Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Life Changing Diagnosis..A Year Later.

A year ago today was the day that we were told that Cohen is autistic. I remember filling out all the forms and feeling more and more helpless every time I marked a "does not do this" box. The diagnosis came in two parts. The first part was sitting with a developmental pediatrician and answering question after question for two hours. The second was an ADOS (autism diagnostic observation schedule) where he was "on his own" with an evaluator for about 2 hours to figure out "where he fell on the spectrum". No parent should have to go through this, but some of us do. It was such a sucker punch in the gut to us. We had already dealt with so much already, but I knew that it had to be done to benefit our little boy and give him every chance possible.

I remember after his diagnosis came in, being very angry for a long time. I was so angry at all the people who would try to make me feel better and say "he doesn't seem autistic". I had to hold my tongue a lot. I wanted to yell at them and say "nobody should sit there and watch their little boy stop talking, stack the same four blocks feverishly alone over and over because there are too many people around, lay on the floor and flex for HOURS upon HOURS and no matter what you do, you just can't get him to stop. No one should go through the pain of watching your child say the same thing over and over again because they just can't control it. Little boys don't trace the same path for hours in the back-yard and completely ignore anything and everyone. They show interest in things. They give their parents love. They smile. They cry when they fall down and look for comfort. They don't pick at random spots on their body until they bleed." These are just a few of the things that we were going through. I know that people were trying to help in their own way, but it just was so hard for me to accept that I didn't want the help. It took me a long time to get to an "acceptance" point.

We are so lucky that we are close to a center that helps children with autism. The amount of progress that Cohen has made is incredible. Aside from a few random quirks, he's just like any other child. It was about 8 months of going up to the University (sometimes every day) for a couple of hours figuring out ways to "help" Cohen. My house was a revolving door of therapist after therapist, but it all was worth it. The little boy I have now, although a talkative one at that, is completely different than the little boy of then. He sings songs, he will sometimes go up to kids to play with them, he talks and talks and talks, he goes to a special ed preschool and has adjusted really well. It's amazing. We have been very lucky with the amount of progress that Cohen has made. This has been an amazing journey filled with laughs and tears. I laugh more than I cry about this now. It has taught me so much about being a mom and has given me a great amount of patience. I know that I went through this not only for Cohen but for myself as well.

Here is one of Cohen's favorite activities. Hiding in the laundry basket.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food Eating by Aja

I really don't know what it is about my kids, but my boys are not very good eaters and my girls are the ones that like to chow. There is the cutest little hut/shack down the road that starts selling fresh produce around the beginning of August. You can find me there daily. Anyway, they sell the BEST corn on the cob I have ever tasted. Seriously..The best. My family really gets corned out during the summer because I serve it with every meal, but how can you turn down some rockin corn on the cob? YOU CAN'T! Here is Aja and her first experience with corn on the cob. She's such a funny chick!

She was giggling at me because I was wiggling the corn in her face.

First tentative bite...

Second little bite (YES, she finally got that fourth tooth..It kind of sucks. I was enjoying the nick name: Tres-Toof. Oh well)

Chewing slowly to see if we REALLY like it. The verdict: Not really. I'm sure next year she will be all over it though. However, she did eat a few bites of it, and being the mom of some picky eaters..I will take what I can get!

I also wanted to let you all know that Aja has started walking! It was such an exciting moment in the house. The kids were all cheering her on and I was squealing (yes, squealing) at the top of my lungs because I was so excited. And then of course I was crying at the same time. I get teary-eyed about it every time I talk about it. It has been so AWESOME to see her hit her mile-stones. It has been hard to hear from doctors that your child may never walk, talk, or be severely delayed. I've been so anxious to see if this day would ever arrive and I'm SO glad that it has. She is truly an amazing little girl and I'm so proud of everything that she has accomplished so far.