Guest Post: One Mom’s Journey Through the Autism Spectrum

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I think there is a lot of power in sharing things we have learned as parents, so when one of my readers, Nicole, emailed me about possibly doing a guest post on her experience with her son who was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, I said absolutely.

So she wrote an amazing guest post on the things she has learned and advice she has for any other parents that might be navigating their way through the same diagnosis.  Thanks Nicole for taking the time to share with other mamas. Here is what she wrote…

One Mom’s Journey Through the Autism Spectrum

As mothers we all try hard to create the perfect idea of what motherhood will be like.

From the outside I may look like I have it all together, but I struggle daily. The goals, images, and plans that I had organized in my mind as a mother have not fallen into place and I have learned the hard way that it is okay when plans change. In fact they change to teach us our life lessons and missions.

My son Mason who had developed normally through all of his milestones is on the Autism Spectrum.

At 18 months my vibrant and talkative boy stopped talking. Instead of words, he began to screech and throw screaming fits when trying to communicate. My doctor at the time thought it was a phase and that we would revisit again at 2 years 2 months. Since he was previously tracking well developmentally, it was not a red flag.

We could no longer go to public places without him having a screaming tantrum.  The thought of going places outside of the house caused me to have some anxiety, but I knew if would be the best for us to continue our routines. Thankfully, the help and advice I was seeking came from a new mommy friend, who happened to be speech and language pathologist.  She had noticed a change in Mason when we were at stroller strides together.  I know she was placed in my life for a reason.

With her advice, she recommended that Mason needed help outside of her professional realm and gave me information about The Orange County Regional Center.  They are a public service.

It was a process and we had come to find that there is a very small window to receive help through these services. The journey that it took to get the services in place was a bit of work but a plan was devised to help Mason.  They recommended an Applied Behavioral Analysis program in which the work would be to stop his screaming behavior and reward him if he used his words.

The Regional Center worked with us up until the age of 3 and then his file was turned over to the local school district, where a team of experts evaluated him.  He is now in various classes that work along side with his preschool program.

It is a continued work in progress daily, but the results have been phenomenal.

I am so very blessed in many ways that from what can be seen as a challenge for both Mason and our family, has enabled me to take a step back and change my ways.  I no longer can be that “yes” person, and we often have to say “no” to play dates or activities that are going on during Mason’s school schedule.

I have learned what is important and relevant. A need for balance is a constant reminder present in the eyes of both my children.

I have learned that my mission is to help my son get through this small bump in the road.

Mind you, I still get caught up like any other Mommy in what we may be missing out on, but when I see the leaps of bounds my son has made, I know it is well worth it.

My best advice for other families is that you are the best judge of your child and that most children that are diagnosed under the Autism Spectrum often receive early intervention programs because a parent noticed a change in a skill they once had.

Early intervention has helped my son and with a big push, he will start kindergarten without assistance and on time.

Here are some of Nicole’s personal references she found helpful:

For questions on Speech and Language:
Chatter Box Speech and Language Services-Amanda McGuckin M.A CCC-SLP
Email: Amcguckinslp@cox.net (949) 468-9348

The Orange County Regional Center (714) 796-5100

For Mommy support: Nicole.lindstrom@cox.net

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Thanks Nicole for sharing your personal story.  If anyone has a child on the Autism Spectrum and would like to comment and share any resources or things that have helped your family, please feel free to comment below.  I am sure other moms would be grateful for your help and advice.

8 Comments

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8
  1. 1
    Jennifer K says:

    My almost 3 year old son has an ASD as well. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome back in December. He has no intellectual or cognitive delays, but does have some fine and gross motor impairment due to sensory integration issues. The sensory issues also make it certain that he will have melt downs when we are out in public, which is made it difficult to go out and do “normal” family things (I have two other children as well). He also has social impairments, so things like Birthday Parties are not exactly enjoyable for him. We are currently receiving ABA therapy and Occupational Therapy, and about to transition to the school district for educational services. It’s a process… you are definitely not alone. I never in a million years thought that I would have a child with an ASD, but I do. And it turns out my husband is an Aspie as well, which makes sense because I always had a feeling but his quarks never bothered me. 🙂

  2. 2
    Lindsey says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have a friend with an incredible story her son is autistic and they have made leaps and bounds would love to connect you with her and maybe it will be inspiring for you both. Lindsey

  3. 3
    Jennifer says:

    Thanks you for sharing your story. It resonates so closely with mine. Regional center did not qualify my son (his percentage at the time was not enough) and I did not know that I could push the issue. We had our son diagnosed through Beach Kids for sensory processing disorder then later through the school district. He was diagnosed with mild/borderline ASD with sensory issues. We do private OT and now services through the school district and have seen positive changes. I truly believe early intervention is the best and to trust your mommy instinct.

  4. 4
    Nicole Lindstrom says:

    Thanks Ladies for your comments. I really appreciate it. This is such a common issue among children these days and often it is not talked about for fear that other Mommies will either look down on you or your child, which seems a bit silly. It is a battle of intervention. If you can capture it in that small window, then the odds are great in your childs favor to improve and main stream into kindergarten. I am hopeful. But I know it is a daily work in progress. Good luck to you all and thanks for the response.

  5. 5
    Amber K says:

    This was so encouraging to read. I am so glad that you are sharing your heart & personal experience with others, because I completely agree that early intervention is the key. I work full time as a behavior therapist in an autism specific preschool program, and my own son qualified for services this last summer, & was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 back in August. He is 3 now, and within a few short months has grown leaps and bounds because of the therapy he has received. Each day presents itself differently, some days are easier than others, but my son is amazing and I am so blessed! Thank you again for sharing your heart.

  6. 6
    Mo C says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I can relate.. my son is on the spectrum, we also went through RCOC and I was in Stroller Strides (Aliso Viejo) : ) For 1 year, we had 20 hrs/wk of in-home therapy from NYANSA (LOVE them). He’s now in special ed for preschool and has made amazing changes from therapy and school. My hope is that he will transition to mainstream kindergarten, but it’s a daily challenge 🙂 I feel like I’m in that “middle” place..he’s not severe but he’s definitely/noticeably behind. Although I have lots of wonderful friends, I don’t know anyone in a similar situation. Do you hang out in any mommy groups w/similar issues? Thank you again!

  7. 7
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your comments. No I don\’t have mommy group with similar issues. Can you recommend any? I live in Ladera Ranch. That is great information.

  8. 8
    Mo C says:

    I wish I could recommend one, but I don’t know of any : (

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