Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Early Years

My little guy has made a ton of progress. He still has occasional meltdowns, but these are nothing compared to what we saw a couple of years ago. Even as a baby, my son cried for what seemed like hours. Nothing would sooth him except for Yo Gabba Gabba and a bottle. Looking back, I think that my son needed the sensory input from the bottle to help him self regulate. I remember that there were times that I was lucky if I slept for three hours during the night. During those days, you could often find me sitting on the recliner in the living room watching Yo Gabba Gabba with my son during all hours of the night. At this time, I had no idea what was wrong with my child. Remember, he was just a baby. We were told that it was acid reflux, stomach issues, and the list could go on, but the problem is that my kiddo did not outgrow the periods of screaming that would last for what seemed like hours. This issue ended up going into toddler hood, and with it came additional issues such as an inability to deal with transition, hand flapping, an attention span that was shorter than 30 seconds, a huge speech delay, and he also struggled with dealing with kids appropriately in social situations.

I knew that my child had huge obstacles that he needed to overcome so the autism and ADHD diagnosis did not come as a surprise. I made it my mission to try and normalize everything as much as possible for my family. Remember, I also have a "neuro-typical" older son. I did not want my older child to experience less life experiences, because I was scared of the looks that I would receive from dealing with meltdowns in public. I also wanted my little guy to have as many "normal" experiences as possible. I enrolled both of my children in YMCA gymnastics, swim, and sports. I needed to act as my little guy's 1X1, and I often left feeling like I just ran a 5K, but me feeling was that my child deserved to have the same experiences as his older brother. In addition to activities, I also never let his diagnosis decrease our family vacations. I love to travel, and we continued to go on as many vacations, if not more then before we received my son's diagnosis. We just IMPLEMENTED STRATEGIES to help my son be as successful as possible in these situations. We used social stories, PEC cards (picture exchange communication system), and a ton of front loading before we did anything. This is not to say that it was always easy. I remember having to sit right behind my son at swimming lessons so that he wouldn't just jump into the pool. I remember 30 minutes meltdowns in the store that consisted of my kiddo laying in the floor screaming. I remember getting multiple calls from day care fearing that my kiddo would get kicked out. It wasn't always easy, but with time and a ton of intervention, things began to get much easier.

I decided to write this post, because I have spent the last two days reflecting upon just how far my kiddo has really come. Two days ago, we were just getting ready to leave to head to the store. I now have three boys, and my youngest is 24 months. My oldest son was at baseball with my husband, so it just so happened to be me, my little guy, and my baby. When we were getting ready to leave I asked my little guy to put his IPad away, get his shoes on, and to go grab my cell phone. First off, he didn't have a meltdown after being asked to put away his IPad and additionally, he was able to handle all of my auditory input and fulfill my multi-step directions. Two years ago, this would have never happened. I would have had to carry both of my kids out to the car with one kicking and screaming the whole way. I am beyond proud of all of the gains that my son has made. I love to reflect, because periods of reflection allow me to remember just how far my son has really come. I love him to the moon and back, and I am so happy that God chose me to be his mommy!

1 comment:

  1. Love your post and your story. My oldest grandson has severe autism. My daughter can relate to the trials and struggles you write about.