Making Mommy Proud

Our neighbor’s grandson, J (4), was over playing with B (5) recently.  B asked if he could have him come in to play Lego’s.  They came in and headed downstairs to play.  When J, the other little boy, realized we had loads of Thomas trains, he no longer had any interest in playing with B.  B thinks he is too cool for trains, so they were just both doing their own thing.  After a while, J asked B why he wasn’t playing with him and B reminded him that he didn’t want to play trains.

I was just staying in the background watching their interaction instead of facilitating social communication and play at this point, when the most wonderful thing happened!  The following conversation was initiated by B:

B: “Hey J, you know what I like to do? I like to squish down in the box with all these balls, it feels really good.”

J: …looks at B like he is crazy! 😀

B: “So J, what do you like to play?”

J: “I just want to play trains.”

B: “Do you want to squish in this box with me?”

J: “No thank you.”

B: “So J, I know you like to play Thomas, but what else do you like to play?”

J: “I like Pokemon.”

B: “We don’t have any Pokemon.  You could go in that box over there?”

J: “No, I don’t think I would like it.”

B: “You know J, sometimes we have to try things even if we don’t think it will be fun.  You should try it, you might find out you will like squishing in boxes.”

J: “I don’t think so.”

Then B disappears into his box, A comes over and wants to get in with him.  They are laughing and having a good time.

J: “Do you think I could fit in that box with you?”

B: “Sure, come on in.”

These are the moments when I so clearly see how important intervention is.  It was so cool to see him using the social communication that he has been learning from us, in his social skills groups and in school in a real life setting.  A year ago, if this same scenario would have been happening, he would have remained completely oblivious to the other child, or would have thrown a holy fit because J didn’t want to do what he was doing.  Seeing this progress makes it all worth it!

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One in Three

Recently, as most of us in the autism community probably did, I read this article.   Reading that

…in families with one or more children on the autism spectrum, the chances that a baby sibling will develop autism are around 1 in 5, more than double previous estimates of 1 in 10 to 1 in 30

although shocking, was not shocking to me.  I am living that statistic.  I have so many friends that I met in my support group that are living that statistic.  I frequent many blogs that are living that statistic.  It was a harsh truth to see in writing, but it did not shock me in the slightest.

What did shake me to the core was this quote:

In families with more than one older child on the spectrum, 1 in 3 infants eventually developed autism.

We very unexpectedly found out we were expecting in June.  I have never really felt what it was like to have a complete panic attack until that moment. My body shook with fear of the what-ifs that were instantly present in my mind and my heart.

When I got pregnant with A we had no idea that B was on the spectrum.  I have no guilt about getting pregnant with A and possibly having another child on the spectrum.  Fast forward to present day knowing that both of my boys are very clearly autistic and I got pregnant.

Right now I am scared.  I am carrying a child, that statistically, has a one in three chance of being autistic.  I am terrified to think that I am possibly bringing another child into the world that may struggle with speech delays, motor delays, social delays and perhaps even cognitive delays.

Right now we are 15 months post first diagnosis.  Most days I already feel like an old pro when it comes to juggling therapy schedules, IEP meetings, early intervention, social workers, insurance claims, meltdowns and all the other fun that comes with raising two special needs children.  I can do it for two, what would one more be.  I am not afraid of that.

Where does my fear lie? My fear lies in the what-ifs for this baby of ours.  My boys live life in a way that typical children do not.  As much happiness, joy and wonder as they have every single day of their lives, they also have struggles and pain.  What if this baby has the same struggles? What if this baby has even greater struggles than B and A? I will have knowingly brought a child into this world that struggles every single day.  That scares me.

I am scared that this child will be neuro-typical.  What will I do then? Will I parent the child to death because that is what I have to do with my other two? Will this new baby surpass the other two? Will I hyper-analyze every single thing this baby does for years and years? Will this baby feel like they are getting the short end of the stick because they don’t “require” as much parenting? Will I even know how to parent a NT child?

I am trying so hard to have faith.  I am clinging to the fact that no matter what the outcome, it will be OK.  We will be OK and this baby will be OK.

One in three is a pretty scary number.  One that shakes me to the core. We will shake through this though.  We will be OK.