I have been meaning to write about this for some time now. A question on twitter got me thinking about the topic again.
Newly Diagnosed What Now?
When Adrian was diagnosed last year we knew it was coming, but I still felt miserable!! What next I asked the psychologist who then referred us for Occupational Therapy (O/T) and highly suggested that we start a sensory diet. I stupidly asked him if we need to change his food diet. Then he explained to me what a sensory diet is and I felt like a complete ass!! A sensory diet is movements that help your child feel their surroundings, release tension, focus, avoid a meltdown, and several other things. Our personal favorites are jumping and rolling. Adrian uses a tangled jr. Which is a type of fidget to focus. He is also an obsessive chewer so he has an assortment of oral motor aides.
Next we were told about a brushing program. Brushing is a tool used to help children with sensory issues get used to touch. We also used a neoprene vest and a piece of fabric that I call the body sock. It is material like what is used for ace bandages. I was told that any pressure input would help Adrian feel his body and also calm him. It worked and I was surprised.
Adrian spent four months in Occupational Therapy outside of school. He had been getting Occupational Therapy in school for three year when he was diagnosed. He still receives it now during school. He went twice a week and we saw a lot of change in him during those 16 weeks.
Before he had a hard time with waiting. Waiting for any period of time was very difficult for him and made him angry. He would slap people and kick and bite and scream. With the techniques his therapist taught us we were able to calm him before it escalated. He still has meltdowns every once in awhile but they are no where near as bad as they used to be.
Besides therapy I read. Books articles. I went to Autism Speaks.org and created a profile to connect with other parents. I downloaded an AutismSpeaks 100 day kit. I asked Adrian’s Special Education teacher questions. I asked other parents of children with Autism questions and I joined my local support group.
That time after Adrian’s diagnosis was probably the worst time of my life, but it got better through reading and chatting and therapy for Adrian we managed to get to a good place and I did not feel depressed or alone anymore.
We eventually tried PECS and an iPod touch to make it easier for Adrian to communicate.
These have been the best books for me:
Early intervention and Autism: By James Ball
Ten Things Every Child Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
Sensory Smarts By Kathleen A. Chara and Paul j. Chara, Jr.
I have also read Jenny McCarthy’s Louder Than Words
Toilet training for individuals with autism and other developmental issues by Maria Wheeler
Many books by Temple Grandin.
Here are some helpful websites:
Adrian is our seven-year old son. By our I mean my husband Steve of nearly twelve years and my son. Adrian also happens to be one of many living on the autism spectrum. Our son falls at the higher functioning end of the spectrum and was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) on May 28,2010 at BRAINS a neuropsychology clinic in Grand Rapids, MI. Since then Adrian has started kindergarten in inclusion. Read the rest of this entry