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Disney Story: A Day in the Life of a 7-year-old with Autism

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LisaQuinonesFontanez_Waiting for the School Bus_Babble_AutismWonderland

A few weeks ago, I  walked Norrin down to the bus. The sun still wasn’t up and the streets were still quiet. But Norrin and I were there waiting.

Every parent is amazed by their kid. But I am especially amazed by how hard Norrin works every day.

After Norrin was diagnosed with autism that’s when our lives began to revolve around therapies. That’s when I first realized how hard my kid was willing to work.

Therapy sessions aren’t like extracurricular activities. Norrin isn’t working hard to be captain of the football team or to win a spelling bee or to win a scholarship  to the ‘right’ school. Norrin works hard to master the everyday life skills that come so naturally to ‘typical’ kids.

The first time I put Norrin on a school bus he was 2 years old. He had no language. He was still in a diaper. He was still small enough to balance him on my hip. He still needed help walking up the two steps.

At two years old, his day began at 6:30 am the school bus picked him up at 7:13 am. His school day was from 8:30 to 11:30 and then he’d be back on the bus on his way home.

Then by 3 pm, his afternoon therapies began.  Three hours of ABA five days a week. Two thirty minute sessions of Speech therapy. And sixty minutes of occupational therapy once a week. In those early days, therapists were often in our house until seven thirty. And we often ate dinner with the ABA therapist.

When Norrin transitioned to a full day pre-k program, our days still began at dark. Norrin’s school day was 8:30 to 2:30 not including the hour commute back and forth. And after his school, he’d come home, eat a quick snack then work with a therapist for two more  hours, four days a week. And once a week, Norrin had a two-hour session with the Occupational therapist at the sensory gym.

Norrin is now seven years old. There is no denying it his days are still long and often exhausting and he works hard. This is what his typical school day looks.

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Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.

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