Katlynn~ March 5, 2011

Katlynn~ March 5, 2011
I might be bias... but she is beautiful!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Autistic or Autism?

Which is proper you ask? Well, that depends on WHO you ask. To some parents is extremely offensive if you call their child autistic. It is “labeling” them. To me… it is merely one in the same. I have bigger fish to fry then to spend time complaining how you want to label my daughter's condition. Whether you call her autistic or say she has autism, it's still the same dang thing. She still has it and it is not going to change the diagnosis if you call it one or the other. So don’t feel as though you have to walk on eggshells with me when talking about autism or autistic children or when referring to Katlynn. Honestly, I don’t give a damn which one you want to use to describe her. I am just happy to hear when people are interested in talking about her condition.

Fast forward to the present!!!!

So… I am going to fast forward to the present since we all know Katlynn’s diagnosis; I won’t get all technical and medically related.

She is currently approved for 80 hours of ABA or applied behavioral analysis a month. It has been working wonders for her. She went from virtually no eye contact, communication and very little socialization to blooming in all areas. She is now starting to point and ask for things she wants while maintaining eye contact. She is using toys in proper play and form and is also becoming much more social with us and her peers. It is a true delight to see her smile, laugh and light up when she is happy. Tantrums and meltdowns are now rare. To be honest, she is the best behaved out of the 3 kids both at home and in public. The other two have become quite the handful and if anyone wants to borrow a kids or two for a day, I would gladly hand them over. Katlynn has finally stopped fleeing anywhere and everywhere and will listen when I prompt her to stop. She is still climbing some, but not like she was.

She is also currently receiving OT through Kaiser which helps with sensory and motor skills. We are hoping to find out in the next week or two if she qualifies for speech services. I have been fighting for all these services and while it has caused a lot of stress and anxiety on my part, it is proving to be working in her favor.

She will continue all these services until she meets the goals we have set for her.

She can now say a few of her ABC’s and count to ten successfully. She has also had some success going pee on the potty before bath time.

Both Katlynn and Audrie will start preschool in August 2010. I am hoping they will get into school together and it will provide the special needs for Katlynn while also serving typical preschoolers like Audrie.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What is Autism?

Well if you would have asked me that in 2008, I would have responded by saying, "Some disorder kids get from shots." Because of course 2 years ago, that is what all the hype was about. Autism was caused by vaccinations.

What is Autism you might ask. Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.

I have a daughter with Autism. Her name is Katlynn and she is 2 ½ years old. We nicknamed her KK and she is our little redhead princess.

I will start by saying that I will probably use the abbreviation ASD a lot. It means Autism Spectrum disorder. There might be a few other terms I use on here relating to autism you can just google if you want to read up on what I am talking about.

So, recalling back to when Katlynn was 1 year old, I didn't even think about autism. Sure she had some developmental delays which caused me some concern when she wasn't even 1 yet, but her pediatrician assured me I had nothing to worry about when I addressed my concern for her delays. Katlynn was forming words, babbling a lot and seemed to have good eye contact and was social interactive, but she wasn’t crawling and seemed to be falling behind her sister in fine motor. So I wasn't overly concerned but kept my eye on her. Again, at 15 months I asked the Dr. about my concerns and again she blew me off. She told me Katlynn was within the normal range and if she still wasn’t walking at 18th months she would look into it. Well this momma bear was not having it and I got to work.

First thing on my list… demand a neurology referral from that pediatrician and then seek out a new pediatrician because this gal was officially on my shit list. The neurologist referred me to Inland regional Center, who evaluated Katlynn and put her on services for Infant education, speech, and occupational therapy. Katlynn did finally start walking at 18 months which was about 2 weeks into her therapy services.

We were on the services for about 5 months when I realized, she was making progress, but just not enough to suit my needs or the needs of the infant educator. She introduced me to the autism spectrum umbrella and informed me that she was seeing a lot of red flags in Katlynn for PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified) and possibly classic autism. So, I knew it was time to call out the big dogs and I went back to my NEW pediatrician as asked to be referred to the autism clinic through Kaiser.

Some of the things I noticed with Katlynn that lead me to pursue this appt were:

Poor eye contact

Head dragging

Non -affectionate (resisting hugs and cuddling)

No interaction with her siblings and not even much with her father and I

Speech delayed

Sensory problems

Seemed like months before we went to the dreaded appt. When it finally came they assessed her and told me they would contact me with the results.

In early August 2009, Katlynn was just over 2 years old and we went in for the results to the test. Sure enough, I would receive the heart wrenching news my daughter was diagnosed with classic autism. I was in a cloud for what seemed like eternity. I was devastated.

I felt as though my world came crumbling down. I was pouring my nose into every book on ASD’s/autism, treatments, recovery, etc. I would watch videos, contact resources, and take any advice I could get. It was all such a blur. I got sucked into Jenny McCarthy’s cure/recovery process and everything. It was taking over my life in a matter of weeks. Finally, I grounded myself and realized I needed to be a mom and a wife first and then an advocate for my daughter second. After all, I had a husband and 2 other daughter’s wondering what the heck was going on with mom.

Finally, after talking to so many other parents of children with autism, I decided ABA was the most positive outlook for Katlynn. The regional center agreed to place Katlynn into an ABA program in Nov 2009.