Thursday, March 24, 2011

the signs

It's funny, how there is really not one particular sign. No matter how much information you read, look at on billboards or see on television. There is not one thing that tells you my son is autistic. It is a collection of signs. Many of those signs may seem insignificant by themselves, but when you add them all up, they mean something else. There is not one autistic child that is the same.

Last summer, while I was attending a class, a fellow student of mine was having a rough evening. How the whole conversation started, I cannot remember now, but she was seeing signs in her preschool son. I told her about what we went through only a year before. I remember not realizing till that moment how long it had been. I am sure that night I seemed like a pro. I was calm and confident. I was ok. She wanted to know every step we had taken. Every doctor we had seen. What was said. How we handled it. How Ollie is now. My fellow student was a preschool teacher herself and was aware of many of the things I was talking about, but it all seemed new to her too, or a little unreal maybe. She was describing the signs that her son was showing to me. All I could tell her was that Ollie didn't have any of those signs and of course her son didn't have any of Ollie's signs. What I did do was explain to her how everything happened. What to expect. How many doctors we had seen and from what she told me, she was on the same track and doctors that we saw. I think I helped her a little that night. She seemed a little more at ease when we were leaving. I hope I did help her a little. I could only remember how confusing that time had been for me. In some ways that time was a short time ago, and in other ways it had seemed a very long time indeed. Oh, and yes, her son did have autism to.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

doctors and sensory issues

Part 2

When Ollie's oldest brother Van was ready to start preschool, he was evaluated with a development delay. After our pediatrician referral, Van was evaluated by a occupational therapist (OT) and a physical therapist(PT). Van's results were that he was slightly sensory integrated ( his brain did not process sensory information the same way that ours does). What did that mean? Well, Van went to either an OT or PT appointment once a week for half an hour. He did this for more then a little more then half a year. For the most part, Van has learned to adapt to his sensory differences. For example, Van would hate loud noise. Any really loud noise would confuse and scare him. Now, Van has grown to realize what those loud noises are and he is no longer upset by it.

Therefore, I had some point of reference when Ollie was going to appointment after appointment. Ollie's first two evaluations were done by the county that we lived in. Then we were sent to our pediatrician. Our pediatrician sent us to different doctors. The first doctor was the eye doctor, where we learned that Ollie did need glasses. Ollie improved some just by being able to see. His world opened up to him a little. The next appointment was with a hearing specialist. We learned that Ollie's hearing was fine. Then we had another evaluation by the county and a home visit by the county school physiologist. Next, we headed to a child physiologist at the nearest children's hospital. Followed up by another trip to the physiologist. We then went back to the pediatrician.Lastly, Ollie was evaluated by a language specialist. All of this happened in the span of about six months. Ollie was a trooper. Every appointment he did better and better. Ollie was evaluated by OT and Pt, but that was through the county after he had already started preschool. He showed just a small amount of sensory issues, with loud noise(same as his big brother).
By the time Ollie started preschool, he was used to being evaluated. Ollie's first two to three days at preschool were rough ones, getting used to being away from home.After that, Ollie began to enjoy school. He started opening up a little more each day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


For those of you who do, and for those of you who don't know, my son Oliver has autism. He was diagnosed over a year ago, but of course the journey does not begin there. There were several evaluations and several doctors appointments with different kinds of doctors first; over a time frame of longer then six months. Needless to say, that was a very stressful time in our lives. All the different terminology and tests were hard to keep straight and I felt bombarded with different information everywhere I looked. My moment of clarity came at a doctors appointment. See, Ollie's results on all those first tests were very confusing. He would score in the typical range in some areas and slightly dip down below in others. It was all very frustrating and there was no clear answers, did he or did he not have autism. No one would give me answers. All I got was more referrals for more tests and more doctors. My clarity came not from the psychologist, but from the speech therapist. I practically broke down during our visit. She took her time and explained every test that she was giving Ollie. Then she explained where Ollie fit compared to other typicals and other autistic kids. What I learned with Ollie was that he scored in a very high range for autistic children and a low range for typicals, but not severe range. However, what I really learned was an understanding of where my son was and for the first time, I felt like everything was going to be fine.

stay tuned for the next part of the story

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