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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Mercier

The Rollercoaster of Autism Regression

Rollercoasters. I don’t like them. Never have and I’m actually not supposed to ride them anymore because of my heart issues.

However, as an autism mama bear, I ride one the daily.

The journey of autism often feels like a rollercoaster ride. It’s exhilarating at times when you see your child break through, develop a new skill, or have an old one lost return. Yet, it’s also scary because of this thing called regression. Regression, if it had a face, we’d punch it. Regression means you watch your child lose abilities--often. It can happen in the middle of learning a new skill and old one can be lost. It feels like you’re watching your child slip away.

In this video, from two years ago, Gabriel is showing a skill we have not seen for well over a year.

You want to enjoy the new skill gained but in the back of your mind you’re always wondering, “Will it stay?” Sometimes skills emerge or return and you can go days, weeks, and even months without seeing the skill again. Lately, for us, it’s been words and engaging in play. We’ve been surprised at times, to only try again to get nothing.

The rollercoaster.

So, my prayer for a while now has been, “Lord, show me how to ride this rollercoaster.”

Here’s what I believe the Lord is showing me:

1. Live in the present. I’m learning to be thankful for all the moments, even if it’s just a moment or a season for a skill to be present. Living in the “what ifs” isn’t where Jesus wants me to live, but instead, resting my heart in His love and grace so I can enjoy the moments/seasons.

2. Work through your grief. Face it. Head on. Even if it’s exhausting work (which it is). It has helped me get to a better place of acceptance and the regression, while it’s so hard on a mama’s heart, I’m learning is a part of the journey.

3. Celebrate BIG. No matter what it is, we celebrate, we rejoice, we thank God.

4. Practice patience. This is a journey and it will be. Change doesn’t happen overnight; it takes consistent hard work and a lot of help from others. So, we don’t give up. We keep trying, praying, and seeking God for direction.

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