Sometimes it helps to speak to a professional.

My neighbor’s daughter is a child psychiatrist specializing in autism spectrum disorders. She’s also a first time mommy to a little boy around Maria’s age. Last summer when I first met this neighbor of mine, an elderly woman who’s now a retired Chemistry professor, she told me that if I ever wanted to speak to Anastasia she would be more than glad to give me her phone number. I thanked her but politely declined because how many more professionals am I going to speak to?! But then, yesterday at the park she was there and I was there with Maria and we started talking. And of course I told her about Panayioti’s explosive regressive behavior the past two weeks that’s gotten so bad I think our building is going to fill out some kind of petition to have us kicked out. She listened and she paid attention to every word that came out of my mouth, I could tell I had her attention 100% which is awesome, and she said something very simple. He’s gotten unorganized. He doesn’t miss his teachers, which is something that crossed my mind. When he’s in school he knows every second of the day what’s going to come next. He knows when they’ll sing and play, and when they’ll eat. If he gets out of control he knows he’ll have his sensory issues addressed at once. He knows he’s safe. At home, and even though I’m doing the best I can with the PECS system that we’ve incorporated, he is out of sorts. Maria is there too taking up mommy’s attention and he is also jealous. This behavior is typical she says of kids on the spectrum. I shouldn’t worry too too much about it but definitely consider taking another trip any time soon. Which basically means another summer in Athens. Last summer Panayioti and I (actually I went for just 3 days while my father-in-law stayed behind with Panayioti) didn’t go to the village in anticipation of such behavior and if Easter was any indication of what’s to come, it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll be spending summer with my in-laws, husband or baby girl this summer either. The short conversation with Anastasia helped me. I felt instantly somewhat at peace. Lastly I asked her about his speech. He’s turning 5 in July and doesn’t say a single word, should I just give up every hope? And then she said something about new studies and how some non-verbal children start speaking around 6 or 7 years old. So two more years of this I thought. As long as he gets his point across, effectively communicates in some non-verbal way whether it be PECS or sign language then maybe things will be ok. As long as he’s non-verbal and still hasn’t mastered some other way to communicate he will always be in a state of agitation, and his parents will always be in a state of frustration. So that’s it I guess. She helped me in some way just by lending a professional perspective and as somebody who in a way ‘gets’ it.

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