I may be a little late to the game, but I am starting a blog. My name is Mindy, and I am a clarinetist with the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. I live in Springfield, Virginia with my husband Charlie and our 2 little boys, ages 6 and 4, who are both on the autism spectrum. And autism is primarily what my blog will be about, because autism is definitely the biggest thing in my life. I wish that it weren’t, but it is.
Here is a quick history for my first post. My oldest, I’ll call him SB, was diagnosed in 2006 at 20 months. He had no language at all, lots of repetitive behaviors, was very delayed in all areas of development, and was very withdrawn. His developmental pediatrician told us that he may be mentally retarded, may never speak, may never read, and will probably never have friends. I was pregnant at the time, and she also told me that my unborn child probably had autism as well. Yeah, that was not a good time in my life! With years of intense ABA therapy and an outstanding special ed preschool, SB has made tons of progress. He is now in first grade in a mainstream class with an aide. He talks CONSTANTLY, is very gifted in math, and is very sweet. We are continually working on appropriate classroom behaviors, reading comprehension, and social skills, but are so proud of how far he’s come.
So we watched our second child, I’ll call him AB, like a hawk as he developed and grew. At age 2, and even at age 3, everything seemed to be right on track, and we were relieved. But at age 4 we started to notice that he prefered to play alone at day care, he seemed to enjoy the weird and repetitive games that his brother played, and his language seemed to be less sophisticated than his peers. So in November of 2011, he got his own autism diagnosis. His condition is considerably milder than his brother’s, and with therapy, we are confident that he will make tremendous progress as well.
The second diagnosis is still new and raw, but it is not as devastating as it was the first time. We are experienced now. We know what to do and where to go. And I’m not sure if I’m starting a blog to help other parents of children with autism or to help myself. Probably both.