Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Devastating



On Day 4 of the A - Z Challenge, D is for Devastating.


When David and Michael were toddlers, I put them in a daycare program a couple of mornings a week to get them some play time with other children.  After a few months, the director recommended we have David evaluated.  He was a good boy, very pleasant, but didn't really speak and didn't interact with the other children.  He would smile as he watched them play, but would not join in, even when some of the staff would try to engage him.  Michael was very difficult and they actually didn't think he was 'a good fit'.  I was so embarrassed.  Michael was actually kicked out of daycare! Who gets kicked out of daycare?!?

Upon the recommendation of a friend of mine, we went to a neuropsychologist who had evaluated her own daughter years before.  Dr. E was not a very personable individual but she seemed to know her stuff.  David was evaluated shortly before his third birthday and was non-verbal at that time.

At this point in time, I never knew anyone with autism.  My complete knowledge of autism was from the movie Rainman and that did not give me an encouraging viewpoint.  When Dr. E. sat us in her office, she painted a dismal picture of a child who would probably live at home with us forever and be lucky to work a menial job.  She sat there with her horrid bedside manner and told us that this beautiful boy would never amount to much.  To say I was devastated would be an understatement.  I think I cried for a week.  

Michael was subsequently diagnosed with autism as well.  

After the initial disappointment and devastation, I read everything I could about autism, its possible causes, recommended therapies. It's a group effort here.  My husband and I spend a lot of time with our sons, exposing them to as many experiences as we could.  We were fortunate to get David and Michael enrolled in a public school which had a 30% special needs population.  There were wonderful teachers on staff.  I am so grateful they boys were placed at that school. I credit a lot of my sons' successes on the foundation they received there.  We also were able to find a wonderful tutor to work with Michael at home.  He could not even hold a pencil when she began working with him.  Carol has been invaluable and greatly responsible for Michael's success. She taught him to hold a pencil, write and has been helped him overcome most of his comprehension issues.  



Michael is in 6th grade now.  He writes neater than me and has straight A's.  He loves to learn, loves school and is on student council. He is a human GPS.  Once he goes somewhere, he can tell you how get there, even a year later.  If you ever need to go to Brooklyn, NY or Vermont, Michael is better than a GPS. 

And David, who was never going to amount to much, can hold a conversation with ANYONE about nearly ANY subject.  He particularly loves history, politics and baseball.  He knows everything, and if he doesn't know something about a subject, he'll research it and then proceed to be an expert on it.  He is also a straight A student and a member of student council.  And both boys will be participating in the Close-Up Program in Washington, D.C this May.  

14 comments:

  1. What an amazing post. I can't imagine how devastating that diagnosis must have been at first, especially with the discouraging doctor you had. Hope is such a wonderful thing, and I'm so glad for your boys' success.

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    1. thank you Lauren! I appreciate your support! xoxo

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  2. Do your boys have traditional autism or another form, Asperger's syndrome per chance?

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    1. when originally diagnosed I believe she just said autism. I think if David was re-evaluated, he may be Asperger's. As Michael has gotten older, I also notice some OCD tendencies, but in all honestly, I think we all have an OCD issue here and there LOL. I don't know if Michael would be classified as Asperger's. I think he also may have a bit of a photographic memory as well.

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    2. I understand. It's certainly not black and white. I just ask because so many things you mention remind me of my child with Asperger's.

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    3. From what I've heard about Asperger's, I definitely think David exhibits many of the Asperger's traits. At this point though I don't feel the desire to re-evaluate. What would be the point, to adjust the label? He's doing well, so we just go with that! :)

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  3. What a wonderful success story as you help your sons move beyond their disabilities! The use of a tutor at home was a great idea! I was told something similar about my son when he was in 3rd grade, that he would be lucky to ever learn to read and write because of his severe dyslexia. He has since graduated university with a 4.0 GPA and now works at a college as an advisor. There is greatness in all children, and I enjoyed reading about how you have helped your sons find their own greatness.

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    1. How wonderful for you and your son! I am so thrilled to hear of his success and even more wonderful that he is helping others as an advisor. It is so encouraging and uplifting to hear success stories about others who had obstacles that people thought insurmountable. Thank you for stopping by and sharing! xoxo

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  4. A tremendously uplighting story, particularly considering the dreadful and discouraging start you had at diagnosis. Much kudos to you all.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Debs. I appreciate your support! xoxo

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  5. So sad that it begins with a sour doctor who lays it out so negatively. I am so happy that you could prove that doctor wrong! Your story will provide hope to lots of others who are receiving similar diagnoses at this very moment. I hope they hear it. Cheryl

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    1. It was difficult at first, but things are improving! Thanks for stopping by! xoxo

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  6. Isn't it great when experts are wrong? Sorry to hear she had such a horrid bedside manner. Some people really shouldn't be doctors. Or they should only be surgeons and not have to deal with people awake.
    Maui Jungalow

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    1. Or they should just be coroners! xoxo

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