autism, children, love, toddlers

Day For Love

Today I officially have a two year old! Oh and what a wondrous two years it’s been. Being that it’s the day before Valentine’s Day and the day we celebrate my favorite little guy; it’s only fitting that I talk about love. Of course, every day should be about love. I’m a believer in showing it each and every day but today I’m going to give in a little and really get into the month of love.

I LOVE my kids. Well I love our family unit as a whole (duh) they’re just so darn cute and I really love these stinkers. Even on our hardest days these kiddos have been the greatest thing I’ve ever done. Aiven is the sweetest thing EVER although I will admit she’s more of a sour patch kid now that we’ve hit four years old. Abel is the most chill toddler ever and he really is the greatest boy. Let’s not forget those dimples and that head of hair. Man those dimples are my kryptonite. Now, DO NOT for one second doubt their ability to make me question my own sanity. They are tiny humans full of life and personality just like any one else and that my friends, comes with it’s own set of trials but they are our trials and I love it.

Man oh man do I LOVE our version of madness. The random dance parties just because. The ever present negotiations on wether princess dresses are appropriate attire for doctors appointments or the cold weather. Taking what feels like the tenth break from cleaning up to give cuddles or to start up another random dance party. Yes I’m tired. Heck, I’m up past midnight decorating for my sweet boy so that his day can start off with balloons and Daniel Tiger. Yep. I’m tired, and my heart is oh so full.

I’m going to be straight up and say that I LOVE Abel’s therapists. Im in awe of the improvement that we’ve seen since they’ve become a part of our lives but really they just bring us so much joy and hope. Abel is so much happier and engaged, I’m forever grateful.

Among many many other things that I love in our lives I love the strength and confidence that I’ve found in becoming a mother. Don’t get me wrong. I’m far from perfect and I don’t know everything. We don’t have the flashiest things nor do I have my junk together when it comes to all the domestic stuff. What I do have is a mix between love, persistence, and the heart to do any and everything for my children. I can doubt twenty different things on any given day but I never doubt how far I’ve come and how much this mom gig completes me.

Now on to the important stuff. My smallest baby is now two years old guys. Where did the time go? Before I knew it he was this amazing human being who has, along side his sister, taught me more about life than all the past experiences could have ever taught me. I could never really explain to you all just what it feels like to love this little boy but it really is something special.

I recently had the great pleasure of being a guest blogger on Yankee Doodle Paddy to share my view of love which you can view HERE along with other love stories for the month of February

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autism, children, toddlers

A long overdue update

It’s been a while hasn’t it

It has been two months since Abel’s diagnosis. Two months of overthinking and strategizing. Heck if I’m honest two months of being the mom who didn’t stop calling til she saw results. I hadn’t updated because honestly we hadn’t gotten through telling family yet (still some family members to go) and because I needed time to adjust to our new reality. We’ve been through countless evaluations and appointments and I’m just now coming up for air.

When we aren’t in the middle of therapies, it’s usually appointments or educational activities. All other hours of the day are spent trying to adult and endless research. Thats life when you’re still in the thick of it. It is exhausting but so fulfilling. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I’d be excited to introduce our new pecs system but here I am. Awake and way too excited for our speech therapy session tomorrow. In case you haven’t guessed it we’ll be introducing PECS tomorrow and I can’t sleep. Yup that’s me. Livin’ la vida loca. Oh! And we just started with a new therapist and she had great flash cards I’d never seen so naturally I’m a fan. Living on the wild side here.

Changes updates &wins

Progress, wether big or small, is huge and our days have been filled with subtle progress all over. Abel’s balance has improved significantly and he hasn’t been bumping into things as much as he used to. He’s much more flexible and is working on his transitions. He’s taking in directions and is in the right direction.

My smarty has been saying hi (albeit to the tv but I still call that a win) he has said mom on numerous occasions which is my absolute favorite, and he’s much happier during car rides than he ever was before.

We no longer have meltdowns when grocery shopping and he just seems so much happier that his environmental needs are being met. We’re working on a sensory diet with high hopes that it’ll solve our sleep struggles and help him to focus better. His spd (sensory processing disorder) has hands down been a major factor and has been his greatest obstacle for some time now.

Before I continue I need to take a moment to express my utmost gratitude and sheer love for the professionals that have become an active part of our lives. In such a short amount of time they have taken the time to become attuned to his needs and boundaries. They give me hope for the future and for all of the milestones yet to come.

Speaking of therapists:

Abel now sees a physical therapist twice a week to work on his balance and to help him become more aware of his body/safety. She’s phenomenal and has formed such a great bond with our active kiddo.

He sees his speech therapist twice a week to help him regain some communication albeit through speech, sign, or pecs systems. This is where he’s the most resistant but I have faith that she’s the right professional for the job. Where he is hesitant, she’s steadfast and knowledgeable.

Next comes his occupational therapist who took longer to find than I’d like. Our main focus with her is to find a sensory diet that works for what Abel needs more stimulation in. We’ve only recently started therapies but the week that he did see her showed a reduction in the amount of sensory seeking behaviors as well as a major improvement in his overall mood.

Last but certainly not least is his early interventionist whom we found through the early steps program. She’s there to further implement the other interventions while focusing on family education. We are just starting out so I’m equal parts excited and anxious to see what she brings to the table for us

autism, children, toddlers

Crash course on our taste of developmental health

How Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder are a major part of our lives.

Abel rolled over before he even had a full handle on breastfeeding. He was always so alert and looked at you wise beyond his years. He sat and stood up right on time; heck, was walking beforehis first birthday. Talking even came fairly easy for him for a short while.

Now at just shy of two years old Abel is facing speech delays, social anxiety, and sensitivities to sights and sounds. Although there is still many evaluations, Abel is being diagnosed with Autism as well as Sensory Processing Disorder (spd).

A thousand shades..

Our shade of autism comes as social anxieties with eye contact, personal space, communication barriers and touching; Stimming (spinning/flapping/echolalia) to find stability and a feeling of imbalance with changes to his surroundings (new places/new people)

Our own special version of SPD comes as fear of sudden loud noises and craving for specific sensory stimulation, which is usually followed by a feeling of being overwhelmed and over stimulated. The sounds make it harder for him to get a night of uninterrupted sleep but we’re finding our way and getting there. We’re in the very beginning stages of understanding in the haze of developmental health but we’re confident we will find his perfect treatment and sensory diet.

Hindsight is always 20/20

Looking back, knowing what we do now, I see the telltale signs I never knew existed. The quirks I thought only made him a tad tougher than the other babies. I now know that Sensory Processing Disorder has always been a part of our day to day from the very start. I know that we’ve never been able to sleep fully through the night because of the sounds. I know that his need to climb and his need to be held are his way of coping. Although I still haven’t found my mojo with eating I do know that food textures and tastes are the difference between his three healthy meals and him only accepting nutrigrain bars as sustenance.

How I see it..

As daunting as developmental and behavioral health may be I am a mother. Any mother knows that when it comes to your children there is no mountain you won’t climb. Well, this is my mountain, and on the other side I still see the future we both envisioned for him which is a life of happiness no matter what road he chooses. I still see him accomplishing the goals he sets out to and a fulfilling life because there is nothing that we won’t do for our children and because as long as we are his parents he’ll be okay.

Plan of action

For those not fully immersed in the hip “lingo” of developmental health and treatment I’m going to give you a quick run down.

  • Early intervention: targeted services to help children with delays or conditions. We are currently evaluating for occupational, physical, and speech therapy.
  • Occupational therapy: promotes the engagement of daily living such as sleep, play, learning, and social interaction.
  • Speech therapy: promotes motor skills, speech, and language development.

Neurologist appointments have given us a diagnosis and MANY appointments to fill our days. We have had hearing tests which are pointing us in the direction of possible hearing trouble. There’s an EEG in our future as well as some blood work. We’re covering all bases and learning all that we can as we go; letting God lead us to what we need to do for our family.

Want to know just what Sensory Processing Disorder is? Click here

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The lingo

Stimming: Self stimulation with repetitive movement, sounds, or movement of objects. Echolalia is also stimming

Echolalia: Repetition of phrases, words, or parts of words. Can also be used in place of typical communication

PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System, allows people with little to no current communicative abilities to do so using pictures.

Sensory Diet: A carefully designed, highly personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input that an individual needs to remain focused and centered throughout their day