In 2012, Katie’s formal ABA program had ended approximately 14 years before, and I had always wanted to document our experiences.
After my daughter graduated from high school in spring 2012, she began classes at a local community college that fall, and I would drop her off and wait in the library until she was finished. I suppose I needed something concrete to proclaim to all that Katie’s behavioral program had existed and that it dominated our lives for a long time (at least six years). Or perhaps I believed writing about our journey would be therapeutic, and that the ability to conjure up the words at the click of a mouse whenever I wanted would force me to remember some of the tribulations we experienced along the way. For whatever reason, the blog format seemed an efficient way to chronicle our adventures, so spectrumsoul.wordpress.com was born.
Writing ideas were not hard to realize, and the elation I felt whenever I would click “publish” inspired me to continue. The first couple of posts were written at home during August of that year, but the more time I spent at the library waiting for my daughter to finish her classes for the day, the more I utilized that time to research and write.
If I thought posting stories about Katie’s ABA program on a blog was therapeutic, I believe the creation of my book, From Prompting to Shaping to Letting Go: My Love Affair With ABA and How Being a “Bad Mom” Helped My Daughter With Autism Succeed, was a kind of catharsis even though I was not conscious of that intent. I included all the posts from the blog (as “essays”) in the book, and “She Did It” followed by “I Saw It on the Internet” remain my two favorites. I now consider the book as a gift to Katie. She will always be able to read about the early days of her therapy and relive her accomplishments since then, and it is a permanent account of her tenacity and hard work.
When I now read the “essays,” my feelings are a jumble of fondness and unease as they are able to send me back to a time when everything I thought about and all that I did had something to do with Katie, whether it was therapy, generalization, playdates or biomedical interventions. I spent countless hours online then (maybe more than I do now!) and I’m pretty sure the internet was a major factor in the success of Katie’s ABA program (and I address that topic in one of my posts).
I really did see it on the internet.