Raising early intervention and autism awareness through our amazing journey

Posts tagged ‘Early diagnosis’

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Before and after

Our little guy went from an outgoing boy, to a child who could not communicate at all. In the video you will see me trying to interact with him, as well as trying to get his attention by clapping and yelling his name. All of these things he once had were gone. I knew he could hear because after I yelled his name, he became very agitated and tried to cover his ears with the blocks. This was a very mild scene. He was never aggressive towards anyone, but he did a lot of “swiping” things off of the table and floor. He would also scream because he was frustrated by the fact that he could not communicate.

The next video is taken just three weeks after the diagnosis. This is when I researched and used many resources to teach myself how to reach our son. He was sitting, looking at a book, interacting, and pointing at pictures! I couldn’t be more proud of this little gift we were given.

The strategies and tools that I have used are:

1. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) … I personally LOVE this one because I am a research and science nerd!
http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

2. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/treatment-options/pecs.pdf

3.  VB-MAPP

http://www.marksundberg.com/vb-mapp.htm

I have not received any certification in training at all, but I have amazing friends who are professionals in this field, and have taken the time to train me enough to where I can teach him on my own.  I don’t plan to be his only teacher, but I am here to say that parents CAN work with their children.  The information is out there, you just have to look and ask for help!  My husband and I are still waiting for waivers to be accepted so that we can provide him with in-home ABA therapy- the only scientifically proven treatment for autism.  ABA is also the most expensive treatment, usually costing $60 an hour, and the suggested weekly hours of ABA are 15-30 hours a week.  That adds up quickly!  So until we are able to get insurance on board and the waiver approved, I will continue to work with him, and continue to learn.  I just love our little guy!

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Autism diagnosis- now what?

We were given a huge folder with too much information to take in. In fact, we didn’t go through the folder until that evening.  We wanted to dissect it together to support one another.  We both took turns crying, not intentionally, but I think one of us would cry and then it would set the other off.  There was SO much information; schools for autism, Medicaid waiver paper work, types of therapy, diets, a “how to tell friends, family, and siblings” booklet, how siblings can help booklet, support groups, insurance, websites for information about autism.. anything and everything was in there.  We didn’t even go through all of it that night.
As Byron was still grieving, I was not sleeping and researching everything I could.  Even though I have worked with children of special needs before, I had no experience with toddlers of special needs, not to mention that it is completely different when it’s your child.  I have some good friends that work in the autism field and they were amazingly supportive, giving me resources, book recommendations, and information on therapy so that I could start working with him right away.  To be honest, I think I grieved for one evening, and then I dove into printing pictures for him for Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), so that I could start communicating with him right away.  Friends of mine in the autism field sent me professional information so I could start therapy with him, and I started that same day.  I haven’t stopped working with him since.  We work everyday all day.  Even our “playtime” is work time (he doesn’t know that though).
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 I guess I look at it as if I have 2 choices.  I am going to either spend a lot of time grieving over the child that I once had, or work extremely hard to get as much of that child back.  I have chosen to work for his best interest.  If he were to make no improvement at all  I would love him just the same, but he is improving.  He is getting better and better everyday.