Our Autism Journey so far; We are #winning with our son with ASD / SPD / Autism / Aspergers

In this episode, Heather and I sit down and talk about our life with Mikey and how we got to where we are today.

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You know, when you're a parent and you're realizing that your child's wired differently, knowledge is what you need. Knowledge is key because once you figure out how they're wired, then you can talk to other parents that have, you know, kids that are wired differently. You know what books to read to help understand your children.

It just gives you that empowerment to. You know, to be the parent advocate, you know, to advocate for your child.

Hey friends. This is the finding Mikey podcast. Our family's quest to prepare our son Mikey for life. Mike, and from time to time, I'll be joined by my wife, Heather, or other family members and others for interviews and conversations. Now, while I may mention our son, you have a mic. And together we're on a journey to learn as much as we can so that we can understand how to best communicate and guide our kiddos into independent adulthood.

Thanks for tuning in.

So our story, right, we I'll start and I want you to interject, of course, this is kind of it you know, we're a family of a bunch right now, you know, I've got the Jordan from a previous marriage and. 1819. He's 19. Now he's 19. And he's still backing in California. We're out here in Austin, Texas round rock, actually.

And Heather and I, when we got married Jordan was eight years old and and then we've had three kids since then. We've gotten grace who has now. Joy who is three and Mikey of course is six as well. And yeah, that was it. So it's kind of a little jokey, jokingly. I say that, you know, when we were talking about having kids after grace, I was telling Heather I'm like, look, lightning only strikes once lightning only strikes one.

So she kept reminding me, she was like, yeah, but when we were dating, you said you wanted to have like a thousand kids or. And, you know, let's be honest. We weren't, you know, we weren't taking protective measures at all. So, you know, we were just going to have kids, you know, on, on our schedule or on a schedule that, that was determined for us here.

So, you know, Mikey was born and then joy was born and then we put an end to that pretty quick. We're like, we're done. We're good. We've got a lot of a lot that's going on here. So if you come out numbered, that was enough for us. That's great. I think when we had a. At first we could provide like a zone defense on grace and then it went to like a stretched man defense with Mikey.

And of course his energy levels and his personality and his, you know, his quirks and his differences and things that were yet to be diagnosed were just a lot on us. And then we had joy. We're just like, oh boy, we're done. We're there. They're going to take over. They're going to take over for sure. So what's Since you have the chronology a little bit better.

They're like, let's talk about, you know, what it was like with with Grace's pregnancy and then Mikey's pregnancy. If there were any differences that you noticed or anything that we're different there. Well, one of the things that. I think about a lot when I think of the development of Mikey and grace, is that with Grace's pregnancy, I didn't really have any complications.

Let me ask you, did we, were we supplementing then too? Like you needed progesterone for grace or was that yeah, but that was more in regards to my own like infertility journey. I had low progesterone and so when I got pregnant, With children. I needed to take progesterone supplements in order to keep my uterine lining thick enough for that whole implantation process.

Anyone out there that's been on the infertility journey, I'm sure you can relate. Or you may have heard of something like that. And for those of you that haven't, don't worry about it. But yes, honey, I was on progesterone supplements with all three pregnancies. However, Grace's development. There were never any alerts as to how the pregnancy was progressing.

Now when it came time to be pregnant with Mikey when I had my 18 week ultrasound that's when I was diagnosed with single vessel cord. What that means is that there's supposed to be two arteries and a vein in the umbilical cord and one of those arteries prolapsed. And so now there was only one artery and vein and.

The child that's developing gets all of its nutrition from the umbilical cord. And so if one of the arteries is down, then less nourishment is actually going to the fetus. And so, that can result in developmental delays. It can result in You know, the baby, not growing to be very big inside the uterus.

And so they do a lot of a lot more monitoring of the pregnancy, a lot more ultrasounds around the time that you're 30 weeks along, they do stress tests twice a week, where you have, they do the fetal heart rate monitoring. For about 30 minutes, they just monitor the heart rate to make sure there's no irregularities.

And just give you more attention just to make sure that you and the baby are doing well. And also I had placenta previa during that pregnancy. So it was possible during the delivery of Mikey that I would have had to have a C-section if the placenta didn't move. So those were the two main concerns during the pregnancy.

Okay, of which thank goodness he didn't, he was able to be delivered vaginally and he was able to go full term. They induced me at 39 weeks because they felt that he was better out than in due to the the, you know, the single vessel cord. And so I was induced instead of him coming on his own terms and grace came on her own terms actually went into labor with grace.

So to join. Yes. And I went into labor with choice as well. Yep. So now that's good. So we had, I don't remember feeling overly anxious or nervous or concerned. Like all the doctors were telling us everything was, you know, still okay. He's still responding the way he needs to. Everything was fine. Do you ever get any gut feelings or anything weird along the way that you never shared?

No. No. I mean, when he was born, you know, he was a very healthy infant, very responsive. And he had you know, That he got that infant bronchitis called RSV because I have a two year old joy, you know, two year old grace at home and she had croup and she gave her three month old brother RSV. And so, they, we outlawed mouth kissing in our house.

Yeah. I don't know. But anyway, in order to keep him out of the hospital, I had to put Mikey on breathing treatments. And so what I had to do was I had to use a. It was a nebulizer and nebulizer. Yeah. And give him albuterol and put a mask on his face, whether he was asleep or awake. I had to do this like every, I dunno, I think I had to do it like five times a day in order to make sure that the bronchial secretions were thin enough for him to cough and get it out and keep his oxygen levels high and take him to the pediatrician every yet.

Couple of days to make sure his oxygen levels were okay. And if they were below a certain number, then he had to be hospitalized. And, you know, we were able to get through that. But I think because he had that damage to his lungs at such a young age, every time he got a cold, after that, the pediatrician recommend using the nebulizer and the albuterol to keep the the phlegm moving and.

He had a lot of respiratory infections the first year of life. Because of that we stopped vaccinating him at nine months old because every time I took him for a well-check, I didn't feel like he was healthy. Potentially unhealthy child more to deal with. I'm just glad we don't have to do the nebulizer anymore.

I remember him fighting it away a good bit and yeah, it wasn't easy. I mean, he would, you know, yank the mask off of his face and there were a few times. Yeah, I remember it. Wasn't easy. Yeah. So maybe around 18 months old is when we stopped using the nebulizer and stopped. We're able to stop using all the rounds of antibiotics and things like that.

But. That's also the time that I started on my health journey. You got involved. Yeah. You got involved with moms and charge out there in Southern California. Yeah. Thank you. Dottie, sunshine and crew. Yeah. And that's, well, it's an interesting other tangent that came off of that too, because that's where you became aware of Maria and, you know, she's, you know, been linked to our life for awhile too.

And we'll, hopefully we'll have Mariana show, but she's been she's been advising us on our health, and really Yeah, interestingly enough, the link to what you just said about Mikey and antibiotics was just that, and it was really focusing on our gut health and that was something that was pretty important and still is pretty important for us now.

And in Mikey, actually, there was an article that I just saw on autism speaks where they're starting to fund. I think it was two plus million dollars. They're starting to fund some research into the link between gut health and autism. So it was a pretty interesting, so it's good to know that.

At least doing something that's being looked at a little bit more. Closely now, but, you know, I feel our risk is, you know, Hey, maybe fixing your gut, doesn't fix autism for example, but it certainly makes you a healthier person. So what's the risk. So, sorry, I kind of took you off your off your path there, but we're about 18 months old and you know, Mike he's normally smiley he's tickly, he's giggly he's bouncy.

He was. You know, just sweet curly, headed, little kid, a little surfer hairdo. Remember we had chickens at our house in mission bay Harbor. We weren't really necessarily supposed to. Our neighbors liked the eggs, but I remember just him, him hanging out with the chickens and trying to pet the chicks as we raised them up.

And just watching him kind of learn, you know, the world a little bit. Yeah. And when a lot of people are doing autism diagnosis they look at developmental milestones at infancy and. He met all of those milestones. He crawled, he queued, he, you responded anyone that wouldn't look at him. He wouldn't just smile at them and flirt with them.

He walked at a normal time. He crawled at a normal time. He turned over, he ate, you know, wasn't a picky eater. His speech was fine. He had articulations that you issues, but you know, that also could have been due to the fact that he was born tongue tied. And we chose to not have that corrected. We wanted to see if it would grow out on its own and it did.

But you know, he had some cute words that he would say incorrectly and it could have been because of that. But you know, that's sometimes what makes it the toddler years, you know, so cute is when they say, you know, certain words kind of funny. I used to. You know, tell my friends that if Mikey were talking to a stranger, they would have absolutely no idea what he was saying, but because I was his mom, you know, I knew what he was saying and that eventually worked itself out.

So, yeah. Now let strangers completely understand what he's saying. And all he does is talks to swell. Not all he does is talk to strangers, but he talks to a ton of them now. Right. You know, I remember back to, I'm a pretty emotional time here for us. And it was like a relief, emotional thing. Right. Mikey, didn't.

Grace snapped. Mikey didn't nap. Very well. Mikey, this is how we learned Mike. He was a climber, right? That crib. How long do you think he stayed in that crib? Maybe till he was 16 months. Yeah. I mean, not long at all. Not long at all. Ever since he could pull himself up, I think he was trying to find his way out of that crib.

And that made it hard for nap time that made it harm for bedtime and It wasn't until we spoke with our pediatrician about this too, just having a hard time sleeping. She suggested that we try melatonin just like a half milligram of melatonin. And I remember guys, I remember walking into Mikey's bedroom and Heather is asleep on the bed and Mike is still bouncing.

I fully expected to walk in at nine o'clock after this has been going on since like seven 30 or eight o'clock and see. If he's up bouncing around, she's still awake. Just looking perturb. Now she passed out and he's still bouncing around and, you know, luckily staying in the room, but nonetheless, just not at all asleep.

And you want to talk about that first day when we well, we gave him some melatonin. Yes, but first I want to back up just a little bit because what I want to set this set, the tone for here is that joy was in the picture now. Joey was about six weeks old. So now I had three kids to put to bed and I did.

Yeah, all the reading of like healthy sleep habits and good bedtime routines. I would Google good bedtime routines. I was doing everything from bath to books, to lotions, to songs, massages, essential oils. You know, this, I wasn't doing the car rides at this point anymore because I had three kids, but that's true.

But I remember doing 2:00 AM car rides with Mikey and they're skirting. Especially, you know? Yeah, for sure. But when joy was born, Mikey was about three years old. And so, a lot happened between 18 months and three years old. So that's why I said I needed to back up a little bit here. So we were talking to the pediatrician about Mikey sleep habits.

Because we had already tried all of the means that we knew of to help him fall asleep, minus like a sleeper hold. Right. And We're just really struggling. And she told us, you know, to try one milligram of melatonin. And so we did, and I remembered, you know, Mikey, you know, Mike holding joy who was about eight weeks at the time.

And grace already, you know, Tucked in and doing her thing to fall asleep. And I gave Mikey a milligram of melatonin and thank goodness it was orange flavored and it was sublingual. So all it needed to do was just melt in his mouth. At some point, gave him his bath read books. I was rocking him on the rocking chair and he didn't even make it through his bedtime routine.

Right. He was asleep before I got him to his bed and I was like, my. Cause he asleep and Mike was like, yes. And he used to, Mike was doing like the silent, happy dance in the living room. And I was like, oh my goodness. So like I went and, you know, I laid him in his bed and I nursed my, you know, my daughter joyed asleep.

And I probably checked on him like four times that night. Yeah. And just to make sure that he was okay and it was okay. And we probably did. A milligram of melatonin for like four days and it was working so well. And I've always been like a less is better kind of person effective dosage. Yeah. So I like split the Mela, the one milligram melatonin in half, and I gave him half a milligram and we got the same effect as far as falling into.

But where he was still struggling is with half a milligram of melatonin. He was still night waking. So he would wake up at midnight and like walk around the house and want a meal or want to talk or cuddle. And And then, you know, we would go and we wouldn't have too hard of a time getting him back to sleep, but it was, it still disrupts their sleep cycle when they wake up in the middle of the night and start walking around the house.

So I went back to the one milligram and with the one milligram, he he stopped a night waking. So that was pretty, pretty exciting. So then I guess this is why I'm glad you're here is because you remember the stuff better than I do, but I thought we had first tried melatonin and Mr. Vale, because I remember we didn't try it until we were at our our rental house here in.

I know now that you're the same that, like, I remember that, but that brought up some other stuff here too. Like by then, like, you know, we had seen some other behaviors out of Mikey that. You know, there were difficult. He would bolt, he was well into his bolting phase right then. And, you know, we had some pretty, pretty decent locks up above the, you know, up high on the door so that the kids couldn't run out the door.

And especially on the front doors, we didn't mind the back door because you know, he's got the backdoor. Gate to the pound, to the lawn stomach stammering there , to the lawn, to the line. And we were just figured we had a little bit more buffer to get him there, but I remember, yeah, I remember his his bolting phases there too.

Cause we're right on the. And I remember a couple of cars didn't go, I mean, 25 miles an hour is pretty, pretty heavy on a kid if they're hit with a car anyway. Yeah. Mikey, the whole thing. That's a whole podcast right there. Yeah. I mean, that's definitely one of the one of the concerns that we've always had about him and it wasn't just bolting out the front door, just on impulse.

You know, it was walking in a parking lot with him walking in, going anywhere with him. Right. You know, I needed to always know where he was. I started using the infant carrier so much more than I ever thought I would with the joy as an infant, because I needed to have two hands for keeping control of where, you know, where Mikey was and, you know, having him hold my hand and things like that.

So, He was a big kid in the seat of the grocery cart for a reason, because it was just too much to go anywhere without him being in a cart or on a stroller. I did it last night. Same thing. I lifted him up. I'm like, oh, you're almost too big for this, but at least you're here. Yeah, it's crazy. Anyway, I'm sorry.

Again, I threw you off with the chronology and no, you're fine. You said rather, this is just a conversational thing that we're doing here and I'm sure anyone here listening, you know, can relate. So. Well, then before we get into like actually seeking treatment here was there anything else that you wanted to bring up before then?

Cause that brings us kind of up into, you know, where we live now, not the same house, but in the same neighborhood, you know? And I know that one of the first few things we did, like what brought us to do what brought us into occupational. What led us there? Well, it's this funny story that's long, but I'll try to make it short.

It better be funny. Right? You can't tell the audience, it's going to be funny. And our friends out there use it, but I'll try to make it short is what I said. Okay. So we went. Our son, Jordan that Hey Jordan, peer listening that lives in California, came out here to Texas to live with us for a while.

And one of the conditions of that is that we said, you know, we're going to get you into counseling because counseling is good for everyone during different stages of their lives. And he was a teenager. And we were having some communication problems between you know, his, him and his dad. And so they decided to get some counseling here in Texas to help, you know, help, you know, work around any rough edges that they were dealing with.

So, we asked Jordan to watch Mikey and grace in the lobby of the child psychologist office, so that we could do an intake appointment with the psychologist. And Mikey was acting up in the lobby. Listening to Jordan. So Jordan, you know, knocked on the door and the child psychologist wasn't, you know, interrupted our meeting.

And so, you know, he just had a, you know, Hey Mike, he's just not listening. Can you just, you know, come into this child psychologist's office with you. And I'm really sorry, but he's just being really difficult. And we know Mikey, so we're like, yeah, Jordan. Okay. And then we actually explained to the child psychologist is this okay?

And since she was a child psychologist, she had a bunch of toys in there. And so, you know, it at least gave something, you know, for Mikey to do. And joy was asleep in the car seat cause she was, you know, five weeks old. So, so Mikey was just bouncing around, playing with all of her toys, touching, whatever he wanted to touch.

And I turned to her and I said, as a joke, I said, you know, that's great that we're here to help Jordan, but if you can ever help me with him, I'd really appreciate it. And she's like, I can and I'll make no, I'm just joking. He's three years old. I mean, you don't bring a three-year-old child and child counseling.

I mean, come on. And then she. Well, actually, you know, I, you do. And she's like, what are your concerns? And I was like, no, I'm like, seriously. He's like just choking. I'm like, well, you probably need parenting help. But you know, like basically, you know, he's just, he doesn't listen to me. He's very high energy.

He's very like doesn't listen. Like I try to tell him not to do something and, you know, he just lives life on his own terms. And it's like, he's tuning me out and. He's very active. And you know, I'm like, people are just saying, oh, he's just cause he's a boy. Or, you know, maybe he's a boy. And you know, like it's just, he had hard time in like public situations.

We, you know, it was just, I was stressed out as this, put it, I mean, I had a six week old baby and a really active boy. And so I was just. I didn't have any, anything to put it on, other than it could just be terrible. Threes are terrible twos. And so I was just trying to get through it and do my best to like teach him discipline and stuff.

And then she was like, well, let me just have a couple of sessions with him then, you know, like, I'll give you some feedback. So I was like, and she was like, and I'll also help you with Mike with some parent training. I was like, oh sure. Okay. Okay, great. Let's do it. So she took on both of our sons.

Yeah, it was pretty cool. I remember her eyes lighting up a little bit though with like, oh, this is interest. Right with Mikey and she seemed very very, I don't know, excited, maybe not excited, but she just seemed very happy to share with us the things that she was discovering about Mikey and you know, where with Jordan, it was a little bit more in that kind of calm and subdued, and here's what we need to do.

And here's this and that. But with Mikey, she was just like, yep, I'm totally seeing it. He does this doesn't he? He does this, doesn't it yet? You know? So she was really a. It seemed like she was super interested in trying to help my heat with that. And that led us into OT. Yeah. Yeah. Basically. She was, she said that, you know, he, she's not able to diagnose, because I guess there's certain levels of like, like degrees or something you need to have within the like psychology realm of, you know, diagnosing children.

That's different neurological challenges. But she said that she would recommend Mikey to see a pediatric neurologist and to start OT. And she gave us a book to read about sensory processing disorder. And that's where we started with Mikey. We we realized that, you know, Have sensory processing disorder, we just didn't have a name to put to it.

We didn't know that there was something called sensory processing. I knew that you couldn't hug him hard enough. Like you could squeeze the breath out of him and he'd want more. Like you could that, that just certain things like that that, and he's super ticklish. Right. And he also doesn't respond well when you'd like go to grab his wrist, like to tell him no, you know, so we, you know, we notice those things, but you're right.

We didn't. We could name it. Right. Right. And we didn't, I've heard of ADHD and stuff before, but you don't really like put that kind of a late diagnosis, you know, like on a three-year old, at least I didn't, I'm like, yeah, he could have ADHD. I mean, I have add Jordan has add but it's just, you know, it's.

I mean, if he has ADHD big, you know, big deal, you just gotta to learn how to discipline them the way that you know, where they need to be a discipline, so you can teach them the right beat, the right behavior and things like that. You, okay. So anyway I'm more familiar with ADHD than I am anything else.

And but again, we're, he's a three-year-old boy, you know, so at this time, at the time I was, there was a lot of me that was thinking that, you know, You know, he's very active and he's got, you know, like, yeah he's very difficult to discipline. And you know, when you're doing Google searches, I even came across odd defiant odd, like old, dirty bastard from Wu Tang clan.

My goodness. No. Defiant disorder, something like that. These weren't just like, oh, he definitely has that. But then again, he's three, you know what I mean? So I'm not going to take these kinds of things. It's like, seriously, you said something that, that, that really sparked, there were a couple of things that were sort of aha.

Moments in S and one was, I remember back in Ladera ranch in Michigan. And he would go, you guys would do this music thing. And he was the only kid that would get up out of your lap and go and dance. He would dance around the room and he would go be with the person who was leading the music. And, you know, he wouldn't really sort of sit still.

And I remember you telling me that and it was like, oh, that's so cute. And he's so outgoing. And then there was another time where you're like, you know what, at swim, swim lessons here. You're like, I'm looking around the room when we're all changing and getting our kids ready to leave. And he's the automatic.

He's not sitting still, he's not paying attention to directions. He needs constant redirection. And it was just I think that was where you're like I'm convinced that he's different. And then reading a reading about, you know, SPD, sensory processing disorder. I mean, I didn't know what proprioceptive was or all these other big words that were going into this vestibular I'm like, but the symptoms made sense to me, you know, he likes to swing, he likes to be upside down he's, you know, just all these different things that started to make it a little bit more real and a little bit like.

This is so interesting, hopefully that, and it was given us, they were starting to give us up, right. At least we know when you're a parent and you're realizing that your child's wired differently. Knowledge is what you need. Now. Knowledge is key because once you figure out how they're wired, then you can.

Talk to other parents that have kids that are wired differently. You know what books to read to help understand your children. It just gives you that empowerment to You know, to be the parent advocate, you know, to advocate for your child and to just to understand them, I mean, not, everyone's going to be parented the way that you were parented and that's where we naturally start parenting is how our parents did it.

And when your child's not responding to that time and time again, you feel self defeated and. When you learned that your child is wired differently, then you start feeling better about, about things. Yeah. Sorta, but let's be real, you know, this past few days specifically have been draining. No, it is draining.

It is draining. I'm not saying that it's not draining. What I'm saying is that when you find out that your child has a diagnosis, then you can learn about diagnose that diagnosis so that you can learn other ways of. Trying to get the best behavior you can out of your child so that, you know, you can.

Teach them how to be a good citizen and not be a danger to themselves because he doesn't have a good sense of danger. And I can't, I'm around him a lot right now because he's six years old, but I'm not always going to be around as he gets older. And so he has to learn that filter. And if I'm not able to teach it to him, you know, he's, you know, he's more likely to get hurt.

So, let's talk about the year of OT that we had with him a while we had with him. Oops. What did you was falling off the table for those of you that aren't watching us creepy creepily in our living room, but I almost fell off the table with my well anyway. You know, I, I remember he enjoyed going to OT.

There were fun things and there were difficult things that were there for him as well. What was your, what are your thoughts about, you know, OT? Cause I personally, I don't know. I, when I think back right now, I don't know what I can take away from it other than he needed an, you know, he needed a sensory diet added to his life.

Right. He needed certain things. Like that's why we have a trampoline now. That's why we've got a swing set and play structure and things. He can climb on things we can jump off of. That was another thing he loved to do. He loved jumping off things from high up. Yeah, I mean talking about scary. But he also would climb over things that were pretty high.

But anyway, back to my questions, I w what were your thoughts of OT and an OT? That's when we we learned that Mikey had fine motor delays. He had a hard time with. Grasping the pencil. He had a hard time focusing to write, you know, circles, happy faces you know, any kind of like shapes that are lines that you start writing to, to, you know, to develop your ability to, you know, to write letters.

Going back to. The coronal chronology here of his age, he started OT just after he turned three years old. So that whole bunch of expectation on a three-year-old for writing. However resisted it. He resisted it. And we were at restaurants like he would break and peel and throw crayons across the room.

Like we couldn't get him to like color or play tic-tac-toe with us or happy faces. You see them all as like evil and need to be destroyed. Like even the ones that aren't in front of him, like they all got broken, they all got unwrapped and they all got scattered. Right. So we just thought he wasn't interested in coloring.

Well, we didn't know is he had an unholy relationship with fine motor skill development. That's what, and so he just really resisted that activity and he was very defiant about it. And so one of his goals and OT was five minutes. Of like writing or coloring. And that was a goal that took a while.

Like it didn't, it took a while for them to increase it to seven minutes and he still required a lot of like hand over hand assistance and he required encouragement through that whole five minutes. And he. That was one of his, like his big struggles. The other thing is that he had a weak core.

And so when he would sit up during circle time or sit up to write, he would slouch a lot. So they worked on developing his core muscles. And so he did all kinds of activities in the gym and on a scooter board. And one of the things that they introduced us to was what's called the weighted blanket.

And that really helped him focus better when he would sit criss-cross applesauce, it would give him something like the weight, just it did something to help him calm down so that he could sit longer, because what would happen is he would sit cross criss-cross applesauce and then he would want to lay down, or he would want to sit to the side or to the other side, or just slouch forward, or just not want to sit at all because it just wasn't comfortable for him to sit for long periods of time.

So they did. Different activities to help him with core development. And then finally, you know, they did social skills with him. They would he would either, he would play games either with the therapist or with other kids at, or around his level in the occupational therapy office that you know, playing a board game, learning how to take turns, learning how to lose, learning, how to win and not have a huge temper tantrum.

You know, when you when you lose with. You know, for him, that's one of his triggers not being first and losing, he, you know, has like complete meltdowns. Yeah. Yeah. That's a tough one. Yeah. You're right. So, so we did OT, let's flash forward to, you know, when we got as official diagnosis. And let's talk about that week, because there was a lot, well, those two weeks, because that.

You know, we're kind of leaving a gap here. You know, we've been, you know, parentally trying to do things, you know, we've been very consistent with. You know, certain mantras to keep Mikey from bolting. It was always Michael. If you don't stop running and come back right now, by the count of three, you'll get a timeout.

Do you understand that? Just mantra needed to be repeated to him if he were to bolt. And it's been a good mantra to kind of use with the other kids as well, though. They respond way better than Mikey does. It's still required with Mikey, from, you know, pretty much all the time. So we were implementing that we were implementing using terms like when the.

You know, when you're done with that, then you can do this. We would, you know, do a lot of sympathetic, you know, conversations with him where he's melting down and right. Oh buddy, I understand this. It's tough. Not being first place, you know, but it's okay. No big deal. Are you hurt? Are you all right? You know, just to kind of console and talk and put ourselves, try to put ourselves in his shoes and let him know that we feel for him.

Right. And also, you know, staying with you know, timeouts or time ins, however you want to put it. Isolate them. We don't isolate any of our children other than, you know, there are way more than arms, distance away, but not out of the room. So they get to sit down and they've got a timer there too, but so, you know, we did work on and continue to work on things and skills that we need as parents to just kind of keep a little bit of order.

Around here, but you know, it's fast forward to just this year. Cause there were two weeks there that really jammed a lot in it. It was his diagnosis that was him trying to start kindergarten. And then shortly thereafter, it's kind of where we are right now, which is. Kind of a modified homeschool, looking toward ABA and OT, kind of a thing you want to catch us up on, on that one, get us into that bit of the story.

I know that was another long story, making a long story short. So from the time he graduated you know, he was in a mom's day out program that at preschool two days a week, and he was starting to do better at the preschool with some of the goals that we had for him, he was able to you know, be less disruptive in class.

They put in some behavior like proactive behavior. Modifications like a behavior chart to help him you know, do the expected behavior for different areas of the day, you know, like during math centers or during lunch or during snack and He went to the same preschool two days a week for two years.

And so I think the second year that he went, he did phenomenally better because he's very into routine. He's very into structure. He memorizes the routine, memorizes the rules. So when you know some of the struggles that he would have. It would be when there was a disruption to the routine. Like if the firemen, the fire truck was coming that day, or if a dentist was going to come to a presentation or if it was a rainy day and we were going to, we weren't going to go to the playground.

Those days the teachers knew were going to be more difficult for them. He did really well with transitions when it was visual to him, what the next transition was going to be. But one of the areas that he was continuing to struggle was with his social skills. And so every once in a while, the the teacher would say to me, oh, you know, he doesn't really play with other kids.

If a group of boys were playing Legos or train tracks, he doesn't go join the other boys and play. And I was thinking to myself, well, Why would he want to play Legos with other kids? I mean, like it's when Mike is playing Legos at home, it's you're making your own creation. You're like building, or when he's playing trains, he sits down and he builds this elaborate train, track all by himself.

And he probably thinks that if he's going to go and play with other kids doing this stuff, that they're not going to build the creation that he wants to play. So it's like, who cares? You know, I'm just going to play something by myself. So I was just kind of shrugging it off. But during. Times that he would play with the neighborhood kids at home.

I would note notice, you know, some awkward social skills and as kids get older, there's certain social skills. Are acquired by, you know, by just by learning from your peers and he wasn't learning those social skills. Just to give you one example, he'll have like two friends over and they're all three jumping on the trampoline together.

And Mikey decides to come inside and build a marble tower and he leaves his two friends on the trampoline. Very abruptly bounce bounce. Yeah. And now he's inside isolating himself. And I went over to him and I was like, Hey buddy, you know, why are you over here building a marble tower?

And your friends are outside in the trampoline. And he's like, oh, I to be out there anymore. Okay, well, your friends are still here and we know why don't you go out and play with them for another, you know, 10 or 15 minutes? Cause I don't know how long they're going to be here. And just total like tunnel vision.

Nope, I'm over it. And now that's a big deal, but when things like that keep happening, you kind of just start putting little. Checkmarx in your brain. You're like, oh, okay. So, Mike and I went on a family vacation over the summer, right before Mikey started kindergarten. And a lot of things were happening that were odd and they weren't new behaviors, but I think.

Just having us altogether for like six weeks on this family vacation. And we were just kind of keep going, why is he, you know, like these behaviors. So just, you know, maybe when we get back home, we need to kinda, you know, go back to the neurologist because the brain is one of those awesome. Well, you know, there's an Oregon's that just keep, you know, developing a muscle Oregon.

So it's like, it's always improving, always changing. So things that he might be struggling with right now, he didn't struggle with two years ago. And you know, and so like there was one particular incident just, that was pretty major. That happened when we were on vacation where the fire alarm tripped.

And at the hotel and it was very loud and very visual because there was these, you know, flashing strobe lights everywhere we had to evacuate. So we were, you know, going from the seventh floor, into the stairwell, super loud in there, it was loud. And the, you know, the Intercom was going off, please evacuate the hotel.

And when you're in the stairwell, it's even louder because it echoes and the. Four kids in the hotel room with us. And then Mike and I, cause we had a you know, we had our nephew with us and Mike, the look on Mikey's face like the sheer terror and the sheer, you know, like this fear on his face was just out of this world.

And the other three kids were able to walk themselves down the stairs. Now I carry joy cause she's three and I, you know, Mike carried Mikey. But Mikey was just freaking out really bad. And Cooper's trying to add to the story. Yeah. And so, For the rest of the vacation, like specifically, well, specifically that night, he had a tough time going to sleep really tough even with some melatonin, even with a lot of consoling and just had a tough time.

He woke up in the middle of the night, complaining, scared that he was in a fight. But that, that definitely, you know, the next day at breakfast, he was telling everybody, Hey, the firearms went off and this and that. And that it, I mean, he had this whole routine and he was starting to just repeat the same story over and over to as many people as he could.

And Yeah, that was really traumatic for him that did last solid for about a week. And then he kind of slowly tapered away from it. But now he notices every fire alarm, every fire extinguisher, everywhere we go. Yeah. It doesn't matter what building we walk into. If he hasn't been in there before, even if he has, he points out the sprinklers, the F the smoke alarms, the fire extinguisher.

Have you noticed? So he's actually going over toward the actual fire alarm now, and he's putting his hand on it, like he's going to pull it or something. Yeah. Doing that for attention, I think because he knows we're going to say don't touch that like true. I'm just afraid he's going to touch it. And then I got to explain to him.

The fire department while your son pulled the fire alarm and deal with all the water damage. Well, yeah, I don't know what would happen if you pulled that thing, but yeah, it's definitely not something he's supposed to touch. So, you know, there was that happened. And then, you know, I was taking all the kids with me to museums and aquariums and amusement parks, you know, while we were on this vacation and anytime we went into like, I wouldn't say any time, but there were certain like places that we went into that Mikey would just cry for the first half, half hour that we were there.

Aquarium kids, museums. It wasn't like this cry, like tears. He was just walking around, checking everything out and just, yeah. Warning. And like, I couldn't snap him out of it. No. Like consoling talking was like stamping them out of it. And like we're watching a dolphin show at the, you know, Atlanta aquarium.

And at the end of the dolphin show, I was like, Mikey, what's going on? Only thing I can get out of them at the end of that was I want to be a dolphin trainer and I'm like, oh, okay, whatever he likes, he's not crying anymore. So we went to, we went and talked to the dolphin trainers about how it could become a dolphin trainer and mind you, I still had four kids with me and I was at the aquarium.

So, you know, it was like a lot on, you know, a lot on me and a lot on Mikey and the other kids were like, come on, Mikey, let's go, you know, let's go see some other stuff. And we all had to take turns on what exhibit we were going to see next. And things like that. Making a long story short, I've got two girlfriends that I'm really close with that have kids that are on the autism spectrum and is they would tell me from time to time.

Why don't you just have them checked out? Why don't you just, you know, see if, you know, he might be on the spectrum. And at that time, I, the only thing I knew about autism or kids that rocked back and forth at hand flapped and that banged books against their heads, that didn't talk that's honestly, non-verbal, you know, that's all I knew about autism at the time.

I didn't know that there was a segment of kids that were high functioning. But I went ahead and I took one, I took Mikey to see a developmental pediatrician and we had to fill out like two questionnaires and then like a whole, you know, a whole bunch of intake forms before we met with this gentleman and this, you know, this doctor and we weren't even 30 minutes into the appointment.

And he was like, oh, you guys are so at the right place. Yes. You know, they used to call it Asperger's he has, you know, like high functioning autism and. I was like, I didn't cry. I didn't. I was like in shock because I was like, okay, now I have something new that I can run with that I can learn about that.

I can see, you know, like how can I educate myself to be the best parent that I can be for my heat, but at the end of that appointment, Mikey and I went home changed, you know, like had a quick snack and then went to make the peat and meet the teacher night to meet his kindergarten teacher. And when we met his kindergarten teacher, it just wasn't a good experience.

His behavior was really off the charts. And it was just very overwhelming for both of us. And it just happened to be on the same day that, that he was diagnosed with high functioning autism. So it was, oh my gosh. That was a tough one. I was a tough day. Maybe we'll save the rest of like how we took us.

Basically from day one of kindergarten. So where we are right now and trying to get him educated, try to get him, you know, the social skills that he needs and things like this. I know we're at about 40 minutes or so right now. And that's a good long, you know, a good long episode, but it does bring you up to.

Up to snuff at least to getting you to where we are right now, quick a teaser, if you will you know, kindergarten didn't work out the way we were hoping to right off the bat. And we're in the process of simultaneously homeschooling Mikey, as well as you know, getting him into a how would you describe it basically, a school that focuses, you know, ABA therapists that are there one-on-one attention, occupational therapy, basically the goal is to get him.

The help that he needs now so that we can reintegrate next year. So, you know, we're trying to be pretty intense with the treatment that we have now. To do that, but we're not quite there yet, so you'll be able to join us on the journey as we progress through there as well, and continue to just try to figure them out, continue to try to find Mikey through all this.

Right. So I think that's a good spot to end. Do you have anything you want to say at all at the end? No. I mean, just as a mom, of course, I feel like there's all these details that I left out, but we're just trying to keep this short, you know, every day that you're parenting a child that's high energy, that's wired differently.

You know, it's full of full of challenges. But, you know, he is such one of the things that, that Mike and I always try to do is talk about his strengths. And, you know, maybe we didn't, I don't even know if we talked about those on this call. No, but like, if you said, Hey, do you have any last words?

And yeah. And yeah, we did talk a lot about our journey with Mikey and. And like emotions and stress, but, you know, I just want to end on the fact that, you know, he is a light. He's just, he's such an awesome kid. He's very compassionate. He's a great big, he's a great brother. He's a great son. And we always have this joke because he it's one thing it's kinda not safe that he's never met a stranger, but the fact that.

He brightens people's day that needed to have their day brightened, you know, Mike and I always joke around that. He's either going to be a pastor or a salesman or a mayor. Yeah. But then again, because he's so, you know, intellectual with he could also be an engineer, you know, I don't know because he's just, he's very good at building things and making things connect.

And just, you know, doing a puzzle without even the picture next to it, to like guide him, he just puts it all together. Yeah. We're dealing with folks that we're talking to right now that you guys have children as well, or family members that are on the spectrum. So, you know, there's, you know, there's stress, there's tough times.

There's exhausting days, weeks, and months. But you know, this child, this person is amazing in spite of. You know, the disability of having, you know, a learning disability or a social skills disability, you know, that's along this autism spectrum. So I think you guys, I think, you know, and I just wanna let you know we're right there.

We're right there with y'all too. And we just wanted to give you the backstory on, you know, on us a little bit on Mikey, for sure. And we'll just keep this thing going. So I wanna thank you for paying attention to this episode. And I look forward to talking to you guys here. Take care.

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