At Oliver’s 18 month check up, in July 2010, our pediatrician informed us that Oliver probably is autistic. Oliver didn’t speak, besides “da da da da” He also had some behavior issues. When he gets frustrated Oliver will hit his head repeatedly on the ground or wall. And being a little kid not able to communicate with your parents the things you need or want can make you frustrated a lot. He also doesn’t really like to play with other kids. All of these factors lead the doctor to the idea of autism.
I couldn’t believe that my sweet, wonderful Oliver could be autistic. Like any mother, I didn’t want any thing bad for my child. I just wanted to protect him from everything, but I couldn’t protect him from this. Also, it was so frustrating not knowing what degree of autism he had, or if he was just delayed. It took forever to get in to see doctors and some of the doctors were just a waste of time. We went to a few specialists and all we would get was that he did seem to be autistic but that it was too early to diagnose. Finally in November 2010, we went up to the Child Development Clinic (CDC) up at the University of Utah. We met with Dr. Peck, a Psychologist, he watched Oliver play with toys, and asked us questions about Oliver, and then tried to play with him. His findings were that Oliver seemed to have good eye contact with people, which a lot of autistic kids struggle with, but Oliver seemed anxious which is common in people with Aspergers Syndrome. Dr. Peck told us that though it is still too early for him to diagnoses he believes Oliver has Aspergers Syndrome or possibly PDD (pervasive developmental disorders). Both would be better than autism he said, but if it turns out Oliver is autistic he thinks he might be on the higher functioning end of the autistic spectrum. Now I’m no expert on defining Autism, Aspergers, or PDD so I’m not going to try. When we get a diagnoses I will most likely become an expert on whatever condition Oliver has, but till then I’m just focusing on helping Oliver with the things his Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Behavioral Specialist from Early Intervention tell us to do. Early Intervention has been great and so helpful. They send whatever specialists you need right to your home for visits and to work with your child. We have been very grateful for them.
To help Oliver we’ve worked on really engaging with him, talking to him, signing with him and playing with him. They say kids learn the most when they are having fun and if we show Oliver that our world is fun he will try less to isolate himself and be more willing to play and engage with others. Though Oliver is two years old now and still doesn’t have any words, we have seen great improvements in him. He signs: more, please, and drink. Oliver gives us kisses and hugs and loves to play chase. Since Oliver also has some sensory issues he loves being swung, bounced, loves to jump, run, climb and hit his head, it helps him regulate all the things he is taking in and learning. Along with having sensory issues it’s caused him to be a very picky eater. Since all of his senses are heightened smells, tastes, even the look of food can throw him off. We rely on Pediasure to get him the nutrition he needs because some days he would only eat Pringle chips. But we just started a Gluten Free diet which I’ve heard helps a lot of kids that are in the same boat as Oliver. So we will see if it works for him too.
At the beginning it was really hard, but Brett and my family were great comforters. I just wanted Oliver to have a happy life. I wanted the best for my baby. I didn’t want him to have to face this sort of trial. I could have let this eat at me every day and bring me down each night and I did for a while. But we have support from our amazing family, great friends, and Jesus Christ that helped us through the darkest of times. I realized Oliver can still have a happy life, that’s not for Asperger’s or Autism to decide, but for us to make that decision. Oliver is a beautiful, smart, funny little fella and he has so much to offer. He has so many great qualities. To look at him and just see Aspergers/Autism is wrong. That doesn’t define who he is, it’s just something he has. He is my baby and I love him, we all do. And I couldn’t have married a more perfect man. Brett is the perfect daddy for Oliver and I adore seeing them play together, they are best buddies. So we are now waiting till he is closer to three years old to go back and get the diagnosis.
Now the title of this post I thought was quite fitting. Oliver has a love for Pixar type movies, one of his current favorites is The Incredibles. When ever the bad guy Buddy/Syndrome says,”I’m Syndrome, your nemesis!” it makes me think of Aspergers Syndrome and it makes me chuckle.
Just a note, if you are out in public and see a mom and dad with their kid and the kid is throwing a huge fit, you might think: wow that kid is a tantrum thrower, or gosh, they need to get their child in control, do not judge. There can be so much more that you have no clue about. The kid might have sensory issues and all the lights and sounds in the store is driving the child crazy. Or the kid might have social anxieties which makes them really irritable and anxious. Be humane and have compassion.
We made a blog to track Oliver’s progress. And he’s been doing so so well.
|Oliver’s favorite past time, swinging!