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.firstname.lastname@example.org
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.