Friday, May 6, 2016

Our Adventures with Autism

As I looked at my blog recently, I was a little surprised that the last time I blogged was December 2015. I hadn't decided to stop blogging, but I guess life got in the way and a new adventure started.

In November of 2015, my youngest son, Little C, was diagnosed with autism. If you asked me if I was surprised, honestly I would have to say no. I didn't even know that much about autism at the time, but a part of me suspected that he might have it.

Since he was two and was evaluated for Early Intervention, he was showing development delays.  At two, he hardly talked, however, he could say any letter of the alphabet for you if you randomly showed him one. So we had him evaluated and he started receiving Speech and Physical Therapy. We were surprised when he qualified for PT because we did not realize he was behind.

When he turned three, he no longer qualified for speech, but he still received PT. In April, our pediatrician recommended that we have him tested at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for his developmental delays. We started the paperwork to have him tested but it wouldn't be until November that he would be seen.

Little C started preschool in the fall and we started noticing that he was showing signs of Sensory Processing Disorder. It was finally in November when we received the diagnosis that Little C had high-functioning autism. I don't think we were that surprised because we recognized some of the signs.  He often did not make eye contact when he spoke to us, he had a great vocabulary but had trouble answering questions, he needed routine, and was showing little pretend play.

These past few months have been an adventure. In December, he was tested for OT and qualified. Both his OT and PT work with his sensory issues. We have been introduced to brushing techniques. We have been challenged with meltdowns. We have been blessed with a little boy who sees the world differently.

My viewpoint on parenting has changed as well. I could remember times when I may have seen a kid have a meltdown in a store. I use to think can't those parents control their kids. Now I am sympathetic, because that could be me one day. I realize that my son's meltdowns, unlike a tamper tantrum, can  not not be controlled. They can happen at any time. I don't quite understand how his sensory issues effect his life, but I realize that they challenge him as well.

At first, I think people were surprised with his diagnosis. When I showed my students a picture of him and talked about his autism, a few mentioned he doesn't look like he has autism. I responded what does autism look like? As I research more and more, I realize that every child with autism is going to be different. I realize that I will be taking on a role of advocate for my son. I realize that times will be challenging. But I also realize that God has blessed me with an incredible child who helps me to see the world a little bit differently.


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