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I have discussed my son Aj for quite some time now. Aj has been without any form of medications since January 20, 2014. Aj had been on some form of medications consistently since about age 4, he is now 7 years of age. These past couple of months have opened up a whole new child and a whole new opinion on what I felt was going on with my son. I firmly believed Aj was showing more autism signs than anything else in the past coupe of months and we received confirmation from a psychiatrist that stated Aj is indeed Autism Spectrum – High Functioning. What does this mean? Well I am still researching it all but honestly it just means that now there is a better idea of how to work with the public school system for him because in all reality he is the same child I’ve been raising for 7 years, nothing has changed for us at home.
In the past autism had come up, but Aj wasn’t having “enough” signs for anyone to really look into it back then. Now that I’ve had this meeting with the pysch I am realizing there were more signs than we may have even been aware of, starting way back as a baby. For example, as a baby Aj never liked affection, he wasn’t that cuddly soft baby who enjoyed being swaddled nor snuggled. Aj was that baby who breastfed and when done eating was ready to be out of your arms. Aj also potty trained extremely late. Aj also had slight delays in speech. There are some things with Aj that he was delayed in but we found health reasons for the delay and the pysch said that is probably why no one really paid any attention, the variable of having a health reason made sense so no one questioned autism. Wow, what en eye opener.
One thing I have noticed, without anyone telling me, is that maybe most of Aj’s violent rages were not stemming from bipolar, as previously thought. Bipolar made sense, that is what Aj was having going on or so it seemed. Now that I have been observing Aj and working to adapt my parenting routine to the way his brain works, I haven’t had any outbursts from him in the ways of the past. I firmly believe that Aj’s violent rages or what appeared to be major mood fluctuations were actually pertaining to him not being able to verbalize what was going on in his own mind and me not understanding his dire need for a very routine, structured environment. Now that his home environment has been adapted to Aj’s needs, he is thriving and happy nearly all of the time! Aj now interacts with his siblings, he shows a strong family bond, something I hadn’t seen before. Prior years, Aj was closest to me, his Mama, but lacked that full emotional connection with his siblings or others that were a primary part of his world. As I’ve started to work with Aj these past couple of months, I have seen his emotional connections with those who he trusts grow!
I must admit, when the pysch said out-loud that Aj is indeed “Autism Spectrum – High Functioning” I felt very blank. Even though I knew that was going to be the diagnosis, or at least had assumed and sort of hoped for because it was the only thing that made sense, I still felt blank. I felt sad. I wanted to scream and cry. Why? Well because this is now reality. This is now something I have to work with the public school system for student supports that he will require as time goes on. Right now, Aj isn’t suffering too badly from the way the school works but as each day passes I do see new things that really are signs he could go downhill if we don’t get a team together and figure a way to adapt his school days to the way his mind works.
In all honesty, I am having home school scream at me, but right now I must go through the steps in hopes that the public school system works for him because I don’t have a passion for home schooling my child. I am certainly the right fit Mama to home school my son if the need arises, and I always make decisions based on what my maternal instinct says is best for my children but I am not there yet. I will go through the steps with the school system and fight hard to see what can be done to support my son. As Aj gets older we are going to see more and more social issues with him; he never has been good with social ques, ever. Aj isn’t a child who gets into the emotional responses of people, to him it’s more about tones. So if someone has a steady, normal tone, then he doesn’t pick up much, if any, emotion behind it. If someone raises their voice, and that tone is more of a yelling it can send my son into tears.
As a parent it has been difficult to be aware of my tone and ensure that tone is proper but I think I am getting the hang of it. A firm, steady voice always works for Aj. A structured daily life, always works for Aj. I was even able to get him to attend a couple of school functions with his brother and me, something he never ever would have even attempted in the past. This shows me that whatever I am doing to work with my autistic son is actually working to better him, not make him spiral downward.
This is another journey to walk, but I am thankful right now it is a journey that is med free for my son!
Image Courtesy: http://nationalautismnetwork.com/articles.html/_/autism-treatment-news/autism-and-the-gluten-free-casein-free-gfcf-r1705