Friday, June 3, 2011

And the story continues...

When last we left our intrepid heroine she was deciding on what course of action to take for her son..... 
 So- continuing on from the last blog post ( I was going to do this in a couple of days but have had people asking for the rest of the story so who am I to keep my adoring, slightly demented fans waiting?) I had just witnessed a  meltdown of epic proportions from my child, and the teacher handling it badly. So after taking over and telling her she wasn't fit to work with rabid badgers (I was pissed) I calmed Noah down and took him home. I had some info from my boss about programs for early intervention so I set to compiling a list of questions and make the call. It was HARD. I cried- my husband looked lost and confused. The hardest realization I think I had come to in my life up to that point was the fact that something was "wrong" with one of my kids.

The organization I contacted was through The Guidance Center- which at the time was called Circle of Caring an early childhood behavioral intervention program- because at the time I wasn't convinced it wasn't JUST behavioral issues. A very wonderful woman set up the appointment- came to the school and talked to me, Noah's teacher's and gave me a stack of paperwork to fill out. The following day she came in to begin a series of observations of Noah in the classroom. She also came to our home for observation as well. After doing this- she recommended that we have Noah tested by a developmental pediatrician. She could not tell us for sure what the problem was- but she was certain it was not just behavior.

I called and made the appointment very soon after that and we went to Detroit Institute for Children for several rounds of MORE paperwork and Noah being subjected to sitting in a tiny room for HOURS answering questions, playing with toys, and eventually melting down. The answer we got? "Your son seems to have Pervasive Development Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified and has a global developmental delay of about a year to a year and a half. My husband and I looked at each other and said what does that mean? I understood the delay part but what was this other crap? PDD-NOS means your child has MOST of the criteria for an autism diagnosis but not all of them. We were then handed a sheet of paper  and sent on our way.

Yup- THAT WAS IT!!! Talk about shell shocked.  I immediately went into research mode. I pretty much shut out everything and surfed, talked, and read any books I could get my hands on. I ended up quitting my job so I could be home with Noah and help him as much as I could. We were already worried about how we were going to manage this - since there was NO insurance coverage for Autism. 

So I made my own picture schedules. I adapted Floor Time to the best of my ability. I studied Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and tried to introduce that into our daily routine. ( I feel that ABA is a lot like dog training- trying to get a child do "conform" and be "normal" as opposed to working with the strengths and/or weaknesses they have)  I started researching schools and set up appointments with the district psychologist, social worker and speech therapist. That appointment was what prompted me to seek another opinion on Noah's diagnosis- the school "didn't agree" with it- wanted to classify him as ADHD only and label him as "Otherwise Health Impaired" insuring ZERO services and a label that would mark him as  a behavior issue and not address what was really happening. 

The second doctor we saw did blood work, had an MRI done and discovered that Noah's brain was actually bigger than normal for a child his age- the area in the brain that is responsible for seizure activity was also enlarged - both things that are common for children on the spectrum.   The second diagnosis was High Functioning Autism, Severe ADHD and OCD-like tendencies. 

Fast forward 4 years- after a horrible kindergarten experience with a teacher who refused to work with us- to a new school in an autistic classroom with an amazing teacher, aides, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Noah  is now nearly indistinguishable from his peers. I say nearly because he still has a hard time with eye contact sometimes, still has a tendency to speak in movie and TV quotes when he doesn't know what to say, and is still developmentally delayed- he does act much younger than his peers- at 8 years old he acts and does things more like a 6.5 or 7 year old. But we are still working hard every day- he has come so very far in the last 5 years- I am amazed. 

Have I changed my mind about vaccine injury? No.

Will I have him vaccinated again when the time comes? That remains to be seen.  I am not some crazy "anti- vax" mom. I am a mom who has legitimate concerns about the safety of so much literal poison being injected into our  children's under developed immune systems and the  probability that there are children who have an underlying issue which makes them more susceptible to developmental issues, AND  Autism when vaccines stress their bodies- which they do- that is why the majority of children run a fever after vaccines are given.  All I ask is that you do your OWN research. Everyone is up in arms about Andrew Wakefield ( who I completely support by the way) and the MMR, and thimerosol- all valid concerns- but we need to broaden the view to encompass the aluminum, human aborted fetus cells, and all the other crap that is in vaccines- and do the studies that will actually help figure this out once and for all.  There can't be just ONE reason- there has to be multiple- but with so many parents that can pinpoint their child's regression after vaccines- how can that continue to be ignored?

We now return you to your previously snarky blog