Friday, August 22, 2014

A Birthday to Celebrate

Caleb turns 4 this year, and he is getting his first party.  Its a reason to celebrate for our whole family. He has grown so much in the last year.  This time last year we started walking down a dark tunnel with no idea where we would end up.  All we knew is he wasn't acting typical for an almost 3 year old.  Nothing huge but lots of little things that added up to concern.

  • He didn't ever seek out a playmate at the park
  • He hadn't mastered the open cup
  • He needed a bib for meal time.  
  • He had an abnormal gait to his running
  • He was uninterested in coloring
  • He didn't seem interested in becoming independent.  
  • He would answer our questions in unrelated quotes from his favorite movies.

At his birthday party he just stared at
his presents, he needed help to open them.

We started inquiring with the doctor who sent us to specialists and therapists.  And we began dragging Caleb all around town to see different people to help us understand where he should be and why he was behind.  He saw a neurologist, Behavior Specialist, Developmental Pediatrician, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and the most recent has been Behavior Therapist.  

We wanted to find the "labels" that fit him so we could push past them and know what we were dealing with.  Initially he was given 2 labels that were both new to us.  Hypotonia, also known as low muscle tone or "floppy baby syndrome".  The second label was Sensory Processing Disorder, the information gained by our senses is not processed correctly and cause problems doing the otherwise routine activities.  Sounds may feel louder than they are, or an itchy tag on a shirt may feel like a horrid rash.  As a young child is learning about the world around them and developing basic skills these can cause fundamental problems.  So we began the prescribed regiment of Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy for Oral Motor skills.

Later after seeing more specialists and getting a second opinion, Caleb was given 2 more labels.  ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Aspergers.  Due to recent classification changes Aspergers is now under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is not a separate diagnosis.  I have seen attributes of ASD in Caleb for awhile and was relieved to get it on paper.  We added Behavioral Therapy to our weekly routine and began looking at school options for our extra special, and exceptional boy.  

Autism is a neurological disorder. It's not caused by bad parenting. It's caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain's computer cables that hook up the different brain departments.  -Temple Grandin

He is still Caleb, he is our Caleb. 
Now we have the tools to help him achieve all that he can. 

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