I am pretty sure there was no episode of "The Wonder Years" in which Norma and Jack were faced with the challenge of finding out why Wayne behaved the way he did. If I did miss that episode, please let me know where I can find it.
If you know me on Facebook, you may recall that I posted a vague status update a few weeks ago about not being able to spend as much time doing silly facebooking and not caring about fitting in with the scenesters. I realize that for some it was a little confusing. I'm sure some thought there were troubles in the Termini marriage (there are not, actually heading into our 9th year of marriage, things couldn't be better) or that I couldn't handle being pregnant and taking care of my two year old twin boys at the same time. Whatever the talk was, I want to clear up any misconceptions.
Over the past four months my twins have been receiving in home early intervention services for speech and behavior. Around Christmas I started getting worried about the very few words that the boys were using, and at the urging of my sister went forward with having the boys tested for developmental delays and speech delay. They were tested and qualified for the services based on the test results. Needless to say we were a little disheartened to learn that our boys needed some help, but really, when you suspect something is off about your kids, you should immediately find out what you can do to make things better. To me, that is your only duty once you have kids-MAKE SURE THEY ARE OKAY ALL THE TIME.
Some of the things that made me think there was an issue other than just, "Geeze, Marcella's kids are out of control!" were both boys aversion to loud noises, the inability or lack of asking for what they needed, and their attachment to certain toys over people or situations. Also specifically with one of the twins; head hitting when angry, constantly screaming, and a lot of anxiety over new situations.
After just a few weeks of therapy, both boys had increased their language by 75% and their behavior had improved tremendously. We were not out of the woods however. At age3, the early intervention services end, and to qualify for further services through our city the boys needed to be tested for Autism. This test happened about two weeks ago.
Much to our sadness, both boys were diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. Each boy has totally different diagnoses. We were told that they fall on the extreme high functioning end of the spectrum, and that in the past, they'd have not been diagnosed as such. I'm not holding onto titles, or wallowing in the diagnosis however. Jay and I have entirely devoted ourselves to getting them the help that is needed to hopefully move past the diagnosis in the future and really help the boys to thrive and live completely productive lives.
The first step is to get more in home services for the boys before they turn three. At age three the school district is required to step in. This should be happening within the next week or so. We couldn't be happier about it, the boys love their one hour of "school" on Tuesdays, so a few more hours a week is just going to be fabulous.
The next step is getting them into an Autism specific preschool environment. Tomorrow we meet with our local school district to have the boys evaluated to see where they will be going in the fall. This is exciting and frightening at the same time. I can not imagine that my little chickens are ready to board a little bus and go to the "big kids school", but I also can not imagine what would happen if they were not going to get the specific help that they need. I often run into parents who are in complete denial that there is something wrong with their kids, and it pains me to think of being that way with my own kids. I may be vain when it comes to being embarrassed about not wearing make up to the grocery store or having shoes that don't match my purse, but when it comes to my children, I have no embarrassment about getting them all of the help that they need.
I hope that I've shed some light on things for anyone who I was not able to personally talk to about this. I look forward to hearing from anyone with REAL experience in this area, or if you know of certain groups that would be ideal to join or talk with.
Some recommended reading: Autism Speaks