Sunday, March 20, 2016

About My Little Guy

From today forward My Little Guy will be referred to as Either Little Guy or Bam Bam

My son is the light of my life. Words cannot describe how much I love me son. He has been a mommies boy since the day that he was born. Today, my son would be considered to have high functioning autism. Before intensive therapy, I would say that my son was somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. My son also has ADHD. In the early years my son had a huge speech delay. At that time, I don't think that I really realized how big the deficit was until I watched him speak in a video that was taken a few years ago. My son also struggled with sensory issues. It was a huge battle to get him into a bath tub for almost six months. I think that this occurred not only because of the sensory issues associated with the water, but also due to what my son perceived to be bugs. We live in the country, so it is not unusual for little black specks of dirt to fall into the bathtub water after a long day of playing outside. My son would scream bloody murder, because he thought that the specks of dirt were bugs. My son also had huge issues with transition. For many years I would need to use a timer for a transition of any type. Even with the use of a timer, huge melt downs would often occur. For this reason, going to the store was a complete nightmare, especially, when either myself or my husband had to undertake this individually. It was not unusual for my son to lay in the floor of a store and scream. This occurred due to loud noises and whenever my son felt like he needed something. I think that the meltdowns associated with wanting something occurred in large part due to his inability to effectively communicate his feelings. My son also had huge social skills deficits. He would often get literally two inches away from a peers face when he tried to interact. This was often followed by a high pitched scream. My son also had difficulties with joint attention, executive function, and he also had challenges sustaining his attention for longer than two minutes. I made it my mission to try whatever therapy that was available to help my son. I will discuss therapies that we have tried in another blog post. I want to add this point: The spectrum is vast and with that being said, there are many children on the autism spectrum who do not make huge gains despite attempts at every therapy in the world. In my son's case, we were extremely fortunate in regards to the progress that my son has made. Today, my son has come quite a long way. He is in a general education kindergarten with no academic interventions. He still struggles with periods of transition, sustained attention, and he still has periods where he struggles with appropriately engaging with his peers. He also has challenges related to identifying whether a problem is big or small. Topics of conversation in our house are often centered around big versus small problems and expected versus unexpected behavior.  My son still has meltdowns, but what used to be a thirty minute meltdown is now a one minute meltdown. My son has made huge growth, but he still has days or sometimes a stretch of days that are more difficult then others. Being a special education teacher, I find that when these stretch of days occur, I end up spending hours trying to identify what the trigger was that brought on the shift in behavior. As you join me on this expedition, you will get to hear about the good days, the bad days, and the in between days. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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