Friday, January 05, 2007

Much has happened....

It's been so long since I've actually written anything here; I almost don't know what to do.

The Christmas season went pretty well. I cut myself a lot of slack in terms of what I thought I had to do this year as is evidenced by the four pounds of butter, several bag of chocolate chips, two bags of nuts, and the two cups of chopped cranberries that never did make it into cranberry bread. My hand-made gifts went over very well and only two of them were being worked on mere hours before they were to be given. Late night knit-a-thons were kept to a minimum.

I've been trying to do a lot of soul-searching about just what it is that I want from this season. Don't get me wrong, I had some great Christmas moments over the years, but most of my energy has always been poured into doing for others as a means to get over the fact that very few of my own needs were being met. John and I had several in-depth conversations about what we each want from each other and they went very well.

On the Michael front, my son has become a two-year-old. I've dealt with small tantrums and melt-downs before and have made the changes in our lives to keep them to a minimum, but now it's over everything. It's very hard not to laugh when I tell him, "No" and his lips start quivering as his world comes crashing down around him because he can't have/do X. Those are the times when I am up to handling them. Then there are the times when he's having a full-on tantrum and I am at my wits' end and not up to dealing with it. It's like having to find my sea-legs all over again. There were a tough couple of weeks when I was trying to get Christmas sewing done and everything seemed to spark a, "My world is ENDING!!!" type of reaction from him which was not pleasant. I think I've found a happy medium again and we have some rough times but I've been able to find baby-Zen more often.

His schedule is pretty full with therapies - we have special instruction on Mondays, speech on Wednesdays and OT on Thursdays. We also have a re-eval with the developmental ped coming up as well as an evaluation with the school district since he will be ageing out of Early Intervention this summer. I have very mixed feelings about both of these. He's made tremendous progress over the past year. His over-all communication is still about six-months behind even though his vocabulary is a good six to twelve months ahead.

On the behavioral front he's still behind. He doesn't have many of the "classic" signs of autism, but socially he's still closer to an eighteen month-old rather than a two and a half year-old. This makes going out in certain social situations hard at times, even harder because he 38" tall and weighs 37 pounds so he looks like he's closer to four. We've done a few story times with John at the library and they can be very trying. It can be very over-stimulating to him and he deals with it by running around the room. Most of the time I know that this is what my child needs to do and as it doesn't seem very disruptive I can just let it go. There are times when the difference between my child and other children close in age seems huge. It's hard not to read disproving looks when I'm chasing my child around the room and everyone else is sitting quietly on the carpet squares listening to the book being read.

I guess the hardest part is that he doesn't "look" autistic. A few months ago, Comedy Central had a fundraiser for Autism. They had little bits between acts showing autistic children and what the parents and the children go through. When compared to that, it would seem that I am the one overreacting; that there can be no way my child is autistic. Michael is a very out-going, loving child. He doesn't have any stims, his communication is improving, and he's started to exhibit joint-attention very nicely and has even been spontaneously pointing these past few months. That said, there are subtle differences between how he interacts and his peers. We'll just leave it that he's on the spectrum.

I do have some concerns about his upcoming evaluation with the school district. Unlike Early Intervention, this evaluation is taking place at their offices rather than at our home. When I first found this out I was very concerned, there was no way he was going to perform up to speed in a strange place. There is also his stubbornness. His fine motor skills are fantastic and have always been, but because he will not stack blocks on command he consistently tests as having a delay because that is the test they use to gauge fine motor skills. There is a very good chance that he will score lower than what he is actually capable. After some thought, I feel that this may not be a bad thing. I don't think he'll score low enough to merit going to a special program but even if he does that may not be a bad thing. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

There is more but as this is the third posting for today, I think I'll leave it here and pick up again next week. Thanks for reading.