Friday, April 17, 2009

To Be Autistic, Or Not To Be

When J was about 18 months I suspected something was a little "off". She wasn't talking as much as other kids her age, and people always commented about how she "ignored" them. I had mentioned it to her pediatrician and she seemed concerned but wanted to evaluate her after she turned 2, since a few months is a big deal in a toddler's world. Things change that fast.

Her 2nd birthday came and went. There was little change. I had more fingers than she had words. At 18 months, she should have been learning something like 9 new words a day. She should have increased her vocabulary by something like 1620 words by her birthday and she had maybe added 1. I was still concerned, but decided to wait a few more months and see if things changed.

A few more months went by and still very little. Family members were starting to comment that she never looked them in the eye or she never responded when they said her name. We insisted that everything was fine. She could count to 10 and was starting to learn her ABC's. One day someone mentioned that they thought she might be Autistic. I started researching and then started to feel guilty. What if she was? Were we doing everything we could to help her succeed? I decide to consult with the pediatrician.

I expressed my concerns and told Dr. C about what family members were saying. I told her that J only had about 25-27 words. She referred us to the Infant & Toddler program and also suggested that we get her evaluated at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

We've been working with the I&T program for a few months now and decided not to focus on a label for what is causing J's delays. All we need to know right now is that we have the right people helping her and she is quickly showing improvement. In January she tested at a 6-9 month level for speech and 12 month level for cognition. Here it is April and she has already made so much progress. Her teachers are amazed, and we are extremely proud of our smart, determined little girl.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remember Maddie

I read about the untimely passing of this gorgeous little girl, Maddie, over at My thoughts are with her family today as they celebrate her life. Read more about it here. There's a video tribute here. If you would like to donate to the March of Dimes in honor of Maddie, you can do it here.

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