Friday, July 2, 2010

Hi-5s Family & Experiences

Good Morning,

This is the final in our Hi-5s Greetings series. After today, we delve into more topics and FYI and more Enjoyment!

Earlier, we shared about starting this blog, "Enjoying the Hi-5s of Autism-A Family Experience". We expressed our excited and enjoyment we share with our son. Also, we shared why and how he uses giving and receiving Hi-5s as a way to communicate and be sociable.

Now, we are briefly explaining Autism and our Family Experience.

At the age of 2 we noted our vibrant, smart, happy, alert, responsive, playful child seemed...a lil' different. We thought he was not answering us because of ear infections. We thought he was not talking because he could not hear well because of the ear infections. NOT SO! No longer did he want to walk on grass, get water on his head/face,eat soft foods, brush his teeth, look you in the face, walk straight, run forward, and a bunch of other things.
Mostly, we were alerted by his lack of memory or knowledge of things that he had learned from a babe. For instance, now when he recited the ABC's, he might leave out or pause at certain alphabets. Our son stopped remembering words to family songs and nursery rhymes. And, he kept watching certain dvds... and he wanted to do that and only that all day long!
Another alert that something was changing about our son is that he intermittently stopped speaking clearly and seemed to talk very,very fast, babbling-like and about things that had nothing to do with what he was watching or what you were asking him.

So, we immediately stopped homeschooling and sought to enroll him in a preschool. Many would not accept him. He is smart and is potty trained, but, they said he was not "sociable". What?! So what our son likes to play by himself, and he prefers electronic devices,tech. toys, counting, spinning around, reciting Galileo and the solar system! They don't understand that's just because he's a genius! He's an only child and most of his family and buddies moved due to Hurricane Katrina. Well that's what we thought, anyway.
Finally,we convinced our Public School System to test him. An Assessment was necessary before and during his enrollment into a PreSchool Early Intervention Program. You see, our son was not eligible for public school until age 5. Can you imagine a 3 year wait! By then, our son probably would be in full regression to embryonic fetus stage! But, because we explained he had a hearing problem and speaking problems and was getting ear tubes and adenoid surgery, Pupil Appraisal said bring him in immediately thereafter for testing.
The academic specialist concluded that he had Autism! They wanted him in school next week. They wanted to help with his perseveration, avoidance,communication and socialization.
What!?! Okay, but, right now,we're going to enjoy his favorite park.
And, we still were not convinced that it was more than just issues due to numerous ear infections.
That's until:
1) after 3 months of PreSchool Early Intervention, our son started improving in some aspects, but got worse in other areas; and
2) our son's pediatrician sent us to a child development specialist. who confirmed what the school had just informed us..."Your son definitely has Autism." [We later learned that it took about 6 months to get an appointment because Autism is on the rise and there aren't many specialist available.]

What is Au... what did you say?

AUTISM(Autism spectrum Disorder), according to the *CDC, is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. [Okay, sounds like our son.]

The CDC estimates that 1 in 100 American children have an ASD. Many disabilities advocacy organizations, as well as, the CDC are working to find out how many children are affected, discover why, and raise awareness of Autism signs in infants and toddlers.

So here we are:
3 years post-onset of symptoms noticed by family and friends;
and 2 school years post- academic labeling;
and 2 doctors diagnosis and numerous evaluations/assessments/tests!

Early Intervention has proven to be advantageously effective. We can vouch for that!

And this is why we are blogging about "Enjoying the Hi-5s of Autism: A Family Experience."

Remember, you take some time to share your hi-5s of life.

Enjoy! Happy July4th America!
Note 1: Words in italics or in color are important and will at some point be explained within the text, notes or subsequent blogs.
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