My oldest son, Matthew, is a special needs kid. He has Autism Spectrum Disorder. He was diagnosed when he was 4 years old. I knew before his diagnosis that he was Autistic, so it did not come as a big surprise.
Matthew was delayed in his speech when he was younger. He doubled words until he was 2 ½ years old when we took him off wheat. We later found out he had Celiac Disease too. We put him in a private preschool thinking that would allow him to socialize while learning colors, letters, and numbers. He was the only one in the class that did not learn one thing. His end of year teacher evaluation confirmed in my mind there was something wrong.
When we moved to Ohio, we were lucky to get him evaluated through the Columbus Children’s Hospital Autism Clinic. The evaluators and doctors spoke with my husband and I for about 4-5 hours one day, and then Matthew had about 8 hours of testing the next day. It was very intense, but it was good to look at his delays and have a plan.
Matthew is now 10 years old and I think he is doing well. He has had a total of almost 3 years of Speech Therapy and 1 year of Occupational Therapy. He did have delayed speech, however, 1.5 years of his Speech Therapy taught him how to form his S, Z, and TH sounds.
One reason I wanted to start this blog is that I want to help families know getting an “Autism Spectrum” diagnosis is okay! I have learned so much about children in the last 6 years, then I would have if I did not have a child with ASD. We have also been able to help a lot of families navigate the system too.
I feel like in the last 1.5 years I have learned so much. Matthew started with a new therapist who is such a gem! She uses the “Social Thinking” method of therapy. In Social Thinking, the kids are taught strategies to help them cope with everyday life. They are taught strategies to get through times they feel overwhelmed or frustrated. The kids are taught how to change a bad (“Boo Boo”) thought into a happy thought. It is really a game changer!
Matthew’s therapist hosted a 6-month parents course that taught the parents how children with ASD feel like and struggles they have. At the same time, it taught us how to help Matthew communicate better and process things better. It is truly been amazing!
I want to share everything I have learned with everyone! I want parents to know it is okay if you get that diagnosis. Yes, your child is going to struggle with some things more than other children. But it is okay! We can get through this together. We can make a community here with lots of learning and experiences. Please join onto my Facebook site and follow me. Share your questions or anxieties. We are here for you!