
Swimming under the water is something
Tommy has been trying to learn on his own since
last year. It was great to watch him following his
cousins because he was learning from them
how to swim under the water. But the best of all being part of
what the rest of the kids where doing.