Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech Delay, and a new baby on the way, oh my!

So I’ve been MIA for many months from my personal blog.  Part of the reason is because my photography biz has really taken off, which I’m super happy about, but the other part is there’s been a LOT going on in my life/our lives.

I can’t list them in priority order, b/c they’re all top priority, but I AM going to bullet things out b/c I feel like it will help me keep my thoughts organized.

First and foremost, we need a recent pic of my boys – I can’t believe how big they are.  They really love each other, despite how many arguments they may have.

  • Nicholas was enrolled in preschool at Brighton Tot Spot, at the Miller Building, run through Brighton Community Education and falling under the Brighton Area Schools umbrella.  The change we saw in him from October of last year to the end of May was amazing.  He made SO much progress in his social skills, and I owe a LOT to his teacher, Louise Vamvounis, and her assistant teacher, Amy Staszel.  They were FANTASTIC with him.

    In the winter, they approached me about some issues they were having with him, which in turn ended up involving special education, which resulted in an eventual IEP meeting with them.  We are very lucky that Mrs. V & Mrs. Staszel noticed that his ‘quirks’ were affecting his interactions with his peers and his daily activities.From the IEP, we learned that he met the educational  criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (which was really no surprise to me and Nick)  As a result, he is receiving speech, OT, and PT services during the school year while he attends preschool.

  • Tying into the above point, in May we participated in a study at the UMACC (University of Michigan Autism & Communications Disorders Center.  He underwent extensive testing, including THE gold standard in evaluating Autism, the ADOS, which was developed by the head of UMACC, Catherine Lord.  Nick and I were also interviewed and those were taken into consideration.The results of the study might come as a surprise to some people, but not to us.  Nicholas meets the criteria for a Medical Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    We’d been dealing with some sensory issues for some time (since last October, when we were referred to Leaps & Bounds in Whitmore Lake by the Howell School District, who knew Nicholas had issues but didn’t feel he met the requirements for intervention), and his new therapist, Carrie, has really made a lot of progress with him.  We started with a different therapist and a few months into things, switched to another OT.  She has gotten him to eat pretty much anything I bring for him to try (excluding chicken/turkey – for some reason, he doesn’t like it), and now he’s even asking for ice cream and the other day had FOUR gummi bears.  These are HUGE accomplishments.The ASD diagnosis came with some recommendations; we’re still working on accommodating our family schedule to include all of these therapies but not leave out Christopher.Here is a recent photo of Nicholas:

  •  Speaking of Christopher – what a joy he is.  I have to admit – having a child on the spectrum first, and then having a ‘neuro-typical’ child has thrown us for a bit of a loop.  Nick and I have gotten so used to solving Nicholas’ tantrums in the ways that work for HIM that we didn’t know what to do with Christopher’s stereo-typical toddler defiant behavior.  Luckily, I had bought a book when Nicholas was just Christopher’s age and it IS applying to Christopher’s behaviors whereas it didn’t relate to Nicholas at all.

    In addition to being a defiant toddler, Christopher has an AMAZING personality (everyone just flocks to him – he’s magnetic) and he works it too.  He knows he has charm and he’s definitely an actor – if he doesn’t grow up to be a thespian, then he’s going to be in sales or management or something like that – though for being so good at the acting, he’s definitely amazing with puzzles and other things as well!

    He receives speech therapy 1x a month from Early On, through LESA, but we’re looking into doing some more work with him on the private side as well, at Leaps & Bounds.  We *think* part of the reason he doesn’t talk much is b/c Nicholas LOVES to be an ‘announcer’ where he narrates what he and Christopher are doing all day long – I think he doesn’t talk much b/c I’ve let him get away with not talking and pointing…we’ll see.We think he’s going to be a FABULOUS big brother!  Here’s a recent favorite of Christopher:

  • I am pregnant with baby #5, baby boy #3, due 10/3/11.  Currently 28w and feeling HUGE, and the infinite weather changes don’t help my cause.  This baby is sitting SO low that I can literally pick up my belly and lift him up.  Kind of interesting and kind of disturbing at the same time, right?  The latest news with this pregnancy is that I didn’t pass my 1 hour glucose test, so I have to go in on Saturday AM and do a 3-hour test, which isn’t fun, from what I’ve heard.

    Another fun thing to note about this pregnancy – for some reason, Nicholas started calling the baby Robbie.  We’re not 100% sure of where he got it from, but I *think* that he got it from the Winnie-the-Pooh book.  See, he first suggested that we call the baby Christopher, and I explained that we already HAD a Christopher, so we had to think of something else, and he suggested “Robbie”.  Looking back, I wonder if he saw “Christopher Robin” and dropped the ‘n’ and “Robbie” was his name.  Now, we’re not announcing WHAT the baby’s name will be, but for now, we ARE referring to him as Robbie, since that is what both Nicholas AND Christopher refer to him as.

  • Here I am on the 5th of July at 27w1d.  Photo taken by my dear friend, Cheree Federico, of Cheree Federico Photography, in Bowling Green KY.Image taken by Cheree Federico Photography

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