A Little of This… a Little of That…

by J

Hello! I’m Momma J and I have decided to start this blog to document our journey in raising our son, S, who is affected by autism. I’ve been meaning to start this blog for a while now, and since today is S’s 2nd birthday, and it is also a fairly “high autism day”, it seems fitting that I finally start writing.

First, let me give you a little background. I met my husband, Daddy J, about 12 years ago and we have now been married for 8 years. He is my love, my rock and my best friend; I simply can’t imagine a better person with whom to share my life. In 2009, we finally became pregnant with a much wanted baby and have been over-the-moon in love with our little boy ever since. Our son, S, was born two years ago today… a happy, healthy, wrinkly, cone-headed little baby, after over 35 hours of labor!

I first noticed that S wasn’t hitting his social mile-stones at just a few weeks old- when all the books and well meaning family kept commenting on the joys of seeing your baby smile at you. S just didn’t smile. Eventually he did though, albeit several weeks after most babies do. I brushed off my concerns as ‘first time mom worries’ and just focused on enjoying my baby. Around 7 months, I noticed some ‘stimming’ with his hands. I expressed my concerns with his daycare mom, and she assured me that he was just discovering his hands. S also wasn’t much of a laugher. He was a happy baby- in fact, a very happy baby! He smiled a lot, enjoyed being with us and seemed genuinely happy. However, he didn’t laugh. He would smile, but never a giggle. Everyone would comment how wonderful the sounds of a baby’s laughs were, but I just couldn’t relate. Would our baby ever laugh? I expressed this concern with S’s former doctor, and I was assured by him that S was just ‘stingy with the giggles’ and that our baby was fine. I never did like that guy.

When S was 12 months old, well, just the day before his 1st birthday, I heard… “momma!” It was the best sound ever! However, I only heard it just once more a few days later and the word left just as quickly as it had come. S came to learn, and then lose, several words over the next few months and, at 16 months old, his new pediatrician suggested that we contact the Infant and Toddlers Early Intervention Program in our county.

One day, I will go into the whole backstory of S’s diagnosis, but that is another post for another time. What I will say today is that by the age of 18 months, he was evaluated and diagnosed with an expressive speech delay and accepted into the Early Intervention program. A child physiologist also came to evaluate S around that time, and we were told he was not autistic. However, just 3 short months later, he was re-evaluated and given a formal autism diagnosis. Apparently, all of our son’s adorable little quirks were ‘red flags’ or symptoms of autism. His obsession with shoes, skateboards, having a comfort object for different locations, asking objects for things rather than asking people, preferring to play alone, etc. – All things that we thought were adorable little quirks that made him so special… they were all signs that our son has autism. I cannot begin to express the range of emotions that a parent goes through when finding out that your child has been diagnosed with autism. Maybe one day I will be able to put that out in words as well. What I do know is our child may be quirky, but he is perfect in our eyes… he is perfectly quirky, and very, very special.

So, here we are… today… S’s second birthday and with a whole set of additional challenges outside of the terrible two’s. I’m hoping that this blog will serve as an outlet for me as our family journeys with S through life, and as place for other parents, whose children are affected by autism, to come and know that they are not alone.