Saturday, September 17, 2005
Dealing with Autism
Griffin was diagnosed when he was 18 months however, I had noticed at around 15 months that something was not right when he wouldn't respond when his name was called. I immediately had him evaluated by the Program for Infants and Children and we started occupational therapy and other early intervention strategies. As a matter of fact, I attribute Griffin's success and growth to that early intervention. I don't believe that he would have come as far as he has had we not started working with him so soon. Griffin is now pretty high functioning and very intelligent. He is doing some things that a typical 6 year old might be doing like reading, counting, he recognizes and names all his shapes, colors and a multitude of animals. Now that Griffin is in preschool and has a regular routine he has been sleeping much better; before school he had to take Melatonin to help him sleep. I think that the routine helps in many ways because his tantrums have nearly stopped completely and he has been eating a greater variety of foods as well. Although Griffin is a big fan of watching videos and probably watches more than his share I believe that they have helped him to develop his vocabulary not to mention watching him dance and sing is quite entertaining. Abby is Griffin's service dog, she helps him with his sensory issues when we go out in public and he interacts with her at home which has helped them to create a bond with one another. I got her because when Griffin was around 2 years old my friend had brought over her dog and we noticed that while the dog was there Griffin had no self-injurious behaviors and ever since he has had no problems out in public or at home with sensory issues. Abby doesn't even do anything actually just her presence has an effect on Griffin. She is a patient and tolerant wonderful gift in our lives and I got her from the animal shelter she's not even professionally trained. In Alaska service dogs are not required to be professionally trained. I have been a pro-active parent and searched out all the resources available to Griffin. So, he is now getting speech therapy and occupational therapy at school as well as with private therapists. Recently Griffin has shown signs of interacting with his peers which I am absolutely thrilled with of course. It is such a thrill to watch him grow each day and become more and more independent. This is what I wish for my beautiful child to become an independent adult who can function in society as well as his non autistic peers. I wish for him that he learns to fear danger and be aware of his surroundings so that he can live safely and not wander off as so many autistic children and adults tend to do. Whatever Griffin is now and whatever he does ultimately become he will always be my perfect little guy. Because, you see, Griffin's autism to me is not a curse nor a problem, I see it as just what has happened, unfortunately, and as much as I try to help him to overcome it I will never believe that my son is "abnormal'. He is simply Griffin and I love him exactly the way he is! I accept the autism as something that may never go away. But, Iam also hopeful that the treatments and therapies that have helped him will continue to help him and there is a distinct possiblilty that he will mainstream by kindergarten and more so with each passing year.