Saturday, May 4, 2013

How it all began- Part 2 "Red Flags on FIRE!"

After the clubbed foot issue was behind us we started noticing things with Aidan.  First off, he was a happy little baby.  We used to call him "fat n happy" because he was a chubby little thing and just laughed and laughed.  Things were going well so far.  He hit gross motor milestones with ease, even with his brace.  He rolled over on time, sat up by himself unassisted at 6 months to the day, and even walked early at 11 months.  What was lacking was his fine motor skills.

Aidan had tremendous difficulty picking up small objects.  When he tried to use his pincer grasp, he would keep missing what he was trying to grab and had terrible difficulty manipulating small objects.  I dismissed it though.  I figured, he is young, and I don't let him handle small objects due to chocking risks and figured it would improve on its own in time.  It didn't.  As of today, his fine motor skills still aren't where they should be, but therapy and lots of Lego play has helped significantly.  He does not hold a pencil correctly and his handwriting is not the best, but he is getting better with time.  His writing hand still fatigues easily though.

Around 9 months I noticed other kids his age pointing.  Aidan did not do this.  I know they say you shouldn't compare kids, but I think comparing can sometimes be a good thing.  I noticed all the kids in his Gymboree play and learn class had this skill.  Still thinking it may not be anything to panic over, I waited.  At 12 months, he still wasn't pointing though.  I knew that wasn't quite right.

From early on Aidan was fascinated with all things that would spin.  He would stare at fans until I moved him.  He spun wheels on his trucks and cars.  I put him on a carousel for the first time and he fixated on the gear that spun around allowing the horse to go up and down.  I actually have a picture of this somewhere I will have to dig out.  

He didn't talk.  He babbled, but there was no sensible speech.  I heard what many parents in our situation hear.  "He is a boy, they are slower to talk".  There is slow and then there is SLOW.  We waited.  We waited for 12 months.  Nothing.  We waited for 18 months.  Nothing.  We waited for 2 yrs.  Nothing.  2 1/2 years.  Nothing.  Finally, around 3 years he started to talk.  I had brought this up to his pediatrician countless times when we lived in Pittsburgh   I was told it was normal. *sigh*  

Sensory issues were HUGE!  Aidan hated grass with a passion.  He would scream if we put him in it.  The feel of it on his feet would send him over the edge.  To this day he still is not a fan but he deals when needed.   As long as he has shoes on, he's good.  Sand was another obstacle.  When we put him in it, we had the same reaction.  Screaming.  We carried him for quite some time to the hard part of the sand down near the water during our yearly vacations.  Today, he still doesn't really care for it, but with pool shoes on he is okay; however we still have to sit at the waters edge.  He covered his ears a lot.  He would cover them with loud noises, walking into new situations, when he felt scared, when he felt nervous, when we were somewhere with a lot of stimulation.  He did this for years. Today he still covers them on rare occasions when there is a lot of stimulation   

Eye contact went from good to not so great.  This happened right after his second MMRV vaccine.  They no longer give the MMRV because of the side effects.  We came home from his appointment and he started to immediately throw up and he developed a fever.  I took him back to the doctors and his reaction was reported to VAERS.  It was YEARS before I could get him to look at a camera and smile.  Biomed helped with that. (will post that later).

Aidan cried at classical music.  He had a toy that played a snippet of classical music when he pushed a button.  Once he heard this, he would freeze;  then his lower lip would come out and he would become hysterical.  I tried this with other types of classical music and he had the same reaction.  Today, that no longer occurs, but he had that issue until he was 3 yrs old.  

Coordination.  Yikes!  This was and still is probably the biggest area of difficulty for Aidan both then and now.  He always appeared clumsy.  He fell a lot.  He was unable to catch a ball up until a few years ago.  He couldn't ride a big wheel or a bike.  He appeared, and still does appear awkward in his body.  Today, he still can't ride a bike but we are hoping his new therapy will help with that.  Aidan was diagnosed with Developmental Coordination Disorder prior to his autism diagnosis.  He was 5 at the time.  The label autism was not put on because again, they wanted to wait and see of he got better with age.  He did not.  Three years later we received the "A" word after very poor social skills began to emerge and academic discrepancies were noted; poor in language arts and incredible in math.  He had been teaching math to himself for quite some time at that point.

Aidan still struggles with social skills.  He got better after social skills and pragmatic speech therapy but they still aren't quite right.  He has so much trouble picking up on social cues.  When he is irritating someone he is unable to recognize it so he keeps doing what he is doing.  He still struggles with his speech volume, often talking far louder than necessary and personal space is still an issue.  He often gets too close to people when he talks which puts kids off at this age.  This is year is the first year he is getting picked on, however he isn't recognizing that either.  I get told second hand from teachers and other parents.  I'm not quite sure if he will ever get the whole aspect of social skills, but I'm hopeful.  He is back in pragmatic speech therapy.

Much love.....

On to writing the final part.... Part 3