This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Son on the Autism Spectrum?

I suspect that my son has an autism spectrum disorder. At first when people asked me if he was autistic I thought they were insane. Not my son.

With visions of Rain Man dancing in my head it's no wonder that I'd be in complete denial. I began to take note of my child's "quirks" and gathered a comprehensive report to take to his three year well check. His pediatrician watched him and interacted with him. At the end of the visit the doctor agreed that he needed to be evaluated. That was back in September.

I've got an appointment for him schedule on July 15, 2008. Actually, the appointment is for my husband and I. The psychologist wants to see us alone the first visit. I should be getting a packet in the mail soon with the paperwork I need to fill out for the appointment. I'm kind of excited. I've done a lot of reading and research and instead of being afraid of a diagnosis, I'm excited about the prospect. I believe he will be diagnosed with Aspergers or PDD-NOS.

The more I read, the more I realize that each of these children just have a special way of learning. The idea that I will understand my child better and be able to communicate with him better is thrilling. I've taken the report I drew up for his three year well check and documented changes on it.

Here are my notes. The updates are in green.

- Can not or does not tell people his name. Can say his name and knows who he is. Often refers to himself in third person.

- Seems to have no understanding of his age. No change.

- Becomes extremely upset and will not accept comfort. He has to isolate himself to calm down. Ex: Often goes into his playhouse, under the end table, or in a closet to calm down. Sometimes runs from room to room like he is out of control and looking for something to calm himself. Often he can calm himself using shapes (sometimes colors, numbers, and letters but mostly shapes). The running from room to room like he's frantically searching for something has stopped. He's been able to express some things better, but he's still having difficulty communicating, especially when he's upset. He accepts more comfort than before.

- Can count, knows his upper case letters well, knows his numbers well, can trace most letters, can write M & N freehand. No progress or development has been made in this area. I feel like he's even regressed some. He no longer traces or tries to write anything. I feel like I am stunting his progress because I don't know how to work with him.

- Still learning lower case letters. See above- Can concentrate on single task for many hours, like painting or blocks. No change.

- Typically will not tollerate being read to or for us to sing to him or with him. He does enjoy being read to now and likes everyone to sing songs together depending on the song and the pitch or tone of the song. My higher voice seems to bother him.

- Likes to "read" and sing himself. No change.

- Learning to pretend play alone or with others. He's doing excellent with this. He pretends to be characters from his television shows and often demonstrates good imagination. He seems to be playing with others so much better.

- Wants attention and to crawl on you or be in your lap, but can not handle being rocked, having a hand across him, or laying in bed and being touched. He's totally changed in this reguard. He still isn't fond of being rocked or "trapped", but has become more clingy and needs my touch and frequently wants my arm around him.

- Very frugal with affection, like kisses and hugs. He frequently asks for hugs but this is his way of asking to be picked up. He's still pretty frugal with his affection, but he's started giving more hugs and kisses. Recently I've had a few shocking moments when he hugged people on the day that he met them!

- Likes to be around other children, even strangers. No change.

- Can drink out of a cup or bottle. No change.

- Refuses many food groups. We're having some major issues with veggies at the moment. Quite a picky eater, but he does eat a wide variety of foods. We are still having issues with veggies. Textures are a major contributing factor.

- Easily upset by loud voices or music. The voices can still be an issue, but he seems much more tollerant. We went to a part recently where loud music was being played and he enjoyed himself and even asked where the music went when it stopped. We took him to the same place 4 or 5 months ago and he cried and hid in the closet because he couldn't handle the music.

- Seems to be afraid of sitting on the potty but can not tell you why.
- Shows no signs of potty training in the near future. Has begun to potty train. We thought we finally did it but he has shown some regression. He says "It's not working." I think I figured out what's not working for him. He wants to pee standing up but is frightened of standing on the stool. It's unusual because he attempted a few times to stand on the seat and pee from that height, which was a pretty messy affair. The next attempt we noticed was with one foot on the floor and one on the seat. He also has to completely romove any garments from the waste down. He's doing good with going to the potty to have bowel movements, though.

- Can not dress or undress himself, only helps put him arms in the sleeves. He's attempted pulling his shirt off but has been unable to do it. Very little change here. He's capable of putting his underwear and pants on himself but simply refuses. I don't understand this because he is going through the independent stage and wants to do almost everything himself, but not this. He can not take his shirt off.

- Concerned with rash. Suspect Keretosis. no change

- Several friends and family members, some with experience related to autistic children, have asked if Jamie could be autistic and more specifically mentioning Aspbergers. Does display a few characteristics that I've read about, but sometimes I have a hard time putting my finger on what makes Jamie so different. Sometimes I wonder if these traits are related to being an only child who spends a lot of time entertaining himself. The more progress and growth he has the more I doubt myself and what I'm actually seeing. I have fears that something is wrong and I've let it go too long. However, I have worse fears that I'm seeing something that isn't really there. When I get him with other children his age and even much younger I know he has developmental delays.

- Can put train tracks together and rearrange their configuration.
- Can put wooden puzzle pieces in place no change

- When dressing he insists on handing you his shoes and socks, but will not attempt putting them on himself. We bought him some crocs and he puts them on himself and seems to enjoy having the ability to do this. He hasn't attempted any other type of shoe or a sock.

- Enjoys peek-a-boo type games most. no change

- Good eye contact with me when lying in bed. Many mornings we lie there staring at eachother. He likes to have his face, arms, & legs caressed. no change

- Will look me in the eye if I say "Look at Mommy". no change, but I should elaborate and say that he won't look me in the eye very long.

- Will not look at you when mad or upset. no change

- Demands immediate acknowledgement when he wants something or wants you to look at something. May physically try to move your phase or push and pull your body to what he wants. no change

- Often will not allow others to participate when he's playing with certain objects. Example: One time Jamie was lining up blue blocks. Another child handed him a blue block to be helpful and Jamie became very upset. Maybe this was an indepence issue? Getting better about this. Is starting to allow children and adults he's comfortable with to interact in his special play.

- Frequently gets something that looks like cradle cap. I treat it with baby oil. no change

- Shows more affection to animals than people. no change

- Bowel movements are not a consitant color or texture. no change

- Frequently walks on his toes. I don't think he does this when wearing tennis shoes. I haven't been paying that close of attention to it until recently and have been noticing it around the house. unsure

- Very texture oriented in food choices. no change

- Understands and can verbalize "over there", "under the table", "in the basket", etc. no change- Can recognize some simple "word forms" like Cat. He doesn't understand that "C", "A", "T" spells cat but can recognize the word when written. Seems to have regressed and does not show any recognition of word forms.

- Likes to organize items, line up items, make patterns with items. He does this with toys, food, shoes, etc. no change

- Is unable to express emotions with words. He can not tell you that he is mad, sad, happy, etc. no change

- Is unable to express pain with words. He can not tell you his tummy hurts. Is able to tell you that something is wrong by asking for medicine. He seems unable to tell you what hurts. Everything is lumped into "medicine for my cough".

- Our schedule is not regular. With my current job this is not possible. Causes some problems with consistancy. Back to staying at home currently. We have a fairly regular routine.

- Flaps arms and "dances" when excited. Runs in circles when excited.

He is behind in speach and coordination for sure.

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