Monday, October 3, 2011

Update on Jayden

Jayden has been back in HeadStart for a few weeks now. I try to get the older kids' schoolwork done as much as possible in the morning while he is gone because he really wants our attention in the afternoon.

He's growing more and more each day, it seems. This picture brought tears to my eyes because it's the first time he has drawn more than squiggles, and he actually copied the teacher as she drew the picture next to him.

I got a letter from his doctor about the results from his MRI and bloodwork. Both were normal. The doctor said that kids on the autism spectrum usually got normal results on the MRI scan and blood tests. She wasn't ruling out autism- just ruling out anything else that might have been an issue.

In other good news, Jayden potty trained this summer! For a while I was skeptical that it would happen. He had issues with #2, but he did overcome with bribes of some Cars 2 toys. ;) He does wear a diaper at night, but he's been waking up dry many days, so we might finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My daughter turns 9 this month, so we have been seeing about 9 straight years of diapers without any breaks.

I'm realizing that I haven't done much updates on the rest of my family, so I'll try to do a post later, but it's time to do some schoolwork with the kids!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quoted from a Facebook Friend...

Being over 6' tall doesn't make you better it just makes you tall. Having an IQ over 120 doesn't make you more superior it just makes you intellectually smart. Autism doesn't make you less worthy it just makes you autistic. The neurosurgeon uses equipment made by a factory worker. We all have a role in this world, no role is more or less important.
I have had a lot of experience with Autism before I had my own child who falls on the Autism spectrum. My cousin has Asperger's. I've worked as a therapy technician with children and adults who had various developmental disabilities- including Autism. I worry how my child will be looked at by others. Even though I know that he's a great kid, and I have other people tell me what a great kid he is, I'm worried about future peers, co-workers, bosses, people in the community who might just see his Autism and not his good characteristics.

The other day at McDonalds, he was running around with a little boy the same age as him. He didn't play the same game that the little boy wanted him to play. The boy kept asking,"Why don't you want to play with me?" I explained to the boy that he was playing with him- just in his own way. But you can't really explain to a 4 year old about Autism. My 7 and 8 year old don't even really know much about Autism- just that they love their little brother even though he acts differently sometimes and annoys them by repeating things over and over again.

I know that we've come a long way in teaching other people about Autism, but there is still a long way to go. It's a lot like racism. A lot less people nowadays treat people differently because of the color of their skin than they did in MLK Jr.'s day, but there are still people today that are stuck in the old way of thinking. Times have certainly changed since the Autism label first came out, but there are still people who don't and won't understand Autism. I pray that knowledge will continue to grow and that people will realize just how much impact our special kids have on this world.

Thanks to my friend, Katheren Gomez, for capturing this great
picture of my guy.

MRI-me oh my

My little Cars fanatic with his two new friends that he earned by
going #2 on the toilet. ;)
It has been a while since I've updated on Jayden. In July, we drove to Spokane to see the Pediatric Neurologist. She did a great job with Jayden, all the more impressive since she is deaf. She confirmed that he is on the spectrum- on the high functioning side. She said that she wanted him to have an MRI and some blood tests to make sure that nothing else was affecting his brain.

Moving forward to this last Monday. We drove up Sunday night to Spokane again. This time we spent the night at a friend's house because our appointment was bright and early at 7 a.m., and I didn't want to have to drive for an hour and a half with a possible cranky kid who could have nothing to eat or drink since he had to be sedated.

We got to the hospital with no issues. Jayden hopped right into a Little Tyke's police car they had out for kids going into surgery. One of the perks of having this done at a children's hospital. We were able to get Jayden onto the scale with little fight- which was a good thing. For some reason, he normally balks at stepping on the scale. He even allowed the nurse to take his temperature and blood pressure- although, he hated it when the cuff got tight(not that I blame him).

He watched t.v. while we reviewed all of his health information. The nurse gave him the medicine to reduce anxiety and give him amnesia(I was secretly hoping for my own dose of the stuff). After he drank the medicine he said, in a deceivingly happy voice,"Yummy!" and then proceeded to make a face like Mr. Yuk. After a while, the stuff started kicking in, and he slumped over in my arms.

Next, they brought in a Child Life specialist to distract him while they did his I.V. and his bloodwork. Even though they put numbing cream in the spot a bit earlier, he did say,"Owie!" He kept trying to look over at what they were doing while the CL specialist held a book up in front of his face and turned on a toy that lit up and spun around. He settled down when she put it on his stomach because he liked the vibration that it made. I'm going to have to get one of those toys for him.

This was taken when the medicine had really kicked in. I thought all would be okay after this. Well, they had me come with him to the MRI room. We had to wait out in the hall for a bit, and he started getting restless and was trying to pull out his i.v. Well, the tears that I had tried to hold in for a while came out again. They got him on the table and started the medicine to knock him out. I watched them hook him up to the monitors and hold his chin up and suction him out so he could breathe okay. It reminded me of when I did child/infant CPR classes, and I started crying more because he looked so lifeless on the table. The anesthesiologist reassured me that he would be okay, and I knew he would. I wanted to say that I was really just emotional because of the reason we were here in the first place, but I just nodded and sniffled.

I went down to the cafeteria and got a coffee slushie and some fruit and a bagel, and headed back up to the waiting room. I saw all the people waiting for their children or waiting with their children for their own surgeries. I wondered if these children had it worse than Jayden. After all, Jayden is healthy. I have to be grateful for that.

They brought me back to the recovery room, and I took this last picture of him before we woke him up. The nurse was really friendly, and she had a cute British accent. We tried to rouse the very tired boy as we talked about our daughters and their experiences getting their tonsils removed, and the fact that the final episode of the Bachelorette was on that night. We finally got Jayden awake enough to eat some crackers and drink some juice. She gave me the discharge instructions, and Jayden and I were wheeled out to the van.

He slept most of the way home- even as we were stuck in traffic on the highway where there was a car accident. We stopped at the rest stop along the way, and he proved that potty training is still going well- even though he was too loopy to be able to walk or stand upright. And yes, Jayden is finally potty trained! Well, during the day at least.

So now, we are waiting to hear back on results. I will probably give them a call tomorrow since they said 3 days for results. I'll update sooner than a couple of months this time. ;)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4 Years Ago Today

Well, a year ago from today I did this post about where I was 3 years ago from that day so if you want to see my largely uncomfortable pregnant self again, you can click on that link, lol.

I can't believe that 4 years has gone by in such a relatively quick time. I know I shouldn't be surprised because I have two other kids who hit the 4 year mark, but maybe it seems to go by quicker when you have more to deal with. ;)

I'm so thankful to have this time to reflect on the past 4 years and how far Jayden has come. He really is a joy- despite the times that aren't so easy. I love watching him learn and grow and run around the house singing,"Happy Burp-day to you." He was singing it to Isaiah, and I told him that it's HIS birthday. He says, "No! No, thank you!" Maybe he wants to be like Peter Pan and never grow up. We just got him to finally say how old he is(3 years old), but now I am trying to teach him to say that he'll be four years old. Silly kid. Gotta love him!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jayden's appointment

It went pretty well. He has grown 3 inches and gained 5 lbs since the last time. The doctor said that he wasn't concerned with Jayden's nutrition(did I say he is a sensory eater?) because of his growth.

Jayden let the dr. listen to his heart and lungs, but that's as far as it went before he started getting anxious and wouldn't allow him to look in his mouth or anything else. Fortunately, the doctor has a great bedside manner and didn't push things. We talked about how he has improved with the therapies he has received in preschool, but I told him that I was still concerned about his other quirks and meltdowns. I showed him the pictures from this blog- thank heavens for smart phones! He told me that there wasn't really a pressing need for him to get assessed because he was already getting the therapies he needs at school, but he understood my desire to get closure on it all, so he set up the referral for Jayden to see a pediatric neurologist. It probably won't happen for a while because there is only one pediatric neurologist this side of the state, so we'll be on a waiting list, but I'm relieved that we have taken the step.

Monday, April 25, 2011


He really loves to spell.
Mostly things that he has seen on movies. Our refrigerator is covered with letter and number magnets. He also likes numbers. He's been able to read and identify his numbers and count things since he was about 2 1/2.

There is a term for the ability to read above the expected age level and to have an intense focus on letters and numbers- all the while having a hard time with comprehension and the ability to communicate. It's called hyperlexia.

Currently, Jayden's teachers are using these hyperlexic qualities to help him. They ask me to write a script for him to say when he is doing Sharing Time at school, and he reads off the script while showing off his toy or item. It's working well, but now he talks like he's reading from a script sometimes.

His favorite books are anything by Dr. Seuss. When his class celebrated Dr. Seuss week a short while back, he had a grand ole time! The only problem was that he hoarded all the Dr. Seuss books to himself and would get upset if anyone wanted to read with him.

Today is his 4 year well-child checkup. I will be talking to his doctor about his development and the possibility of getting some more assessments done. I hope we can get through the appointment okay. He has a tendency not to appreciate doctors very much. I will post an update later!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All Your Little Cars(and other items) all Lined up in a Row

A hint that might lead one to believe that Jayden is on the autism spectrum is:

And he gets mighty upset when someone messes with his order in any way.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Autism Awareness Month

I haven't posted in forever because I find posting things on Facebook satisfies my need to share my life with family and friends. I have decided that this month, I should go back to blogging because April is Autism Awareness month, and this is a subject that is hitting close to home.

Almost a year ago I posted this entry about Jayden's 3 year check-up and my apprehensions about his lack of speech. The plan was for Jayden to go to HeadStart and see if things would work themselves out with extra outside help.

I'm happy to say that things ARE improving. He has developed more vocabulary. He is starting to play more with other kids- whereas before, he was mostly doing his own thing and didn't care to be very social. He's receiving therapies that seem to be helping a lot.

Therein is the pull. He is receiving therapies because it has been determined by the Special Education team that he qualifies based on the SSIS(Social Skills Improvement System) and other assessments they performed. The SSIS includes an assessment of autism behaviors. Jayden placed within the above average range for behaviors related to autism. This wasn't a big surprise to me. I had suspected such for a while, but it makes it a little more real when you hear it from others.

Those of you who know Jayden well might be shocked to hear that he could be autistic. He shows love and affection and interacts. It's a myth that people with autism lack the ability to show affection and love. In fact, it's a myth that if you've seen one person with autism, you've seen them all. There is a reason that they call it "the spectrum." I am fortunate in that Jayden seems to be on the high functioning end of the spectrum.

Some things that indicate he could be on the spectrum:
Speech delay
Difficulty with social interaction
Repetitive behaviors
Lines toys up
Becomes very upset if his order is messed with
Difficulty with change
Sensitive to some sounds
Food aversions

Some of these issues lead to behaviors that seem less than desirable to the general passerby. I'm sure that people might look at Jayden during a meltdown and think that he just needs to be disciplined and I feel like a bad parent at those times. I think that one thing people need to be aware of this month(and others) is that autism is an invisible disorder. Don't sit in judgment on a situation where a child is having a meltdown. It could be that the child is a little hellion with lack of discipline, but it could be something that is beyond control. I know that I've been judgmental in the past, but I'm not so quick to be that way now. A kind word goes a long way.

It hasn't been easy for me to come to terms with our situation. Parents want the best for their children, and I want Jayden to have a good life without too many struggles. The truth is that we all have our own struggles to face, and I hope to be able to help Jayden face his struggles. He hasn't officially been diagnosed with autism(something I need to work on in the coming year), but no matter what label he gets, the label that I hope to put on him is LOVE. He's a great kid, and I'm proud to be his mom. He makes me smile every day(even on the days that I want to cry).

There's a lot more that I want to say about this subject, but I'm leaving on a weekend retreat later today, so my plan is to blog frequently through the month about autism and Jayden. I'll be adding more pictures and stuff, so check back soon!