Red Flags, Therapy, and other Stuff
Lately I have been receiving lots and lots of emails from parents asking what type of therapy Mason gets, how long, what other activities have I done with him, etc...
Also many people who are seeking a diagnosis for their child are asking how he was as a baby, as a toddler, what red flags did he have that lead me to have him evaluated for autism.
All of that information can be found here, but I realize people might not have time to read through 3 years of blogging so I will link some older blogs and then write some general info on this page
Tell Me About it
This entry contains information on why Mason met the criteria for a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The criteria is now outdated as it was updated in 2014 and all of the old Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autistic Disorder, Aspergers, PDD-NOS) now fall under 1 umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Break it down for me fellas
This entry describes what we did in Early Intervention and how I implemented therapy even though we only saw the therapist for 1 hour a week ( And yes... I used a Young MC lyric for the title of my blog)
This entry describes all the "red flags" I was seeing when Mason was a baby and a toddler, and my emotions that I went through when realizing Mason was probably on the autism spectrum. I was very emotional when I wrote this, it is kind of hard to read.
And finally, here is what I wrote a month ago regarding on where Mason is developmentally today.
So as far as red flags-Mason had all of them. By 15 months, he was still not pointing, not waving, not reaching to be picked up, he did not babble, he did not respond to his name, he did not play with toys all he would do was spin them, he was obsessed with anything that spun or had wheels on it and would just watch things spin. He did not mimic. I thought he was maybe deaf, he did not seem to understand simple commands, he could not tell me me verbally or non verbally if he was hungry or thirsty he would just scream and I would have to figure out what was wrong. How on earth my pediatrician thought this was all normal I will have no idea but I basically self referred Mason to Early Intervention
Mason started EI at 17 months (you can read the entry linked above to learn about how that went). In language, social, and cognition he scored between a 7-8 month age level developmentally. Talk about feeling sick. When I saw his scores I immediately scheduled the autism evaluation. I worked very hard with him during the months he was in Early Intervention. Our therapist was only there 1 hour a week and obviously if parents don't continue through the week that she does for that one hour, it is not going to be effective. I actually at one point felt like a therapist myself and not like a mom. It was very draining.
Mason was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at 21 months old. The ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) was used for the evaluation.
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction, and play (or imaginative use of materials) for individuals suspected of having autism or other pervasive developmental disorders.
You can read about the ADOS here
After Mason received his diagnosis, he was enrolled in a school that just randomly happened to be 15 minutes from where I live. It is a regular preschool but they have an inclusion program so that students with autism can interact with typically developing peers. In this program he also gets 20 hours a week of ABA therapy (3 hours are at home during a 3 hour session). He was enrolled in this program when he was 24 months old. This program costs about $75,000 a year. Luckily it is covered by insurance. One of the important reasons to have a child diagnosed with autism is that there are therapies available that would not be otherwise.
Here is some information on ABA (actually it is pretty informative)
Once Mason started ABA, I saw huge gains in his development. He started hitting language milestones pretty much right away-things babies do before they start talking- mimicking, pointing, clapping. Mason was 2.5 when he begain to hit those milestones.
So...that is pretty much it. I started Mason in early intervention right away, did my best to implement what therapists were teaching me, decided to move forward with seeing if he was on the autism spectrum right away, and once he received his diagnosis, enrolled him in a really great program and honestly it was just pure luck that this school was nearby.
I hope everyone found this helpful and of course any other questions or if I can be of any other help, please reach out.