I know this is a quilting blog, but I'm going to get a little personal in this post. After about 11 months of various visits to an assortment of medical and educational specialists, two weeks ago we got a diagnosis of high functioning autism for my oldest son, who will turn 5 next spring. This news isn't a big surprise, but with it comes an array of emotions. Validation that my concerns weren't imagined. Determination that we can make up for lost ground. Bitterness that we'll have to advocate so strongly for him (in the schools, with insurance companies and doctors and with life in general). Guilt (even though rationally, I know there's no basis for blaming myself in any way). Thankfulness that we have no cognitive worries with him. He is curious, happy and eager to learn. These emotions and so many more. The psychologist who tested him seemed to indicate that with the right therapy, we might want to re-visit this diagnosis down the road, so perhaps he can overcome the struggles he has with social interactions, with his language delay, with the sensory issues he faces and with the anxiety he sometimes feels when he is overwhelmed with it all. Behaviorally and socially, we have some work to do. Although my background is in early childhood development and elementary education, I haven't worked with many autistic children before. I may not be an expert on autism today, but I'm determined to learn all that I can to help my boy. I have no doubt that he will grow up to be a brilliant man who will make me very proud (he already is and does). Our expectations are still as high for him as they've ever been. He amazes me each day with the progress he is making. We stay busy with school & speech/OT therapies. Life for us is rich and for that I am thankful. He is in many ways fortunate to be our child because both my husband and I have unique perspectives and experiences that will serve us well as we navigate these uncharted waters.
So if I've seemed distracted, now you know why.
I have been sewing when I can, but my focus and my mind have been elsewhere. I'll be honest with you. I'm still in the grieving stages, but I've also been taking serious action, learning more about our options, meeting people who can relate to our situation and planning our present and for our future.
To that end, I've decided to take some steps towards starting a consulting business helping families who are in similar situations. With my education background and with my experience of the past year in trying to get a diagnosis and services for my son, I am pretty well-equipped to help other families with the process of getting evaluations and other services from their public schools. I won't be employed by the state or by a district, rather I'll work directly for the families in obtaining the best possible services for their kids. This school year, I don't have as much availability as I'll have next year when the boys will both be in school in the afternoons. I've been spending a fair amount of time this fall towards this goal & have decided to shut down (at least for now) my Etsy shop. Generating sales in my shop requires more time than I currently have. I'm better off working on my business plan when I have a spare minute.
I will continue to quilt. It is truly my therapy and one of my only creative outlets. I've met some of my favorite people through quilting and I've learned some skills that are very practical in my daily life.
Last week I made this Advent calendar for my kids. It's a hit. It's bigger than it looks (around 3 feet tall) and it's quilted. The pockets are exquisite wool and the brown and green fabrics are shot cottons. The backing and binding are a red plaid that I've had for years, intending to use it for a tree skirt that never got made. Next year, I'll make a giant tree skirt. I made 5 ornaments for the tree, but lost motivation to make 20 more. Will work on that after Christmas, I think. The kids are mostly interested in the presents in each pocket, anyways. :)
I'll end my post by showing you some of the crafty Christmas goodness at my mother-in-law's house.
Merry Christmas and thanks for listening, my friends. :)