Friday, March 27, 2009

Ainsleigh's School Pictures - October '08

I know these aren't too recent, but I wanted to put her's on here too!!! We will be sending these out with Brycen's. Brent and I were laughing at the fact that both of our kids had picture day on their first days of school : ) They are such troopers!!!! More updates coming soon!!!

Brycen's School Picture

I just wanted to share this with everyone - we couldn't believe how well he did especially since this was taken on his first day of school!!!! : ) We will be sending these out in the mail soon. More updates to come!!

Brycen Counting Backwards

Brycen Counting from 1 - 10

Brycen's version of the Alphabet

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break

It is Spring Break!!! Though I do not like Brycen being out of school for his benefit, for me it is GREAT!! Though our routine time is a little off, it is SO nice to not have to rush around in the morning to get him to school. The kids are enjoying it too!!! They like not having to rush around first thing in the morning.

Brycen is doing SO WELL!!! He is starting to count, say letters, and try sounds!!! He can even identify certain letters ("C", "K", "O", "S", "T", "W") and a number ("2"). He REALLY likes the number 2 for some reason and can actually say it!!! : ) Last night, he tried to say Ainsleigh's name!!!!!! We couldn't believe it!! Brent and I both were in such shock we didn't think to grab the camera (probably wouldn't have made it anyway), but we were SO VERY EXCITED!!! I did get video of Brycen doing letters that I will try to post (I have NO idea how to do that, but I am determined for y'all to see how GREAT he is doing!!!), and I think I got video of him counting so if I did I will try to post that too!!! He really is progressing so much in such a short amount of time. He actually will turn at the sound of his name (not always, but more than before), he will sometimes make better eye contact, and he initiates interaction now (not all the time, but more than before)!! We got him a weighted vest for home through an awesome organization, Stitches4Autism, and we are working on getting him Baby BumbleBee videos (they REALLY do work for him!!!!!). His teacher let us borrow the letters video, which of course is why he is doing SO well at letters now (Ainsleigh and I also work with him using flashcards and foam bath letters/numbers). We are SO thrilled at how everything is going for Brycen and feel completely blessed that he got the teacher and aides that he did!!!! Ms. Mashelle (his teacher) and Ms. Tammie (one of his aides) are SO wonderful!!! The love they have for our special children is humbling!! We need more people like them in the world!! : )

Ainsleigh is doing much better now that she is not in school. We are still working on trying to get her into therapy; I have a few places that I am talking with and trying to work out the insurance/financing details with (therapy is NOT cheap and our insurance is HORRIBLE), so hopefully it will work out soon!! I need to set it up for Brycen, as well, for summer time when he will be out of school (fingers crossed for ESY). We are contemplating putting her in a private christian school in our neighborhood, but we feel unsure about that decision. I am still battling with the ISD to get her services so when she enters Kindergarden next year, trying to set her up to succeed not fail. She struggles so much within a classroom, but hopefully therapy will help us with that!! : ) I'll work on those videos, haha!!! Hope everyone is having a great Spring Break and doing well!!! We love you all!! : )

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The results are in...

We had our follow up appointment yesterday with the Neuropsychologist who evaluated Ainsleigh, and unfortunately we had reason to be concerned. Ainsleigh has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism. They consider it mild because there is no speech delay with Asperger's, no mental retardation, etc. However, individuals with Asperger's have many challenges and of course, social skills is the number one area.

Ainsleigh's verbal and nonverbal, perceptual organizational processes were at significant opposites. This means that Ainsleigh's nonverbal communication skills were off the charts high, but her verbal communication skills were way low. The doctor told us that this could be a possible indicator of a future learning disability. She, also, has very weak information processing speed. Her ability to use language is were it should be, her memory is excellent, but her receptive functional communication is about 3 years delayed. This means that when you talk with Ainsleigh, her perception of what you say is off. She may indicate to you that she understands, but she really doesn't and she doesn't even know that she doesn't understand.

The doctor recommended that we immediately get her working with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and get her into social skills therapy. So off we go.... We withdrew her from her preschool (doctor recommended), there is relief in that since school has become the number one meltdown trigger for Ainsleigh, and we begin the process of evaluations and therapy appointments (ahhh.. familiar ground, haha). There is relief in knowing yet heartache too!! We honestly were praying the doctor would say the loathed yet hopeful word "typical", but of course deep down we knew. We are the family of A's: Allergies, Asthma, Autism (and a possible future ADHD). Yes, the doctor said there were indicators that Ainsleigh may have ADHD but she did not want to "label" (diagnose) her yet. She is hoping with therapy and time that she will be able to develop the attention, focus part of her brain since it is the last part of the brain to develop and Asperger's could also explain that, but she said it is a possibility.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying, we are SO grateful and thankful!!!! Love you all!! : )

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Words are not just words... anymore

It is funny to me how often life experiences can change the way you feel about something as simple as a word... In our household, the words "typical" and "normal" have taken on a negative feeling. In the past, I used these words without so much as a thought or feeling; they simply were just words. However, over the course of the last few months or so, that is no longer the case.
I can be shopping at the grocery store, walking through the halls of our church, or even having a conversation with someone and if those two words are spoken, immediately I have a physical reaction: stomach tightens and twists, facial muscles stiffen, ridged posture. Sometimes it is in reference to my children and sometimes not, either way the result is the same: negative. Brent and I joke about how we respond to these words yet deep down I know we both are bothered by the fact that they bother us. Our children are perfectly "normal" and "typical" to us; it is the outside world that has issues, not them.
Since our life turned upside down almost 9 months ago, random people have said things that have inflammed me, frustrated me, hurt me, and encouraged me. I write some of them down so I can laugh about them later or strengthen me when I feel overwhelmed. I'll give you a little view of what our life is like:

"Is he on any medication for that?" - A doctor actually said this to me after reading in Brycen's medical file that he was diagnosed with autism

"Oh, wow.. is he ok? He's not blind is he?" - A woman said this to me after seeing Brycen visual stimming (i.e. walking sideways with eyes slanted to the side)

"There's a cure for that right? I mean, Jenny McCarthy cured her son" - For those of you who do not know, I am NOT a fan of Jenny McCarthy and her lies of having "cured" or "recovered" her son from autism - there is NOT a cure for something that is not a DISEASE nor can you recover from something that was not (in her words) "like a traumatic accident"

I could go on but I think you get the picture. Though the saying goes that ignorance is bliss, I do not believe in this situation blissfulness is what I am feeling, : ) The one comment that has inspired me, encouraged me, and definitely made me stronger is this:

"God created Brycen just the way he is!"

Through all of this, Brent and I have grown stronger together and so has our family. We still have a long road ahead with plenty of heartache and joy, but it is the road that God made for us and He loves us! And THAT is completely AWESOME!! I'll step down from my soapbox, updates coming soon!! : )