Life As A Therapeutic Parent ( Part One )

In high school they made us take those tests where it tells you what career you would be best suited for... My scores told me I would be best fit to be 3 things..

1.) A teacher

2.) A nurse

3.) A social worker

All great careers... What I didn't know is that I would have all those jobs... in my home.... unpaid... LOL.. Okay well not unpaid. Being a Mom comes with its own rewards right?

So I became a Mom for the first time at 17, the second time, at 19, then a third time at 21...  Somehow I was blessed with these awesome little people that were pretty mellow and didn't give me a hard time.. OR I was young and full of energy and so busy as a single Mom of three kids I didn't notice lol.

Thennnnn we had a 4th, then we had a 5th.... Oh the 5th... Enter the "captain" ...  He entered this world in chaos with a emergency c section and kept on going.... He cried ALL THE FREAKING TIME... People would ask me what was wrong with him.. Like I had any idea! All I know is I was so grateful he was not my first! One because I wouldn't have had anymore lol and two because I would have blamed myself for being a horrible Mother that couldn't calm her child down.  So time dragged on with the baby that never slept and cried all the time, and I kept telling our pediatrician that something was wrong, and he would tell me he was just fussy.. then one day at 22 months he was so angry and was kicking the front door and almost ripped his toenail off. Instead of screaming in pain, he sat down and tried to pull it out the rest of the way! Okay so gross right?!  So the night before I had met a Mom in an AOL "big family " group ( who remembers AOL groups? ) She had twins with autism. My knowledge was " Rain man" so I read some stuff on the internet about it... Then I read the checklist and thought OMG THATS MY KID!  So we went to the Dr where he fixed his toe and I handed him the checklist I had printed out and marked up... This was 2002/2003 where autism wasn't known about like it is today... He agreed we needed to have him evaluated, and right before his 2nd birthday he was diagnosed " classically autistic " ... I was just happy to have some kind of answer. I am a "fixer"..  A diagnosis gave me somewhere to start on our journey of how to help him...

So we started with services. Thankfully we were in a state that had amazing services and we had one on one , in home, weekly early intervention, Speech, and Occupational Therapy.  Things were slow at first but we were learning how to understand his needs better and learned some signs, and started using a PEC card system. This helped with the screaming as he was now able to communicate his needs. We had finally accepted he would probably never talk, but one day at 4 years old as I sat rocking him he started singing and then just kept going from there... Do not ever doubt miracles can happen... I read every book, took every training, and taught myself everything I could to work with him at home. All before Pinterest! lol

Time has continued to click by and he is now almost 17.. WHAT?! So crazy!  Most people do not realize that he is autistic, he is FAR from his original diagnosis, and some days we still see that little boy struggling inside. But overall his progress is nothing short of absolutely amazing....

Next week in part 2,  Yaya's diagnosis, and our new journey into medically fragile parenting with Hippie kid....