Our 2017 Year in Review

I often find myself talking about all the things my autistic son can’t do. I don’t mean too. I’m not negative. I’m just human. And when you get together with a friend who also has an autistic child you start listing out where they are at. Yes, they are nonverbal. No, this and yes, this. And before you know it the things they can’t do outweigh the things they can do.

I worry about where he is at. I get overwhelmed by how far he has to go. Sometimes I feel like we are perpetually at the bottom of the mountain.

It comes from a place of love, hope and determination though. I’m his mom. I’m his person. If I don’t push him than no one will. But there are times when you have to stop and celebrate your wins.

Today, I was reminded just how far Cooper has came over the past year. I am humbled by it. My amazing now seven year old has accomplished more in the last 12 months than in all of his life. He is like a new kid. And I couldn’t be more thankful and proud.

A year ago Cooper had just turned six. He was in public education. He ate four foods. He wasn’t potty trained. He was incredibly rigid. His behaviors were increasing every day. He was starting to become violent and have self-injurious behaviors. He was a runner and an eloper. He had many health complications. Our family felt really trapped by autism. Our hope and sanity was at an all time low. And then it hit me. It was time to make some big changes.

Over the course of the past year we pulled Cooper from public education and started full-time Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy. We visited a Naturopath and did a complete overhaul of his diet. We cured his constipation and other health struggles. And slowly, Cooper came alive. He started sleeping, interacting and enjoying life. And we started enjoying him.

2017 was a big year for us. We found our way as a family and a village. It finally felt like we weren’t just stumbling along blindly. We had a plan. We had people. We had hope. After years of hard work we finally had the tools and resources in place for Cooper.

Many people think that the journey is mainly about your child. They are diagnosed. They have autism. They needs to grow, learn, change, and thrive. But that’s not entirely true. The journey is just as much about you as the parent and the rest of your family. You all need to adjust to autism. You all need to grow, learn, change and thrive. Our family has gotten stronger because of autism. We’ve came together to give this little boy his best life. We are all on the same page. We all have one goal. Help Cooper. It wasn’t like that in 2016. We weren’t there yet. We had different ideas of what Cooper’s best life looked like.

I think that’s part of the journey. Coming together.

2018 is going to be all about utilizing what we’ve learned, trusting the therapy, and continuing to push and motivate Cooper.

Take a listen as I discuss our biggest victories and challenges of 2017.

Here are a few of Cooper’s biggest victories in 2017:

  • Number one victory: Cooper is potty trained!
  • Eating fruit, meat, fruit pouches
  • Drinking water
  • Using a straw and then drinking from a cup
  • Smiling for pictures
  • Pulling up pants
  • Putting on a coat
  • Carrying his backpack
  • Putting on shoes
  • Wrestling with his brother
  • Watching a movie with his brother
  • Communicating fluently with his talker
  • A visit to the dentic
  • No more Miralax

Cooper’s behaviors in 2017:

  • Lining up chairs
  • Hoarding
  • Obsession with pictures
  • Turning the lights off
  • Stripping beds
  • Mouthing objects (paper, fuzz, hair, Nerf Gun Bullets)
  • Humming

Our goals for 2018

  • Sitting
  • Less technology time
  • Going to a restaurant
  • Using headphones
  • Making more sounds
  • Playing a game with his brother
  • Eating dinner with our family
  • Sight words

And most importantly, enjoying every second we can with Cooper. Finding the joy. Smiling at the chaos. And accepting realistic hope.


Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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