Sunday, January 29, 2012

Autism: A Family Affair

I don’t mention it much here; heck, I’ve gone back through my posts and don’t see that I’ve ever mentioned it once.  Nolan isn’t our only one on the spectrum.  His older sister Madison was diagnosed a little over a year ago when she was almost seven.  I don’t think to ever mention her autism for a few reasons.

First of all, she is lucky to even be alive.  She was scheduled to be born January 29, 2004 (today would be her 8th birthday), but she couldn’t wait.  She came to us instead in November, 2003 – three months early at 27 weeks plus five days.  She was 14 inches long, and tipped the scales at a meager 2 pounds four ounces (sugar is heavier, but not nearly as sweet).  For her first two years we were fully focused on keeping her alive.

Since then, aside from some minor medical concerns and a demure size that belies her energy level, she’s progressed at a fairly steady rate.  She’s scarily intelligent and (as far as the rest of the World knows) is the happiest of all Earth’s creatures.  But, there have been things that caused us to worry about her.

She hand flaps like she’s trying to take off; she has trouble with the appropriateness of some of her conversations; Mad is friends with other kids, but gets lost when she’s pressed to understand social cues; she repeats, repeats, repeats; she can’t recall the “morning drill” on her own from day to day; she is literally distracted by shiny things (woe unto the mirror hanging on our bathroom door)…and the list goes on.

A couple years ago, we had her tested by the same folks who ran the series on Nolan.  While Mad’s level of autism barely mirrors her brother’s, we never doubted our concerns.  Not that we want even one on the spectrum, let alone two.  Nevertheless, her diagnosis has helped us out when it came time to get her some therapies she has since benefitted from.

Still, it’s tough from day to day to think that she is even autistic (or has autism or whatever you prefer to read).  But, she has been diagnosed and she is.  I don’t know why I felt the need to bring that up, other than today is January 29 and it got me thinking…


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