So I went home and turned on our homeschooling computers and brought up Google and typed in: “Asperger’s Syndrome.” I read the symptoms: repetitive behaviors, melt downs, trouble communicating, socially awkward, very rigid, follows strict schedule, may have obsessions and rituals, sensory issues. I could sort of see Jonathon this way, but to be honest; I just see my handsome son when I think of Jonathon. The symptoms seemed obscure.
I took Jonathon to therapy. They had a neat Resource Library for parents. I asked the OT to recommend some books about Asperger’s. Alarmed, she questioned, “You don’t think he has!!!” I told her about the Neurologist appointment and said I wasn’t sure. She gave me two smart books, you know the kind you have to read every line carefully and really pause and think about every paragraph you read. Truthfully, I skipped most of the books after the first chapter.
Then there was this one book, I still can not recall the name. I have even asked about it at the therapy center and it is as though no one knows what book I am asking about. But I promise you I read this one, it had a yellow cover with black text. It was written from the mother of three boys perspective as her boys are all on the autism spectrum. Her story stuck with me like glue. As I read her account, it was like unlocking Jonathon. Now I could understand.
She spoke of pitch in dinners, where all the favored food was gone by the time one of her sons would get to the yummies and her sons would cry. Been there, done that. She described how the family would stop when a toy was lost. Yep, that is us too. She went into detail about how music drove her sons crazy, identified with that one too. Her book brought me light into my tunnel. From then on, I seemed to understand Jonathon at a greater level. I thank God for reading that book.
So I was convinced, this label fit my son, but now what? And then some fabulous news. As I ran all this by Jonathon’s Reading Interventionist from the Virtual Academy, she told me about the Autism Scholarship, which is designed to make sure those affected by Autism receive the help they need. This might provide Jonathon with specialized schooling.
At the same time, I was getting more concerned about Jonathon’s education. He was progressing in the Virtual Academy, but very slowly. The first grade curriculum was way too much. We had to switch back to kindergarten, which really tugged my heart. After the Learning Center did not work out very well, I felt we needed more help. Jonathon’s speech therapist told us of a wonderful resource. She was certified in the vital Orton Gillingham way of reading that is suggested for Dyslexics, but upon meeting her she had much more experience than that!
She began to come every Saturday morning at 8:00am. It was very hard rousing at that time on a Saturday, but so worth it. Quickly, she also asked if I thought Jonathon could fit into the Autism Spectrum. I shared what the neurologist had said. She encouraged me to see if we could get a concrete diagnosis. She said we needed psychological testing.
Jonathon did not love his time with, we will call her Molly. But she kept the time fun and often brought therapy balls and balance boards to aid Jonathon in his learning. She even brought Autism software with fun animation to help Jonathon along. I was thrilled with her creativity and her support of our family. I pray she is blessed in return as she blessed us so much in so many ways.
At the same time, we had just met Brandy, our support administrator through the county. She gave me an application for a grant to help children affected by autism. I didn’t even know if we qualified, I just wrote my heart.
Thanksgiving was coming and we found ourself back at the neurology office. They took a ton of blood from Jonathon to check him genetically. I did not include this in other blogs, but Jonathon was found to have a 1 in 6 chance of having Downs Syndrome when I was 4 months pregnant with him. I had the AFP test, which brought these results. After further testing, we found his DNA was fine. So I expected these genetics tests to come back fine too. I didn’t even give them a second thought. It was hard seeing Jonathon get so many tests done. It did bring him more stress as the first neurologist predicted.
More tests were forthcoming around the 15th of December on. Josh was now getting speech therapy. Although we were not able to stay with Jonathon’s therapist. The county would only pay for those on a list and she was not on that list. So we had another girl, a speech therapist come to our house. She also ended up being a key for Josh and his further diagnosis too.
I am so grateful for each person who has helped each of my children. If you are reading this and in the field of helping anyone who needs “a little extra…” I salute you! You are helping these people on such an outstanding level. Hugs and encouragement to you, keep on keeping on! If you know any parent or child who might benefit from the 411 in this blog, please pass it along. Recording our “story” helps me sort out how we got to where we are today, but my aim is to aid someone else who might be in a similar situation.
Our Homeschooling was not as I had envisioned at all, but with all the therapies, all the testing, I was so glad we were homeschooling. I don’t think Jonathon could have graduated first grade otherwise with so much absence.
At the suggestion of Molly, we started a new therapy too, this one was at OSU. It was vision therapy. We had Jonathon’s vision tested in kindergarten, it came out that his eyes were fine. Although, it showed he had a tracking delay. We went to OSU for an hour once a week, to try to strengthen that piece. Jonathon read a chart of numbers every day and did exercises. As soon as Jessica was born, I could not continue this any longer. It was not possible.
An inexpensive help to Jonathon during home schooling was a Reading Tracker or otherwise called a Reading Ruler. It is about a $1.00, but can make a big difference for children who have a tough time keeping track of which line they are reading. I love ours and still use it with Jonathon today!