For the purposes of my own documentation---and because I know y'all hardly sleep at night wondering what my family is doing---I thought I would jot down Wade's progress with his new program.
Wade has been attending Early Foundations, five days each week, since March. Remember when he started in March he had very little receptive communication (ability to demonstrate he was understanding the words being spoken to him) and virtually no vocabulary?!! I hardly remember that kid!
He does an ABA-style therapy, and ABA is like my BFF. Seriously. Like anything else in life, there are alternate (read: very strong, opinionated views) opinions as to how children with autism spectrum disorder should be "treated." All I know is that we've set out on this path that God has laid out before us, and we've had NOTHING but HUGE success with ABA. I don't want to be one of those strong, overly-opinionated parents, but I will shout "early intervention" and "ABA" from the rooftops! If you need some nudging, I'm your girl :)
Anyway, I regress.
Once Wade figured out the whole "pointing" thing to communicate his needs, everything else kinda just burst open. I AM LOVING GETTING TO KNOW THIS KID!
He is still very limited in vocabulary with a few major exceptions; however, he will gladly answer "yes" and "no" when making choices to food, cartoons, toys, clothes, etc. This makes day-and-night difference with our communication. The major exception to his vocabulary would be song. On a daily basis, he uses the same redundant conversational words over and over; however, the kid can sing absolutely any song you throw at him. He sang "Father Abraham" pretty much the entire (30 minute) ride to school this morning. He loves music! That being said, I have no idea how many words are actually in his vocabulary----it's a super amount!
I love getting little glimpses of what is going on in that little head of his! Several weeks ago, we were watching him play with an airplane, and plain as day, we heard him count to twenty (like he'd been doing it his whole life) for a "blast-off!" Those moments make my heart swell with pride. Without that receptive communication, we had no idea what he actually knew. Now we know: he can identify all animals and animal sounds, he knows most of his shapes, he knows all of his colors, he knows all of his letter and the sounds they make (!!!), he can recognize his numbers, and he plays matching card games like a professional.
He surprises us on a daily basis, and I could just eat it up!
Most of his communication occurs with a simple one-word response, but he does have several phrases that he uses daily: "love you," "night night," and "ok, mommy!" In fact, just tonight he offered his first totally unsolicited "love you" to his brother at bedtime. My heart nearly burst. Normally, the conversation goes, "Wade, say love you." And he happily repeats. Tonight Cale came into his room to tell him good night, and while they were hugging, Wade said "love you!" Ah, my heart!
Since Cale has started back to school we've really got to enjoy some one-on-one time with Wade. We are really working on public outings! It's been (and continues to be) a huge road block for us. But, we are getting there. I'm confident.
We just completed his semi-annual Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP for those submersed in this world) with the program director at Early Foundations, and for the next six months our two goals focused on advancing communication and behavioral issues. Wade is a fit-thrower. Like throwing himself violently to the ground, banging his head, kicking his fit, hitting, whatever suits him at the time. It's sometimes heart-breaking. It makes this momma shed tears. Several things produce these reactions: 1) transitions, 2) lack of communication, 3) he's two, 4) over stimulated. Naturally, we try to eliminate the cause, but life is still life and we can't always guard him from these factors. We are learning. He is learning.
We are adding to his repertoire of therapy--another total God thing! Several months ago I caught a local news segment about the ORU Music Therapy Program (read about it here), so my little fingers got busy on my keyboard as I searched more about the program on the internet. I ended up emailing the program director, who responded very quickly. She felt like Wade was a perfect fit for their therapy; however, she said they wouldn't have a spot until after the new year. No biggie, I was thrilled to be on the waiting list. Last week the director emailed me again saying they had ONE SPOT open up this semester, and Wade was their dude! So, we start on Monday! :) I have no idea what to expect, but I know how well Wade responds to music---needless to say, we are really really excited about this! REALLY EXCITED!
Being Wade's momma has totally stretched me in the very best way possible! I will never stop being thankful for the gift of him :)
Friday, September 18, 2015
For the purposes of my own documentation---and because I know y'all hardly sleep at night wondering what my family is doing---I thought I would jot down Wade's progress with his new program.
Posted by Lindsi at 9:53 PM
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I'm a mom learning to walk down the path of the "developmentally delayed." Being new to this world and it's terminology, this will probably be the least politically correct post you've ever read. I'm a work in progress.
Wade has been in therapy for his delays since August, and he has grown leaps and bounds--jumped over BIG hurdles! At the beginning of his journey my grandma suggested to me, "might he be autistic," simply because of his delay in speech. Oh my! I was dumbfounded at her assumption. Dumbfounded that she would suggest such a thing. Just dumbfounded. It's a conversation that sticks out so vividly in my mind.
Looking back I feel so foolish (SO foolish!) for not being more educated on the subject. Not knowing about the "early warning signs." Not knowing more about a condition that warrants so much awareness in our culture.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, Wade failed his M-CHAT. Meaning he was put in the "red flag" area for autism. His score left him in the "high risk" area. Since receiving this information the word autism is frequently thrown around in our therapy sessions. Suddenly, things started adding up. We see behaviors in Wade and can point our finger at the culprit.
I've been trying to arm myself with all the knowledge on the subject that I can (within reason!). Like most other things in this world, I've realized the internet is a very dangerous place for research. Nothing about this situation scared me from the outsiders perspective, but I'd be lying if I told you I hadn't shed buckets of tears over this (the good kind and bad kind).
Wade has brought joy unspeakable to our household, and anyone that has truly seen his bubbly personality would agree. Through trials that we have faced with him we have learned the absolute joy in the small things in life! Like how beautiful it is just to make and hold eye contact with our big, brown-eyed boy. How words like "mamamamama" elicit big tears, claps, and smiles. How a sound like "baaaaaaa baaaaaaa" is the most beautiful sound in the world. How the wave of his hand leaves me in awe. Small things around here have become big miracles! God has done a big work in me since becoming Wade Logan's momma.
As much as I see the blessing I have been given, there have been sad tears too. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he knows just when to attack this worried, tired momma's heart. I know that I know that I know that I know that I know that Wade is the handiwork of God. He is perfect. (Psalm 139:13, Ephesians 2:10) However, that hasn't stopped the questions. Did I eat too much lunch meat when I was pregnant? Did I not take the right vitamins? Did I not talk to him enough as an infant? Did I not read him enough books? Were they the wrong books? Was it because I vaccinated him? Will Wade ever be able to live on his own? Will he get married? The questions just get more and more ridiculous, and I'm thankful I don't have to answer all of them. I have a God that covers that :)
I've also met plenty of "experts" on autism. "Wade can't be on the spectrum, he's too happy." "It's probably because you vaccinated him." "If he has autism at all, I bet he's super high functioning."
There are also those that haven't done their research that obviously feel like autism is a lack of intelligence. "I'm so sorry to hear about Wade." Try to tell this momma my baby boy isn't intelligent. I dare you.
Sooner Start referred Wade to a developmental pediatrician for formal testing and diagnosis; however there are only two in our area. Our appointment isn't until June. I expect no big revelations to be made---as it was explained to us, sometimes a "diagnosis" will help with insurance and such for future therapies. It might open some doors for Wade too.
There have been times during these months that I haven't even known what to pray for "My Tiny," as we call him around here. With autism there is no "if you do this, then this will happen" cure or quick fix. We can't look at Wade now, or even the progress he has made, to make an assumption on his development in the next year. Or five years. Or ten years. I suppose that's just the nature of the beast in this situation, though. I don't doubt that God has BIG plans for my bitty boy---I mean, have you seen his smile?!
This weekend, I heard my seven month old nephew say "mama" more times in 12 hours than I've heard Wade say in his entire life. I've joked with Alan that I want to put a sign around Wade's neck that reads "Please Don't Handle Me" to sport at big family functions. We don't go in public much because Wade is a "runner." I turn down playdates with friends because I know they will make Wade miserable, which will in turn make momma miserable. Sometimes he surprises me and handles certain situations extremely well. And sometimes he does not. There are situations that occur, like these mentioned above, that I just don't anticipate. And they tear at my heart strings.
Jehovah Jireh continues to bless our family, immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Tears are streaming as I'm anticipating the words I'm about to type. Two weeks ago, one of Wade's therapist called and asked if we could schedule special meeting with her. As she explained she had a "great opportunity for Wade." Vague call, but ok, sure!
Wade was offered a spot in a program called Early Foundations.
"Early Foundations at Crosstown Learning Center in Tulsa is one of the replication sites of the Early Foundations: Autism Model and Outreach located in Oklahoma City. The model was designed to provide intensive intervention for very young children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. The project was started in the fall of 2007 and is a collaboration between the State Department of Education, Department of Health, Sooner Start, and the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma. This unique project for toddlers with ASD addresses the importance of early intensive intervention as soon as a child is suspected of having an ASD and provides these services in a developmentally appropriate settling that includes access to typical peers and typical childhood activities. Because this model provides services for very young children, ensuring a successful transition to public school programs is critical to this model."
A child has to meet certain criteria, and there has to be a spot open in the two year program. Well, lo and behold, the stars have aligned (read: God showed up and showed off BIG TIME).....and Wade was (is) the perfect fit! Tears. I've been a blubbery mess, not even able to talk to Alan about it without crying. We hadn't even heard of this program to know to fight for it for Wade, and here God just laid this big 'ol gift wrapped up in a big red bow right into our lap. I don't doubt God for ONE second, but since Friday I've found myself asking "why us?" These tremendous blessings for our little family.
What does this mean for Wade? Basically, Early Foundations occupies two classrooms at Crosstown Learning Center in Tulsa. Wade will go to "school" there five days per week, 9am-12pm. Early Foundations is at full capacity with SIX children. Six. That's it. Wade will receive one-on-one therapy and instruction three days per week (M,W, F). They follow the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) style of therapy. You can read more about that here. Two days per week (T, Th) he will spend his three hours in a "typical" classroom with "neurotypical" peers. In addition to this strict structure of learning environment, Crosstown Learning Center brings in a gymnastics instructor each Thursday for a 30-minute session with each class. Also, Early Foundations offers (required) parent seminar enrichment, such as Autism 101 and Introduction to ABA Therapy. So overwhelming and incredible!
The goal of this program is to teach Wade necessary social, communicative, and adaptive skills to enter a "regular" or "typical" classroom by the time he reaches prekindergarten---rather than needing to be in a "self contained" classroom.
We are still in shock about this opportunity falling into our laps! It took us (mainly momma) several days to process all the feelings and emotions that come with such a big change, both good and bad. Realistically, everything about this situation is GOOD and AMAZING (and all the positive words!), but we feel very selfish too. Momma is sad that I'm sending my babiest baby to school five days per week (and yes, I realize it's only three hours!). Like I said, I'm a selfish mom! Mostly, though, we are SO SO SO sad that Wade won't be a part of the Park Plaza Preschool family anymore, that alone has made me cry more than anything else. Anyone that knows us, knows we have such a special, sacred place in our hearts for our "Ms. Judy." So I feel very blessed that Wade has gotten to spend the last 5 1/2 months with her. If she offered to teach my boys through high school, I'd pay her a salary in a heartbeat! The thought of only dropping one boy off at Park Plaza makes me cry, but the thought of spending some extra special time with Cale three days per week makes me happy. I know we spend a lot of time working with Wade and doting over his accomplishments, so I'm extra happy to be able to have some one-on-one time with Cale! I think he will be too! Those are only a handful of emotions that I've had over the last five days, but we both agree this situation is a God thing! It can only be a God thing.
Wade will officially start full-time with Early Foundations after spring break. So, essentially, he will miss the last month of school at Park Plaza. In the meantime, Ms. Heather, the director of Early Foundations, will be spending some time at our house getting to know Wade. After he starts the program, Ms. Heather will also visit our home for one-hour each week to help us with enrichment activities. All of this seems to good to be true!
.......oh, and one last thing. Get this, all of these wonderful services, therapies, and enrichment for our precious baby boy are free. Zero dollars.
God is SO good. All the time. Jehovah Jireh. The Lord who Provides.
Posted by Lindsi at 2:04 PM
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Yes, yes, I realize it's been an eternity since I've updated.
I spent months convinced that something was wrong with Wade's hearing just based on his response (or lack of) to his environment. He's had two GREAT hearing assessments done, both showing he has perfect ears. Within the last two months, he has finally convinced his 'ol momma that his hearing is fine too. I don't really know how to explain it, but he's just blossomed. Maybe it's our therapies? Maybe it's just His timing? Maybe a lot of both? Whatever it may be, Wade's personality has bloomed. AND I love it!
We did the M-CHAT (link here) at his 18-month well child check and with our Sooner Start therapist. He failed. It took my breath away to hear our therapist use the word "failed" as she was discussing Wade with our case worker and new speech pathologist. When we had our appointment with her to discuss the results she was much more gentle with her words, something about it just fell heavy and harsh on my ears that day. Mind you, nothing about the results were surprising to me.
We had our appointment at The Scholl Center, and I loved the sweet SLP we met there. She gave some some wonderful resources to use at home in our day-to-day "schooling" activities. Wade, of course, qualified for services there based on their standardized evaluation; however, they are solely a speech and communication disorder center. Given the fact that he failed his M-CHAT, we felt like moving all our therapies to The Scholl Center would not do Wade any justice. They would strictly work on his speech without further evaluations. Now that he has been evaluated there, we can add extra speech therapy to his schedule at any given time. He is ONLY 20-months-old, so I refuse to "over therapy" him.
He is doing SO well, and I feel like we are really in a comfortable spot right now! We are working at home everyday and having a BLAST doing it. We added some speech language therapy into our schedule through Sooner Start, and we are also still seeing our Child Development Specialist once per month. I love being the one that works with him on a daily basis--love seeing his accomplishments, his bright brown eyes, and big toothy grin.
Will he fall "on the spectrum?" Will he "grow out of this?" Who knows? Who cares? We were given a gift when we were chosen to be his parents.
Posted by Lindsi at 1:14 PM
Friday, October 10, 2014
I've thought about writing this post for several days, and I just keep putting it off. Plenty of my sweet friends have inquired about Wade, but it's more than a one sentence answer. I think it's best just to address the masses ;)
I'm writing this post from raw motherly emotions, cause since we've been dealing with this I've had my feathers ruffled a bit. Just like anything else in life, everyone has a story or opinion (you think I would've accepted that by nearly 32 years of age). My skin has been thick and I've had to remind myself that I'm the mother that God chose for Wade---and that I'm going to do what is best to raise this perfect angel that I was given.
Even though I realize I don't need to address anything, I want to address this: we are NOT concerned that Wade does not talk. We lose no sleep at night over the fact that Wade still says no words. Most everyone that we encounter feels the need to reassure me that their child/neighbor/great-nephew/pastor's second son/niece's boyfriend's dog walker (you get the point) did not even "talk" until he/she was nearly three-years-old, and that he/she is perfectly "normal" now.
Wade is perfect and normal to us! He obviously has some developmental delays that we are working on identifying. We have a very sweet therapist that comes to our house every other week to do play therapy with Wade. Our pediatrician sent us to the ENT for an audiological evaluation--Wade passed his sound booth test and OAE. His tympanogram also looked good. Our pediatrician and therapist have now referred us to The Scholl Center for speech therapy and further testing. So, that's where we are right now: waiting on The Scholl Center to call us next week.
I had a few GREAT conversations this week with the directors at Wade's preschool and our sweet therapist. I won't lie, it's tough and emotional to watch your child fall behind his peers. The ladies at preschool also voiced their concerns for Wade and his development (which is never easy to listen to!), but they spent a great deal of time building me up as his mother! We need more encouraging women like them in this world! I left there ready to fight for Wade! Our therapist spent most of our session this morning listening to me pour my heart out, and she also provided me reassurance. She spent some time helping me understand the "what now" and possible scenarios we might be facing. We had conversation that included things like: hearing loss, autism spectrum evaluation, other cognitive delays, AND just a plain 'ol stubborn child that still hasn't come into his own.
Prior to his audiological evaluation Wednesday morning, I pulled out my Bible and flipped it open to the very middle: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!" Psalm 139:13-17
Wade could wake up tomorrow with a different color of skin and that wouldn't change a darn thing about the way Alan and I are approaching this. Wade is exactly the perfect little tiny human that God created----we just want to nurture that. We don't need a fancy diagnosis. We are proud to be working with these therapists who are helping us understand the way Wade is designed, so that we can cater to him. To me, there is NO "worst case scenario" in this situation. We're not trying to change Wade, we are trying to learn him and improve our parenting. We were given a gift, and we're trying to put our all into it as his parents.
But, after all of this, don't think I haven't spent some time this week praying for Wade's future wife. Sweet baby girl might need it, because one thing is for sure: Wade doesn't listen :)
Posted by Lindsi at 3:23 PM
Sunday, August 10, 2014
There was this one time in January that I committed to blog more frequently throughout this year--but who sticks to their resolutions anyways?! I just wanted to be a statistic, I guess ;)
I feel like my little family is embarking on a new journey, though, and I want to be able to document the events to come. I started blogging during my walk through infertility, and I've always been so thankful for this outlet---the friends I made, the knowledge I gained.
Alan and I have had some concern with Wade's speech/communication development---being our second child I think we've had a tendency to compare everything to our first born (which I'm assuming is totally natural). Wade is 16-months-old and virtually says NO words. He says "mamamamama" and "dadadadada," but not even on a daily basis. It can be several days between the times I hear him call me "mamamamama." So what?! We chalked it up to being a late-talker, which from everything I have heard, is quite common with the second child. As time as progressed, a few more concerns arose---especially as we observed Wade in situations with his peers.
The conclusion was that Wade had a "developmental delay" in the area of communication. When I've tried to explain this to family members and friends the common response I've gotten is: "Just because he can't talk?!" Well, no.
Here are a couple points that were made to us as the therapists went over Wade's testing results:
-At this point, even though Wade doesn't use any words, he should be using his pointer finger to indicate things he wants. Wade CAN isolate his pointer finger, but he uses it haphazardly. Never once has he used it to point at anything in particular at home when questioned. This NEVER occurred me, honestly, but apparently this is a BIG milestone in infant communication. (Again, I'm learning as we go!)
-Wade does not recognize (or associate) common words to common objects. This is a tough one for me to explain, but I'll use the exact examples the therapists gave me. When asked, "Wade, where is your cup," they would expect Wade to show some sort of response towards his cup. He had no response at all. The same being for our dog, Bentley, and his brother, Cale. You can use those words to Wade: "Wade, where's Bentley?" and "Wade, where's Cale?", and there is no response. Again, those things NEVER occurred to me at home, but they are SO correct. Wade hasn't ever isolated things to us when asked.
Those were the two big points emphasized to Alan and I at the end the evaluation---so basically, it falls in the nonverbal and responsive communication category.
They explained to us that we are kind of left in a gray area. Does Wade not respond to these things because he's not comprehending them? Or because he can't hear appropriately? (He's obviously not deaf.)
Next week our case worker and a child development specialist will come to our home and spend some time with our family in our normal environment. From my understanding, they will go back as a team and create a "treatment plan" for Wade.
Obviously this is not about me, but just in case you were wondering, I have been at total peace during this whirlwind of a process. I rest confidently knowing that God created my brown-eyed baby boy with big plans for his life! We are ready to tackle whatever the therapy team throws at us! There are children fighting MUCH MUCH bigger medical battles than this, and I feel so blessed for Wade's great health.
I never know who will stumble across this little 'ol blog that might have walked this road before me, or who will find this blog post because they are struggling with similar issues with a child of their own. So, thanks for letting me throw all this information at you---and thanks for letting me document this journey!
Posted by Lindsi at 10:37 PM
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Since our last meeting, I was rocking through my new "Women Living Well" book by Courtney Joseph AND THEN, I hit a brick wall. There were a few sections in a particular chapter that were hard for me to digest, hard for me to put into practice. Oh, how I am a wife that needs to learn how to love unselfishly?!
I got to catch up with a girlfriend last week--well, as much catching up as you can do when you've got your eyes on two 2-year-olds and one 9-month-old. (HI, FRIEND! :) ) She expressed to me that her little family was thinking about adding another addition, and she sought my advice. It made me chuckle, because I have NONE. Life with two little one's is crazy. Never a dull moment. Never a quite house. Never a clean house. She went on to say that I "always seemed like I had it so together." Oh my! I wanted to embrace her, not because I was flattered by her comment, but because I wish she could see the real housewife and mother that I am.
I am so thankful for transparency. Because so many women have gone before me and shared their stories of struggle and stories of success, I have always known that wasn't walking alone in my motherhood journey. I am so moved by some of their stories! So, I have made a commitment to myself that I will be more transparent with those in my life, so that God can be glorified. He does something with the mess that I make everyday!
That being said, I'd like my sweet friend to know that I'm a mess! Before I put my two-year-old to bed this evening I asked for his forgiveness for all the times that I didn't demonstrate the kind of patience that I should have today. I never feel like I do enough for the sweet boys that I share a home with. I never feel like I've demonstrated God's goodness and grace enough to them throughout our days. Motherhood has brought out insecurities that I never knew I had, motherhood has brought out a vulnerability that I never knew. Motherhood has brought out the "prayer warrior" in me, because most days, that's all I feel like I have to cling to. My heart now walks around on the outside of my body in the form of two brown-eyed boys. Fear and doubt consume my thoughts as I think of this cruel world that my boys have to grow up in. Sometimes when my thoughts turn bad, when my attitude is negative, when all I can think about is laying my head on my pillow at the end of the day, I can just say "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus." We get through our day, and each morning we wake to new mercies :)
So, dear friend. I don't have it all together, but I serve a great God who does.
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9
Posted by Lindsi at 9:20 PM
Monday, January 6, 2014
This blogging a little bit here and there seems to be working out for me! :) All two posts of it.
Bringing home another baby in 2013 made me a member of the infamous "Two Under Two" club. This, of course, came with a whole new list of challenges, but OH, the rewards--in the forms of two perfect, healthy, adorable, cuddly, brown eyed boys. I'd like to think of myself as a highly organized person, but this self-proclaimed talent was definitely challenged with the addition of another little one. To outsiders, probably even my husband, I appeared to be 'with it;' however, I ran myself ragged. I could take care of two boys on strict schedules (yes, I'm THAT mom!), clean house, laundry, cook meals, love on my husband, and whatever else household duties called. Mentally I was exhausted, though. My thought life almost turned bitter, which was hard for me to admit as a rather uppity, cheerful girl. Even though it might not be displayed outwardly, my patience was thin. I beat myself up.
I knew I needed to make changes within myself, so that ALL my boys could have the very best of me! (Read: I mostly feel like my husband was receiving the short end of the stick). Proverbs 5:18 reads "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth." I first began to meditate on this scripture more than six months ago, but it wasn't until a month or so ago that it hit me hard. Fountain of blessing? Yeah, I felt like my fountain was pretty dried up. Wife you your youth? The gray hairs on my head and dark circles under my eyes lost me that title. There wasn't much light-hearted youthfulness being displayed after I put my boys to bed each night.
With a new year and new resolutions, I wanted to make these changes so that I can be the best little mommy and best little wife that I can be for my family. To make sure my head is straight and focused each day, I'm committing to more solitary time, even if it means retiring to bed a little earlier than my husband so I can have some quite, uninterrupted moments. Even if it means waking early to shower and organize for our busy day. I was exerting all my time and energy on my home and plopping my nearly asleep head down on my pillow each night without taking any moments for myself. As much as I like to think that I'm Superwoman, reality has let me know that I do not thrive in an unorganized, busy, chaotic environment. I need alone time and slow time and home time to renew my spirit each day. It's just how God wired me. I already feel so much more at peace than I did even a week ago
This is obviously what is working for me, and I know that each of us are created uniquely and beautifully. I'm always looking for creative ways to carve out time for me and God each day, so I'm curious to know how each of you squeeze time in your busy routines?! What kind of moments do you take each day to take care of yourself and your spirit?
Posted by Lindsi at 9:37 PM