Monday, 29 July 2013

The World Didn't End

I was snuggling with Mr. Natey this morning before he got on the bus.  I have been particularly tough on him recently- he is showing a little more awareness and I am trying to take advantage of every moment of it.  I had him in his little learning chair (baby jail) for almost an hour last night practicing sorting, reading him books, stacking, yada yada.  I wouldn't let him out until he said done.  Things like that.  Trying to get him to use his words is torture for all of us.  It doesn't help that all of his favorite things seem to start with C, which I think I have mentioned before- chip, cup, cookie.  He did say cook for cookie this weekend so that was good.  It just stinks that they all kind of sound the same- we're never completely sure he's saying something new, or understanding.  I am back to working on body parts with him again- something that he was still doing at this time two years ago- he pointed to his nose, eyes and head at his 18 month checkup.  Anyway, as I was looking at him all I could think was, I can't believe we're here. 

Nathan is 3 and a half years old.  This is the age that Jack was when he was diagnosed with Aspergers.  When after years of feeling alone, feeling like people thought I was "overreacting" to some very concerning behaviors, I mentioned my concerns to his 3 year old preschool teacher.  She said "thank God, I have been waiting for you to bring it up!!"  That was when I called child find- where they wouldn't diagnose him, but told me that he had such and such deficits in these areas, then said, these types of deficits often point to autism.  I want to emphasize this to any parents going through, or about to go through the evaluation process with their child.  Do NOT go alone.  I did, and it was a huge mistake.  Take someone with you, someone to entertain your child while you have your nervous breakdown.  A visit to a developmental pediatrician (a "traditional" one) took about 4-5 months to procure and when we did so, he was officially diagnosed.  I once again went alone to this appointment- if I'm being honest, I was facing these issues on my own at the time- it was really tough for daddy to accept.  I still thank God everyday that he got there. 

At the time, I felt as though my whole world was crumbling.  I thought, ok, this is our "thing".  The bad "thing" that every family has to face and work through.  Little did I know that this was actually our preparation for a much bigger "thing", Nate's autism.  First God gave us our child with motor and sensory issues, obsessions, extreme emotions, ADHD and copious speech.  It may have been tough, but at least he could communicate, and interact.  Then he gave us our Nathan, who seemed blessedly neurotypical, and then snatched that away (or at least that is how it has always felt).  We watched him speak, then stop.  We watched him play with toys, then stop.  We watched him respond to his name, then stop.  We watched him point to things, then stop.  It was excruciating, and it happened about 7-8 months after Jack was first diagnosed.  Talk about your double whammy.

I just can't believe, when I look at Nate today, that he is the age that Jack was when this all started.  He is wearing the same clothes, but that is where the similarities end.  If I had known what we would face with Nathan, maybe Jack's issues would have been a bit easier to swallow?  I say that, but I honestly don't think so.  No parent wants to see their child struggle in any way.  I guess the bottom line is that we are making it.  It felt like the world was ending when all of this happened, but it didn't.  We just got stronger.  Below are some pictures of first Jack, then Nate at 3 and a half.

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