Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I was over visiting Stephanie Lynn from Under the Table and Dreaming http://www.bystephanielynn.com/. She has a video on her blog and I just had to post it. You see Stephanie Lynn and I have somethings in common besides the love of all things crafty. We have children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Now I'm sure most of you have heard of it, it's not the end all. But for some families it is. There is such a range of severity in this illness that its now a spectrum because no 2 autistic children are alike. 1 in 150 children is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum.
My daughter (a.k.a Maya) was diagnosed on 9/11/09 so we just completed 1 year. Fortunately for me, my pediatrician asked me to have her tested around 18 months old but I didn't because my husband was deployed in Iraq and there was just so much going on and he didn't really push the issue or mention Autism. Well when my husband returned we started the process...we took her to Children's Hospital of Mountainside, NJ and she was diagnosed on her visit.
We were shocked, stunned to say the least. I cried the whole way home! I blamed myself for putting her in front of the television and leaving her to play independently (or so I thought). Now I'm still confused on the checklist and I do realize that she has some of the symptoms...but like I said this disability is so varied in symptoms and abilities. She was diagnosed as a very high functioning autistic.....basically saying she very intellegent but is lacking in her socialization skills.
So we started Early Intervention program, basically its a free program and therapist come into your home and give intense therapy to your child in their enviroment. My daughter received speech and occupational therapy from 2 wonderful ladies (Jaime and Maria from JFK Early Intervention in NJ) When the child turns 3 they age out and are transitioned into the public school districts program (basically special education pre- school).
I also enrolled her in a local library program run by our township. The first day was horrific she was in an older class due to her intellegence but couldn't handle the structure. So I pulled the teacher aside and explained she was Autistic....we decided to put her in her age group and it was also smaller class. She thrived in this 12 week class and grew to love her little friends and Ms. Dee (she is a wonderful person and was so patient and understanding with Maya). At the end of the 12 weeks she finally got Maya to sit on the parachute with the other kids instead of walking with the Mommies and spinning it as she did for prior weeks.
On December 20th, Maya had her 1st day of preschool (actual school, not daycare). I wont mention her school for security but its a great school and they have a great support system in the P.A.C.E's parent organization. Its the Program for the Advancement of Children's Education.....I am a member along with other parents of children with special needs. So..... The short little yellow bus came to the house to pick her up. I cried my eyes out (there are so many stereotypes about the little buses with kids). She has now started her 2nd year and is doing amazingly well in her language based class (she was not placed in an Autistic class due to her academic capability and fear of regression if placed in non-verbal classroom). She receives speech 3x a week with her therapist Ms. Vicky and also Physical Therapy and Occupational therapy 1x a week. She only attends school from 9-11:30 am so that is her intense time and when home I let her relax and we focus here and there on things. The goal is to have her main-streamed into a regular population class by Kindergarten. Im confident that she will succeed and I will make sure she has the tools to do so.
I know this is alot to read ladies, but its important that you do and you realize the next time your out to dinner and there is a little kid screaming or wont sit still. It doesn't mean they're misbehaving, ill-mannered or brats.....they just might very well be Autistic.
The next time your in the mall and a kid has thrown themselves on the floor and is kicking and screaming, don't judge the parenting skills. Realize that this might be an every hour occurance for this parent and thats all they can do it watch. Their child might be Autistic.
Please don't judge, educate yourself and your family. Especially your children! I know sometimes my own get frustrated if my daughter repeats herself 5-10 times or cant get a sentence out and starts over 2-3 times. But teach them patience and to help instead of judging.
God is good. He has a plan for us all, and this is just something else I believe I was put here to do. Help Maya be the best she can be in everything she does. She is amazing and if you spent the day with her you would tell me just like everyone else that she isn't Autistic, but the reality is that she is and my job is to help her live the most full life that she can here with her family.
I appreciate all of you who took the time to read all the way through this and hope that you will watch the short video on Stephanie Lynn's son.