Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

This is David's third April. His third April with Autism.

David was born on January 3, 2005. Everything about him from conception to his birth was easy. I was 41 and 9 months when David was conceived. I hadn't had a pregnancy since 1987. So I think not only was David's conception easy, it was miraculous. The pregnancy was much easier than my first. He was a manageable 7 pounds 11 ounces at birth compared to the 10 pounder I had the first time. His birth was easy, my recovery was easy. Everything was easy.

Then came day three. On that day I noticed that his eyes were dancing in his head like a bobble head doll and he was asked to leave the newborn nursery.

Yes, my son was kicked out of the nursery.

A nurse called my room and asked if I nursed my son before returning him to the nursery. He nursed just fine. I told the nurse that. She said he must still be hungry. I told the nurse that she could bring him back to me and I would nurse him again. She said, " No, you don't understand. I need you to come and get him NOW!"

Well, dang I thought. Fine. I will come and get my son.

I walked to the nursery and I could hear a baby screaming. It was mine. I stopped at the sink to wash my hands like the posted sign told me to do, but a nurse wheeled my son to me. He was screaming his head off. I wheeled him out of the nursery and down the corridor to my room.

The looks and unsolicited comments began that day.

Some other new mothers were in the hallway. Throwing comments like, " I'm glad that's not my baby" and "Umm, you are in for it"

They were right.

Over the course of the next 22 months, the questions I had about my son were answered.

Congenital Hypotonia

I believe my son was born with autism. When he was an infant he never looked at me. He looked through me and around me. He didn't have many facial expressions. He didn't sleep. When I say he didn't sleep, I mean he didn't sleep. He was slow to reach milestones and at 3 years 3 months he still has some developmental milestones to achieve. He wasn't interested in people. He was interested in spinning objects and opening and closing of doors and drawers. Trying new foods was and is a major challenge for him. When he was 13 months old I tried giving him Rice Krispies. It was a favorite of his sister and I thought he would enjoy them too. I placed one, just one, Rice Krispie on his tongue and he acted like he was going to die. Today, at three years, three months he still won't eat Rice Krispies and baby food is still included in his diet. My son is a big boy. 40 inches tall and 40 pounds. He maintains his weight by eating a high carb diet. He prefers things that are crunchy so I have to hide different foods between crackers or toast. He had strange behaviors and reactions to the world. Between the ages of 10 months and 15 months he had appropriate babbling and some words. I thought, Finally! He is going to do something on time. The babbling and words went away. Just as quickly as they came, they were gone and we entered the time of silence.

We tried the GFCF diet last week. David wouldn't eat. I didn't blame him. Brown Rice and Tapioca breads are nasty and vegan cheese...please! We may try the diet again with support.

This is our third April with Autism. David's third April on Earth.

I used to look forward to April. The gray, dull, and gloomy New Jersey winter give way to bursts of vibrant colors, longer and warmer days and time out of the house.

Now, I count Aprils. Three Aprils with Autism.


Osh said...

I also believe my son was born with autism. This is his 14th April.

The "diet' didn't work for us either and he still is a carb addict. However, Evan is now considered Asperger, and he is brilliant...awkward yet brilliant. I know you know what I mean.

Grandma Gerri said...

My daughter had the same problem with the diet for my grandson. She has talked about trying it again but hasn't yet. My grandson also has PICA, I'm afraid of what he might eat if he won't eat what is on the diet.