13 July 2011

I know how far Julia has come, but sometimes I gulp and realize how far from typical this child is. And she has no understanding or knowledge that she is different from her age peers. At 10, I cannot ask her to go upstairs and retrieve something and expect that she will come down with it. Many times I cannot even expect that she will come downstairs without much prompting, pleading, scolding, or going up to get her myself. All of that makes the idea of asking her for help moot. I cannot ask her to take any responsibility for any of her possessions. Sooner or later, I can expect that she will open what she was told to leave alone not matter how tightly it is secured and close what I asked her to leave open. She does not seem to know the meaning of many words or understand much of what I ask of her. This may be a deficit in auditory processing. Tell her to go out the back door and she is following the arm raised pointing in the direction, not the words.

I know she will mature some. I know she will change and grow, but I wonder how tightly I will have to control and monitor her adult world. She is 10 and will change, but she was 5.5 once and there has been no miracle, just hard work and hard won, slow and often tedious advancement. Yes, she is reading but the effort put out by parents, teachers, and therapists has been tremendous. We all work on numbers now, methodically, slowly, carefully and with much patience. But she cannot tell you what comes before 7 or whether 3 or 4 is greater. Concepts like last, all, some, before, after, adding and subtracting are mysteries.

Her friends are her therapists and other grownups who are understanding and kind. She wants to play with children but she does not understand what to do. Her instincts are distinctly wrong.

I wonder about 15. I wonder about 20.

There are days when I am optimistic. Possibly foolishly so. And there are days when I wonder whether the opposite of optimism is realism.

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