I’ve said it a million times… I’m an awful blogger. The longer I go without making a post, the tougher it is to sit down and write. Part of what’s added to the craziness is that I went back to work this year. I was a teacher in my former life, and became a stay-at-home mom when Zac was born. Teaching is a passion, but with a pre-schooler who needs me, working a traditional job (teaching public school) was impossible with our schedule. Instead, I’m teaching pre-K at my son’s former church pre-school. I am still able to drive Zac to school every morning, go teach my kiddos, then have an hour (sometimes more) in the afternoons before the bus brings him home. It’s the best of both worlds and I love it.
Working in a pre-school is great in so many ways, but one benefit (for me) is a relaxed dress code. When I taught in the public school system, I dressed up most days. Now, my uniform consists of jeans, a graphic tee, and comfortable shoes. Because I’m me, I’ve enjoyed designing my own t-shirts for work. It’s expanded into selling them to friends and followers.
My newest (and favorite) t-shirt design was actually inspired by my son. Zac was officially diagnosed with autism a year ago. I know every parent reacts differently to receiving an autism diagnosis for their child, but for me it was a relief. Zac was already in an autism preschool program for a year at that point, but once we received the diagnosis we were able to get help for private occupational therapy. A few weeks ago, while I was in the waiting room at his therapy office, one of the speech therapists asked me if I ever made an autism shirt. April is autism awareness month, and she hadn’t found anything she liked. A couple days later one of Zac’s old OTs reached out to me asking the exact same thing, so I decided to draft something up.
I love this shirt. I love bringing awareness to autism. When I had my suspicions about Zac, I actually had somebody (a professional) tell me there was no way he could have autism because he smiled, laughed, and enjoyed being hugged and tickled. If you’ve met one kid with autism, you’ve met one kid with autism. No two kids are the same. When you hear, “it’s a spectrum” people tend to to think of a linear line where autism is categorized mild to severe. It is a spectrum, but there are many spectrums- verbal communication, nonverbal communication, social awareness, sensory integration, cognition, and adaptability. My son didn’t talk until he was 3, but now at age 5 is VERY verbal. The kid never stops talking and asking questions. Zac struggles most with sensory integration. He craves movement and touch, but is super sensitive to certain noises. I am amazed at the progress he’s made through school and private therapy. We’re now at a place where he can say, “mommy, it’s too loud in here.” It’s saved him (and us) from struggling through a meltdown.
Autism has brought some wonderful people into our lives- teachers, therapists, fellow moms… I’m thankful for every one of them, and the impact they’ve had Zac.