Facing Autism: My Journey to Acceptance PT II

BY: - 10 Sep '13 | Parenting

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FacingAutism

Click here to read Facing Autism: My Journey to Acceptance PT I

In fall 2011, I found out that my four-year old son was cognitively 1.8 years old. Life had just gotten real. Of all the words that were written on Angel’s school progress report, those were the words that hit me the hardest.

At this point in our journey, we were finally facing the fact that our son needed help. We were not living in “Denialville” anymore. We found a special-needs advocate who began helping us to get Angel the help that he desperately needed. The first step was to have him evaluated by a neuropsychologist.

The evaluation process was long but interesting. I remember being out of town when Angel’s dad took him to his last appointment. At the end of the appointment, he called me and I immediately asked how it went. He replied,

Oh, the doctor thinks Angel may be on the spectrum.

My heart dropped to the floor. My husband said those words as if he was telling me that Angel had a cold. I am not sure if he fully understood the ramifications of what he was saying. I do not remember anything that he said after that. I think I asked some questions. Then, I hung up and the tears began to flow. I cried my eyes out that day.

Facing Autism Part 2As a parent, Angel’s autism diagnosis broke my heart yet it explained so much. It explained his speech delay. It explained why he loves to line up his toys. It explained his constant seeking of sensory stimulation. It explained his hyperactivity. It also explained why potty training was a challenge.

When we got Angel’s autism diagnosis, I started wondering if it had been caused by something I did during my pregnancy. Then, I remembered that I was the model pregnant lady. I did not drink alcohol. I avoided second-hand smoke as much as humanly possible in New York City. I worked out, took my prenatal vitamins daily, and I ate healthy foods. I also avoided chemicals as much as I could. I was the pregnant lady who wouldn’t even wear nail polish to avoid chemicals and harmful fumes.

I now know that there is no definite cause for autism. It seems like every other day there is a new cause discussed in the news. I have heard it all from maternal obesity to vaccines to the environment. The reality is we still do not know for sure what causes autism.

I remember  grieving because I was facing the fact that my only son’s life path will not be the same as typical children his age. However, with this reality of autism in our lives, came a new appreciation for everything Angel does.

If he puts on his socks, we tell him good job.
If he uses his spoon to eat instead of grabbing food with his hands, we encourage him.
When he reaches a new milestone, we praise him.

I remember a few months before Angel turned four, I went to pick him up from school to take him to speech therapy. As soon as he spotted me, he ran toward me and yelled “Mommy!” He had never called me Mommy before. I was thrilled and proud. The tears flowed and my heart swelled big enough to love him even more.

No more will I listen to anyone telling me to wait and see. I refuse to wait and see when Angel can be getting the help that he desperately needs now. As we navigate this world of autism, I pray for the strength for us to continue to help Angel develop into the young man that God has designed him to be. I know that I am blessed with a great team and together we will keep moving forward for our Angel.

BMWK – How did you feel when you found out that your child is on the autism spectrum?

Check back every other Tuesday for additional articles from Kpana Kpoto as she shares her experiences and what she learns as she raises her son that has been diagnosed with Autism.

About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.

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23 WordPress comments on “Facing Autism: My Journey to Acceptance PT II

  1. Whitney

    My 17 year old daughter was diagnosed when she was four. Your article brought back so many memories, delayed speech, sensory issues. When she was four her dad and I took her to a children’s fair at the convention center. We walked in and it was too much for her, she had a complete meltdown. We had to leave. She is a very smart, talented young lady who is now a senior. She is a budding actress, loves to sing and will be attending college next fall. It has been a journey, and God has carried me at times when I didn’t understand or know what to do. I have so much to say but I’m gonna stop now. They are special, loving children, I am so proud of the young lady I’ve raised.

  2. Keya

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s very encouraging and extremely supportive to read about other parents who are striving to support their special needs child in reaching their full potential.

  3. Krystal Anthony

    Hi I just wanted to ask were there any signs before he turned 4 that u might have saw my son is 15 months n isn’t walking n he goes to a school called kids first that have developmental delay he says very few words n at school he has to sleep with a 10 weighted blanket on to get rest I’m n the process of getting him one at home he doesnt sleep very well the nurses and his teachers r trying to get him on the list to b tested at 18 months they r not for sure at this point cuz he’s so young but I have two other children they are both girls n he isn’t reaching milestones like they were ppl say boys r slower than girls I’m not in denial I know wat milestones he is suppose to b reaching n I tell ppl he’s in the right place where he can get help to get him on track to where he needs to be he also has extrophia with his eyes where they turn outwards when he’s sleepy r just waking up no matter wat the case I’m gonna love him anyway he’s mommas lil prince I think it’s great wat u r doing n I not only wish u but I want to wish other families well with their children no matter outcomes they face early detection is the key n as Joseph grows n I find out things I will also give u updates

    1. Kpana Kpoto

      Angel was referred to Early Intervention at 17 months. It was mainly because of his speech delay. He hit all his milestones up until 12 months. I was not well-informed back then. I knew little to nothing about autism. His autism diagnosis came much later.We did not have an issue getting him enrolled in early intervention here in NYC. I called the 800 number and they had various specialist come to our home to assess him. Maybe there is a developmental pediatrician in your area who can evaluate your son. If you are in NYC, I can get you the information. I would call your states Early Intervention number and voice your concerns. I wish you and your family well.Let me know if you have any more questions.

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6 Tips on Parenting a Child with ADHD

BY: - 11 Sep '13 | Parenting

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TNMBoySchoolStudyingFeature

ADD and ADHD are so prevalent these days, chances are you know someone that has been affected by this diagnosis. When faced with impulsive behavior and high energy levels at home and school, it often means that there will also be lots of challenges. I know personally, that it’s never easy but it definitely doesn’t mean the end of the world, either. Here are ways to help you make it work when you’re parenting a child with ADHD.

Make Sure You Have Their Attention

Children with ADHD have a short attention span and often don’t process multiple requests quickly. Instead of rattling off a list of things you’d like them to do, make sure you have their attention first. After that, ask the child to repeat what you’ve requested and to do only what they can manage. Too many choices can be distracting and throw them off-task.

Repeat if Necessary

This personally burns me up, but I’ve learned that giving directions two times or more is necessary. You may want to even thank them for listening and be SURE to give them a verbal response or sometimes a big hug showing them how proud you are that they “got it right”!

Organization is KEY!

Many children with ADD are often think erratically when it comes to problem solving. The have difficulty keeping their thoughts and priorities – even the simplest ones – in proper sequence. So, the best thing for them is structure, organization of materials and supplies and predictability. Help them succeed daily by establishing routines and itineraries and also provide them with storage and organization, so they can habitually and repeatedly put their “stuff” in the same place. This equips them with the tools need to accomplish the most menial tasks.

Right then…Right there!

For this group of children, it is especially important to act right away with either praise or punishment. It’s not really a good idea for long periods of time to lapse before s/he gets feedback for their actions. Rule number ONE: remember to focus on the behavior and NOT the child!

Burn Baby Burn!

If your child has the “H” in ADHD, then energy is always on POWER BOOST! Because of this, they truly benefit from daily constructive tasks, as well as fun and creative activities. Anything that includes running, exercises, sports, etc. are ideal. This, of course, allows them to burn some of that excessive energy. It’s a win-win with organized sports because they get to see the importance of teamwork and how their actions affect others.

Take a Deep Breath

In addition to patience, a little extra TLC, communication and consistency – our beloved kids are just that….kids! Let’s continue to love and cherish them every single day but as parents, this is done most times AFTER we breathe deeply and relax!

BMWK – Do you have more pointers to help other parents?

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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