Thursday, June 3, 2010

The World Of Autism - Where Do You Turn?

Before Dakota was diagnosed with autism I honestly thought I was going crazy. I didn't understand what was happening to my precious little boy. The fits, the not talking, the repetitive behaviors, the really BAD sensory issues, etc. Although some of these things I didn't realize what they were, such as I didn't know he was having sensory issues. I just knew he wouldn't touch anything that made him messy and would go almost literally insane if you forced him. This included food and not eating. No one quite understood when I said "he doesn't eat". They would see him eat a pretzel and say "look he's eating he's fine". Only those pretzels were the only texture he would eat. You couldn't just sit him at the table to eat or he would throw up. We initially reached out for help because he went from the 75% to the 5% for weight in a matter of weeks. We started out with the therapy they recommended because no one again understood. They thought a group therapy once a week would "do the trick". So we started therapy with the group only after the second session the therapist said "this isn't going to work, he needs much more one on one therapy and he has serious sensory issues". How did she come to this conclusion? I spent the entire hour every time we met with him kicking and screaming and running away from the table and the food and having him to the point of almost throwing up (luckily he never threw up at therapy). Only I knew that is how he would react because that's what he always did. It was only through getting therapy for the food issues that we realized he was delayed in speech. As we went through one on one sessions his therapist came to realize Dakota was showing signs of something much bigger. Finally she said the words Asperger's Syndrome. It was a long road with wait lists, and more people ignoring me to get to the testing. But once the testing was complete is was confirmed that he was autistic. His official diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder/PDD-NOS. At the time I remember thinking "praise God I'm not crazy" and I still call that piece of paper my "I'm not crazy paper". At the time I was already in therapy, but I didn't really know what was next or what to do. I know a lot of parents feel that way when their child gets diagnosed. After a dear friends son was diagnosed she exected someone to tell her where to go and what to do. Only no one did as no one ever does. That is why this same dear friend started a blog/site. And it is amazing. It has all the resources I had to scramble for even before I knew my son was autistic. She shares the discoveries their making and sharing anything she might find useful. I love it. I loved it enough to share it here to spread it's resources so other parents don't have to scramble like I did.

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