Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reaching For My Oxygen Mask

The world looks much brighter today (even though it's actually cloudy where I live!) You've heard the announcement in the airplane, "Put on your own mask first before assisting children." I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of my children. I know that my body functions much better when I get a good night's sleep. Last night, I got 7 1/2 hours! Okay, it's still not the 8 that I crave, but I feel so much better today. I should make a note that we have been very blessed that our son will sleep through the night as long as he gets his Melatonin before bedtime. It is very common for autistic children to have sleep issues. I have also been warned that his body may get used to the Melatonin to the point where it stops working and, eventually, we may have to take him in for a sleep study. But, for now, I need to try harder to take advantage of the fact that our house is quiet at night.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The "Official" Diagnosis

Well, here we go, just as promised...the "labels," as given to us by the pediatric psychologist.

I will put this in fairly simple wording, as the actual meeting lasted about one and a half hours; every test and medical term gone through with a fine-tooth comb. But it all boils down to this:

*High-Functioning (partly due to his average IQ) Classic Autism (we had been told at age 3 that he had autism, but we were not sure where on the spectrum he actually sat.)
*Sensory Processing Disorder (already known...this was his first diagnosis at age 2)
*Anxiety Disorder

That's a lot to fit into a little 4 year old, right?!

Will the diagnosis and all of these fancy words change him? In a way, no...he is still my same beautiful boy with the gorgeous dark eyes that he was before the meeting. He still loves his gluten free vegan waffles with peanut butter, watching his favorite cartoons over and over, and playing with Play-Doh. But, in another way, yes, it just might change him. Now we can make some decisions knowing fully what we are dealing with and what we could possibly be facing in the future.

So now it is therapy time...again...
We decided to start him, this time, with something called Floortime. It is very family centered and focuses on a lot of reciprocal playtime. It is so hard to know what the right "thing" to try next should be, but this feels like a good fit. I'm crossing my fingers!

But my main concern is the exhaustion and overwhelming stress that I have been feeling lately. I think I feel so much responsibility for his progress, along with trying to balance 4 other children (2 of whom I am currently homeschooling), a wonderful husband, and the rest of the stuff that goes into everyday life. I am seriously considering a school setting for my darling son. I think it might do him good to let him get out with other faces a few hours a day and receive a better variety of therapy throughout the day. It might also take some of the worry off of me wondering if I am doing everything that I possibly can for him. Okay, so I may always feel that worry, but I'm working on taking some of the pressure off of myself!

Stay tuned...only time will tell...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Newest Therapy Toy


Yep, that's my son in there. He loves it! He can swing or just "hang around."
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Here Comes the Sun!

Now, how about a happy post?

We are so excited and hopeful because our son has begun expressing his feelings lately! I don't just mean smiling when he is happy, or screaming when he is upset, but telling us in his own words when he can't control his feelings. He will sometimes tell us now in the middle of a meltdown, "I'm freaking out! I'm freaking out!" Or when we tell him that it's okay and to calm down or stop crying, he'll say, "I can't! I can't!" So you may be thinking, 'But it's still happening through a tantrum!' That's okay...he's beginning to recognize that he can't always be in control of how he feels, his brain doesn't work that way, and he's letting us know that! He's actually telling us! Communicating!!! We know that this is just the first step in him being able to also recognize what he can do to calm himself down when he knows that he is starting to get "out of control," even if that means removing himself from the situation.

Another positive note, he is starting to express loving feelings more often. He will hardly ever head off to bed anymore without finding his little brother first and giving him a hug and kiss. Not even prompted! And he loves to run (fast!) into my arms or my husband's arms, sometimes at more of a tackle speed and strength, to give us a hug. :) How phenomenal is that!?!? And, just a few precious times, he has said "I love you," also unprompted.