It’s hard to believe that next month will be a year since the Mini has started early intervention services. This time last year, I felt that something was wrong, but really, we were only seeing a small glimpse of what was to come.
I truly believe that while he had shown some lack of development between 12 and 15 months, he truly changed after his 15 month appointment. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I didn’t proceed with getting the MMR vaccine, so I’m not laying blame. I have suspicions, but it’s a big can of worms that I’ve already opened once before, and over time, it has been an ever evolving hypothesis. But the truth is, there’s really no way of knowing. So I don’t really sit and dwell on it.
Last night, on our way home from dinner, I heard a commercial on the radio for an Autism awareness event. And I realized that it’s become one of those disorders that is so prevalent in our society that I hear and see these types of commercials more often than I remember ever hearing. On one hand, it’s great to have awareness to something that has affected so many families. On the other, it’s sad that there has been such a rise in the disorder, that we have to have this much media attention put to it.
As a paranoid and anxiety ridden parent, this was just one of the many disorders that I’ve feared. When most people think of Autism, they maybe think of a kid who is non-verbal, or one that may never give you a hug, or communicate with you. Maybe someone non emotional. And when we were told that the Mini was displaying red flags for Autism, I was devastated. But I realize now that Autism is so many things.
Granted, I will say that we’ve been very very fortunate. While the Mini is still receiving services and will until they officially kick him out, we’ve avoided an Autism diagnosis. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but I feel so lucky that we’ve been able to come as far as we have.
While no one wants to have to have the words IEP attached to their children, it’s so common these days that a lot of parents know what an IEP be it that their own child has one, or a relative, or friend. A year ago, I thought that we’d go through early intervention and fix everything and close that chapter in our lives. And maybe at some point we will, but every day is still a challenge and every day we learn something new. We’ve worked hard to try and pinpoint exactly what makes the Mini a “different” kid. What we’re looking at is an auditory processing disorder. This is a really good thing, at least for me. In the interim, very frustrating, but in the long run, good, because in most cases, it’s outgrown.
I haven’t written much about the Mini’s progress as of late, because I have major baby brain and I’m not only exhausted, but hellooooooooooooo stupid! But we’ve been struggling with pragmatic language and echolalia issues. To put on my bragging hat for a minute, the Mini is insanely bright. High IQ. He retains things on a level that I can’t even comprehend sometimes. I’m not saying he knows Algebra or anything like that. His language far exceeds that of a typical two year old. He knows more body parts than kids twice his age. I don’t drill him. He asks once and remembers it. He just enjoys learning. I don’t push it because he DOES enjoy it and that’s how I always want it to be for him. The problem is that he’s so auditory, that he hears a lot of things that most people can drown out. Maybe you listen to a song, but you might not pay attention to the fact that the cymbals are currently playing in the background and yet, the Mini will pick up on it and let us know about it. Because of this, he’s hearing so much at once that he has a hard time articulating what he wants to relay. He can, and his echoing is getting better, as is his pragmatic language, but it’s still a slow process. Another part of it is that he’s a stubborn kid (I think he gets it from his father, yeah, that’s it, his father). I always say that the Mini doesn’t do, what the Mini does not want to do. Part of that is two, but the other part of it is that I never really gave him that opportunity. He came to learn that if I asked him enough, he’d give me an answer, or I’d just guess what it was that he wanted. And now I’m making him work for it. He’s a little pissed about that, but we’re making progress and he’s no worse for the wear.
At least he hasn’t mentioned anything about needing a therapist…. yet.
I will say that going through this has given me a new appreciation for who he is and a huge appreciation that I do have a child that is affectionate and loving. He tells me he loves me frequently, and loves to snuggle. He’s a chatterbox, constantly singing or talking. Both communicating with us, or just wanting to hear the sound of his own voice. His therapists told me that one day, he was going to open his mouth and that would be that. And I would wish for the day when he would just shut up. I can honestly say that I can’t think of anything better than listening to the sound of my kid talk.