Yesterday and today went better for Alex.
I was speaking with another mom who has two autistic children and I told her about how panicked I felt when Alex was misbehaving.
She replied "Of course, whenever they start to have problems, we always have to worry that it's the beginning of a long and difficult slide."
It put things into perspective for me. I'm sure all parents worry but I remember a particular message being drilled into me over and over after diagnosis. Behaviour problems have to be dealt with immediately. Letting them slide can entrench the behaviour and make it almost impossible to remove.
Add in the stories which we have all heard, the opposite of the inspirational stories. The stories about kids who simply got worse and worse, more and more uncontrollable, despite the efforts of therapists and parents. Kids who had to be institutionalized to protect those around them. Kids who ended up arrested as adults.
Even though those situations are a tiny fraction of a minority, the possibility still weighs on me. Every time we have a bad day or I hear about an aggressive act, I wonder: is this the start of the downward slide? Even coming back to good behaviour doesn't completely remove the worry. No slide is only one way.
As I type this, I don't know if my worry is justified or blown out of proportion. Because it is a possibility. Is my reaction like a fear of being mugged in a bad neighbourhood at night or is it like a fear of being mugged in a small town during the day? I simply don't know and thus can't convince myself to relax my guard.