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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Special Kids with Special Needs

At my first check up during my third pregnancy, my doctor offered an ultrasound. I agreed, excited at the prospect of seeing my new baby for the first time. Well, when the doctor swiveled around and wielded what looked like a small rocket launcher for a doppler, I knew my life was about to change.
Our first glimpse was beautiful, of course. Then the doctor asked me, How's your heart? I don't mind telling you, I knew right then and there he could not see my heart with that thing! So, I asked him, why? And he said, Because there's two!!

Well, I had been right. The adventures have not slowed since. At eighteen months it was very clear my boys had their own twin language. this language overrode their normal speech development--well, that and their two interpreters (read: big sisters). At four years of age, we had them tested and discovered a two year speech delay. Off the boys went to a preschool program for children with disabilities (PPCD). By the middle of their second year in this program, we were experiencing more turbulence than we could have ever anticipated. And trust me--with two boys coming in direct succession after two girls, we thought we were prepared.

Ryan suddenly had violent-aggressive meltdowns in class. Reagan was mostly sucking his thumb and hiding under tables when he was mad. As a psychology major I recognized some earmarks of Asperger's syndrome--yet, the boys had no problems with social interaction (um...when they weren't angry LOL). To make a long journey short, just today we met with the school team to consider placing the boys back into the mainstream schools in the hopes of getting them on track with their speech, their coping skills (yes, really!), and academia.

Part of me feels like a bad mother. Why haven't I done more? What could I have done to prevent this from happening (nothing!!)? Wouldn't a good mother "tough it out" and work through all the issues?

Well, I've come to realize that while God has definitely gifted me with a special way of working with children, there is a limit to my expertise. I realize there are advocates out there for both sides of this issue--and that is not my intent here. My intent is to realize that at times, we have limits. Without the ability to recongize those limits, we may end up in a heap of trouble. We must also examine what God asks of us, and then once we know that truth, we must offer absolute surrender to His will. That's not easy. But it is vital to a fulfilled life. God knows what's best for my children. If I trust him, then I know that my family will make it.


Honey said...

Thank you so much for sharing. My 3 1/2 year old is possibly somewhere on the spectrum, and I'm always encouraged and interested to hear other stories. Do you believe your boys do have Aspergers even though they have social skills or is it possibly something else? What a blessing they have you for a mom with your background! A lot of specialists and parents we've met joke that most people are "somewhere on the spectrum" if you think about it. Even ADD and Dyslexia are now considered to be related.

Gina said...

My most docile son becomes Mr. Hyde when he is angry. The first time he transformed at age 3 really spooked me. But I'm learning to see the signs.

I have another son who gets irrational when his blood sugar is low. He'll flat out refuse to do something even if it's in his best interest. As soon as I get food in him, he'll become his normal good natured self and apologize for his behavior.

I think all kids can be "labled" something, but as long as we know where to find help and WHO to go to in times of trouble, I think our kids will turn out fine, despite our parenting.:)

:-)Ronie said...

Honey, yes I've heard that phrase too. One of my twins was officially diagnosed with ADHD in the last month--this *is* considered to be on the spectrum, as you noted. Whether or not the other is on the spectrum, I don't know. However, I use the methods that are employed for ASD children, and that has helped us tremendously to teach him how to manage himself and also concentrate on the positive.

You're exactly right, Gina. With God for me...all things are possible! He is the one who ordered my life such that I would have the skills necessary to survive to this point. I give HIM all the glory!!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hey Ronie-girl! Great post. I've seen and heard this lady in action, folks, and she is a GREAT mom. Honey is right, her kids are blessed to have her as a mom. And I'm blessed to know her too!

L. Harris said...

What beautiful boys and a very touching post, Ronie! I have no doubt that God placed those two special children in your home for a very special reason.

Be blessed today!