Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More about the Autism

Here's some background info:

When M was 2 his pediatrician referred him to Early Intervention because of his (lack of) speech. At 24 months the milestones the pediatricians look for are use of 50 words and putting 2 words together. At 24 months M clearly spoke around 5 words. We understood him but nobody else did. He had sounds for objects that did not sound like words.

Around 15 months M took a real liking to puzzles. He could do a 20-piece puzzles in under 60 seconds. It was amazing to watch! This is also when he started banging his head on the walls and furniture. We also noticed that he started to line up his toys, books, and other objects.

M was evaluated and we were told that he showed sign of Asperger's Syndrome or autism but that he was too young for a diagnosis. They told us he definitely had Sensory Integration Dysfunction. He went to OT and speech therapy a few times before we moved out of that state.

A few months after our move things settled down and soon after M started talking. At 27 months M suddenly started speaking so clearly and in full sentences. He spoke more clearly than J does now at nearly 3 years old! We weren't concerned anymore and ignored the doctor's recommendations to have him reevaluated.

When we moved again (to where we are now) we noticed that M was throwing more and more "tantrums." Sometimes it is impossible to get his attention and/or calm him down. We decided to take him to the pediatrician again. They referred us to a pediatric neurologist.

We knew that SID is on the autism spectrum and thought there was a possibility that M might have Asperger's Syndrome. The doctor diagnosing autism was a little surprising but after talking to a friend who has a son with autism, I learned that it's all pretty much the same. The doctor said "high-functioning autism" which, from what I've read, is also considered Asperger's. So I guess that clarifies it a little?

The doctor said that M is extremely bright and I already knew that. LOL He can read and do 1st grade math. He is really bright! The doctor said that it was very reassuring that Matthew's speech is so advanced now. Personally, I suspect that if M had continued with his vaccinations after he had a reaction and we stopped vaccinating, the MMR shot may have caused something more severe.

If you have ever met M in person you may or may not have suspected anything was different about him. Our 3 weeks in VA left my mom telling me that if he didn't get help he'd "never function in society." I don't think it's nearly that bad at all. He's just very energetic and loud and has some quirks. He's a lot better at playing with other kids now. His major issues are when he "zones out" and doesn't respond to anyone and his "tantrums." Otherwise he is a pretty great kid!

So that's the basic story. It's not a big deal, M's fine. The doctor wants him to start OT again. He's concerned about M's socialization since we homeschool. I don't even think that is (or ever will be) an issue. Essentially, nothing is different now than it was 2 days ago but hopefully the occupational therapist can help me with ways to calm M down and help him learn new things. It's really hard when he has an outburst and people think that I can't "control" my child or that he is abused or something. I know he's had a hard time making friends sometimes because of how loud and violent he can be. Maybe the therapy will help with that.
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