Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The EI (Early Intervention) stage equals Ground Zero. There is no where to go but up. We hope. This is a time when the child is labeled as a "Child with Delays."
The CPSE (Committee on Pre-School Special Education) Stage- The foundation has been laid by EI and Pre-School is giving the children there footing. It's at this age that we see the potential. We see the growth and personality. We see a child, not a baby. We see a "Child with a Disability."
Kindergarten-This signifies the moment when the paperwork changes, when the diagnosis becomes permanent. We feel the restriction of the label.
Calling the only Catholic Elementary School in with a Special Education program in Brooklyn, NY:
"What is the tuition for triplets entering Kindergarten?"
I hear a sharp intake of breathe. "Oh, bless you! Let me get the figures for you." I can almost hear the sound of cha-ching.
The woman on the phone fairly purred an amount that made my stomach twist. Not to be deterred, "I understand the school has a Special Education program. What are your capabilities?"
"What is the disability?"
"I'm sorry. We won't accept them. We can in no way give them the care that they need. The school is not equipped to handle that type of pers- that type of disability, a disability of that magnitude."
"What EXACTLY do you think they will need beyond normal education? They do not have cognitive delays."
"Well, they'll need speech. An interpreter, the teachers are not able to deal with children that don't speak and rock."
"My children are verbal. They do not rock uncontrollably. They like routine. One of them is not aware of danger, she'll have a para. Would you accept them if they all had a para?"
"No, I'm sorry. No. You can try this school. It's not Catholic but it's private. They are very elite and expensive. They may be willing to help. I'm sorry."
I dialed the number that she gave me.
"Can you tell me the cost of tuition for three children? And will you accept Autistics?"
"Yes of course. Is it just one child affected?"
"It's all three."
"Not a problem. The cost of education for one year is $45,000 without any of the additional fees, including that it will be about 48,000."
"Thank you. What are your class ratios?"
"All classes are 8:2:1."
"I'm sorry, I'm looking for 12:1:2 or 12:1:1 and Integrated 15. It's not a fit. Thank you for your help."
The label of Autism was suffocating me. We need to decide if we are going to try to get them reclassified.
We need to decide if we finally believe that these markers are always going to be here. We need to decide what is best for them-not what we want to see.
I am so disappointed that the Catholic schools here do not have Autistic programs. Our dream has always been to send our little ones to Catholic school in the little uniforms with the Barbie lunch boxes and book bags; to instill in them the faith that we have, to instill the values that we live at home.
I felt my eyes burning. "God, help me. I want them to have religion class every day. I want them to start and finish their school day with prayer. I want them know life like I did." Like I did-I stopped suddenly and picked up the phone.
I called the elementary school I went to, our parish school and shockingly the principal answered.
I explained what we were looking for and what we needed.
"Of course, we'll accept them. We will work with you on the IEP."
With a weight off my chest, I hung up and called the neurologist. It's time to re-evaluate. It's time to look into the neurologist's eyes and really hear her. Should they be reclassified or do we need to keep the designation of Autism? We're ready.
Things moved so quickly after that. I remember certain days with a clarity that is striking in the details and some days are a blur.
On December 25th, my husband and I woke up early to listen to his coworkers' children take over the air waves for the holidays. It was one of the nicest events of the year. Since our children had been born, we were waiting for the day that we could hear our little future DJs do their first break. We were able to appreciate it for about 25 minutes before the reality that our daughters, Bugabuga and the CEO, did not speak and very possibly may never speak. We held hands each time the mic was opened. Holding on for dear life. We needed to turn off the radio but we just couldn't take that step. Each word fell with the impact of a knife in the heart. We whispered to each other...next year, next year...they will talk next year...
The frenzy of doctor visits commenced. I had to check my notes to confirm that I was bringing the right child with me to correct appointment. January 15th, and a psychologist is meeting with me and the girls. Four hours later, the psychologist is gone and I'm making another call to my husband. "Honey! Autism, both of them." He had to do a break. I hung up and cried. Our three daughters had Autism. Where do we go from here?
I started picking therapists brains. We didn't know what they needed and we couldn't even say the word Autism. Denial and anger were a constant companion. How do you ask for help if you can't even admit what is wrong?
We needed everyone but we couldn't say a word. To admit that we were devastated was unacceptable but we expected everyone to know and support us. February 1st, we send our girls to a special Autistic Program -school- for the first time. We loaded them on the bus and got on it with them so they would be comfortable. The Baby looked curious and a bit scared. Bugabuga squeezed her eyes shut for the whole ride. She shook continuously. The CEO screamed and cried. We soothed and she screamed louder. We were sweating by the time the bus arrived at the school 20 minutes later. We helped the staff unload the kids and sat in the lobby. We listened to the girls scream for the entire two hours. We stood at their classroom door and saw the CEO slamming her little body against the floor and Bugabuga shaking in her seat. The Baby sat quietly with her chin resting against her chest. Tears were silently plopping onto her shirt. We could barely stand the pain that we heard. We held hands and ignored the tears in each other's eyes. We ignored the fact that my husband had lost his job that morning. We could do this.
April 9th, Handsome was diagnosed. This time my husband was home and we could deal with this together. We held each other tightly and started the process to get him help.
Our girls are finishing their program next week. They are graduating into preschool and they are doing wonderfully. Better than all the doctors expected. They can call me Mommy now and they have a nice little arsenal of vocabulary. We are so proud. They worked so hard to be able to get to this point.We worked so hard.
I was reading the initial intake paperwork recently and I was struck by the CEO's first goal. " X will show emotion and smile and laugh appropriately." I look at her now and watch her sing a Barbie song on the top of her lungs. Smiling and laughing, falling on the floor in a fit of giggles. We did it. They are going to be okay.
Monday, October 31, 2011
I see pictures of children in wheelchairs, breathing tubes, severe hypotonia. My heart clenches and I want to make things better. I want to reach out and just hug the parents that are in the pictures too. Sometimes smiling, sometimes caught in the moment of adjusting a child so that they look more comfortable, sometimes frowning and looking exhausted. My words of support fall far short.
"Whatever you need. I'm praying for you." Ever since my children have been born, I've become a watering pot. I will cry instantly when I perceive some one's pain. I saw a co-worker cry and tearfully said, "Why are we crying? What can I do?" She started laughing at the instantaneous tears streaming down my face.
I try to be so tough because we're dealing with a lot. There are times that it feels overwhelming to me. It's not that my children are low functioning, it's just the amount of children affected.
"Sit still. No rocking. Stop playing with your hair. No screaming! No hitting, no biting! Sit still. No rocking. Stop playing with your hair. No Screaming! Stop Screaming! Stop screaming! Why are you screaming? Why are you crying? Stop rocking. Stop rocking. Look at me. Look at me. STOP SCREAMING!!!!"
My life is filled with repetition. But it's filled with love too.
"Mommy, take a picture. I'm SMILING!"
"Mommy, I dancing. Oh, I'm a good dancer! Ha ha!"
"Mommy, uh, adaada, uh, dancing." "Say it again, I'm listening." "Mommy, you like dancing?"
"Mama! Dancing! Get down! Oh oh!"
The kids danced for an hour straight tonight. Laughing and giggling, falling over themselves, belly laughing and squealing with delight. We took pictures and recorded the moments, to be looked at randomly in the future.
I was able to relax and just laugh at their antics. I tried so hard to memorize what was happening and I'm writing it down now so that the feeling never slips away. It's so easy to remember the negative things, the memories are burned into my mind but these memories are the ones that I want to imprint into my mind.
Happiness is a choice.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
There are some illnesses that make a parent sad but don't shatter a home; like asthma. I think asthma can be frightening when you watch a person struggle to breathe. I think it can be frightening to struggle to breathe. I know it is because I'm a severe asthmatic.
I don't remember my mother crying randomly because of my asthma. I don't remember my mother worrying that I would make friends. Asthma is common. It's accepted. It's not autism. I hope autism will be more accepted as the diagnosis becomes more of a fact rather than the exception.
"Handsome, what's the matter? Use your words."
"Argh!" He yanks his hand free from me and I clamp on to his hand with my death grip.
"We never let go, NEVER! Hold hands!"
He's stuck. A kindly man gave him a balloon from his store. He wasn't expecting this. What if it flies away? He hates the feel of the ribbon on his skin. We're at an impasse.
"We need to keep walking if you want to go to the park. Come on, Handsome. You want to have fun, right?"
"Good! Let's go!"
We struggled continuously with the ribbon and the balloon until we reached the park. I was already tired and in pain. My hand never loosened its grip. I have severe carpal tunnel syndrome, a gift from my pregnancy with the girls. Maintaining that angle is excruciating but it's necessary.
I let go the instant we were safely in the playground. He ran from spot to spot, so excited to do everything but afraid to try anything. It was a nice moment to take a deep breathe...And then he began to tantrum.
He was laying on the floor screaming on the top of his lungs, thrashing his little body, so angry and frustrated.
"Tell me what you want to do."
"Argh! Argh! Argh!"
"Use your words. I don't understand you. I want to help you."
He begins to punch and kick me, grunting the whole time. I know EXACTLY what he wants. He wants to climb a part of the jungle gym that is more appropriate for an older kid. He doesn't understand that his little legs won't reach the next level. But even if they did, no way would I let him do that if he didn't verbalize his intent.
"I'm sorry. I'm confused. I don't know what you mean. What is ARGH?"
He points and says play.
"Play? That sounds wonderful. Let's do that, what do you want to do? I want to..."
"Say it again."
"I want to play!"
"Perfect! Let's go!"
He begins to climb a mountainous contraption, so large that I easily walk underneath it and place my hands up between the bars that he attempts to grip with his feet and when he misses, my hand bear his weight so that he does not fall through the bars. My heart is pounding but he makes it up to the top and smiles to himself. He made it.
The afternoon is filled with running and jumping, laughing and playing, ice cream and sprinklers. I see my husband beginning to unwind and I feel certain that the other shoe will drop. I can feel it in my bones.
"I want slide." Handsome runs up to the top of the steps, takes one look down the slide and throws his body backwards. My heart skips a beat. I can't reach him from there. Oh my God, there are kids coming up the stairs. Please God, no! Don't let anyone get hurt. Please!
I did the only thing I could do, I shriek, "Handsome! Oh God! Help me! Watch out! Move!"
I'm flying up the mountain that he painstakingly climbed; pushing children out of my way as I watch my son tumble down the steps and take out four kids in the process. He's never done this before; I hear the screams of pain and I'm stepping over each kid to get to my boy laying on top of a bigger boy. I reach down and see his laughing face. He not aware of the danger he was in. He's not aware of the injured kids. It's time to go home.
My hands are shaking as we grab a cab.
"Mommy, I don't want to go home." The CEO begins to scream. I hear the frantic note in her voice and I know that it's not a regular moment in time when a child wants to continue playing. It's a child that NEEDS to continue playing because we didn't count her down. We broke routine. Fuck. Not another one, not now. Handsome is rubbing his body against me seeking input. He's pulling at my arms to hug him and I'm looking into the CEO's eyes as they go blank and my heart squeezes. I've lost her.
She screams all the way home, rocking and slamming her body against me and Handsome. Pulling her hair and mine. I'm sweating as we herd them up the stairs. She's throwing herself to the ground. I can't do this right now, Handsome is trying to climb my body so that he can get input. I pick him up and squeeze. I feel him relax. He knows where he is now in space. I grab the other girls as I leave my husband to deal with the CEO's meltdown.
My husband leaves for work an hour later at 6:00pm. She's still screaming.
It's 2:30 in the morning and I hear Handsome scream because of his night terrors. I jump out of bed to reach him before he can wake up the others. I slowly calm him down using deep pressure techniques.
The clock reads 3:49 and I finally feel myself falling asleep.
The radio blares at 6 am. It's time to get the kids ready for school. I stumble around and all is running well.
"Bugabuga, can you get the wipes?" My husband innocently asks.
She waddles into the next room and just stands there.
"Bugabuga! Bugabuga!" No response. "CEO go help your sister."
She walks into the room and grabs the wipes out of her hands. Bugabuga begins to cry. We have to start over. We cannot move on until she repeats the routine and completes it.
We're running late. Bugabuga is not speaking, but rather making mewing noises.
"Let's go! I have to go to work. Come on guys! Let's get your socks and shoes on. Get your shoes."
I reach over to grab Bugabuga's shoes and pass them to her. She couldn't reach them. All hell breaks loose. She throws the shoes at my face and throws herself on the floor. "No, I do it!"
She's in a full tantrum. The bus should be here any minute.
"I need to get your shoes on. Let's go!"
"No! No! No!"
I struggle to get her socks and shoes on. She tears them off as soon as I let go of her feet. I step away and let my husband jump in. We have an agreement. We will never let them do something that will impede their ability to function as an adult. In this instance, I feel that we should not let her start her routine over. She'll miss the bus and she will not always be able to restart. She needs to learn that sometimes she just needs to keep going. Life is not perfect. I watch my husband redirecting her. She's fighting us.
"I'm going to let her do it."
"No, we have to be consistent."
"She has to get the bus." We rarely disagree and I throw up my hands. I know where he's coming from but I know the end result. She'll get her way and I'll be the asshole while he's the hero.
After less than two hours of sleep, I'm not happy.
I head back into the shower because I've sweat so much that I need to change my clothes.
I feel so alone. Broken and beaten. Maybe I'm doing this wrong. Maybe I need to let them run right over me. Why the hell am I always choosing the fight rather than the easy road? I want the fucking easy route!
The bus is late. I'm dressed and ready to go. I kiss and hug everyone good bye. I struggle to keep my emotions in check. I hold my husband a bit tighter. He's my strength when I'm weak. It's been a rough 24 hours. Time to put on my happy face.
The train ride does nothing to calm me down. I'm so upset. I want to cry but I can never let go of my control. I sit down at my desk. Put my headphones on at the loudest volume, stare down at the numbers and close out the world for a few hours. I pour my heart into the numbers.
Sometimes that's enough.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I watch the mother stand outside the fence watching her child sitting alone and I see the desperation in her eyes. The pain is obvious and I wonder if that's what I look like when I look at my kids playing alone in a crowded room.
My kids don't like loud noises. Overall, I think our home is fairly quiet for a house with four children. It's almost like the lack of speech is a weighty silence that is taking years to get break through. I think of the natural ebb and flow of sound that was part of my home before my children were born. Each room held a radio playing a different station, our love of music and radio in general apparent. A conversation that would mutually pause to listen to a perfect radio break was a common occurrence.
And then Bugabuga didn't start talking...
The speech therapist recommended that we turn off the radios. She felt that it could cause auditory confusion. My husband wanted to turn the radios off instantly but I couldn't bare it and I slowly turned one radio off at a time. The silence was deafening. There was no babbling and giggling. There was nothing except the sound of my voice-constantly. And when my voice was silenced from overuse, the only noise was a small mobile that was the only toy that was quiet enough that it didn't make them cry.
I close my eyes some days and remember the absolute terror that I lived with worrying that my babies would not speak. I relive the hours of the CEO flinging her body against the wall and the feeling of helplessness. I think back on the conversations that I had with Baby and being so proud that she spoke so well. The memory of a speech evaluator telling me that she had no purposeful speech but was actually echolalic and the devastation that followed knowing that all of my children were on the spectrum.
As I watched the mother on Parenthood express her fear of pushing her son into mainstreaming, I am struck frozen with the decision that is looming in front of us. Are we going to do it at the right time? Can we tackle all of their needs in one school or are we going to have to split them up again? Is Handsome going to go to school with Bugabuga and CEO or will we luck out and get a spot with Baby? If we don't get that spot, will Baby be okay being separated from her siblings? I don't want her to feel alienated from them because she is higher functioning. My motherly instinct tells me to keep them together but then I look at each child and I know that we have to do what's right, not what's comfortable.
Bugabuga is in a new class. The demands are greater and they are rattling her. Her speech is diminished and her markers are harder. It was the same way last year but she was able to pick herself up and excel. CEO has been placed in a higher class. Her beloved Miss Sylvia is in a different building and I know that she misses her. I know that she has a hard time dealing with the change and I know that whereas Bugabuga acts babyish to deal, CEO rages and becomes violent. I know that she cannot help herself and I pray every moment that she will adapt or be knocked back down to a smaller class. Baby gets weepy and sits quietly introverted. It's only been a week that they have been back to school but I am counting the moments until they find their way again.
I sit here with a hoarse voice, looking at Bugabuga asleep on the couch. She fell asleep talking to me and listening to me talk for hours. When I came home from work, she was mostly nonverbal. I can't lose her. So we went back to basics.
"Can you say Mama?"
"I know you can speak. I don't understand what you are saying. Speak!"
"I'll tel you a story. There once was a Mommy and Daddy that had a Bugabuga. What did we have?"
"We had a Bugabugabugaubugabugabugabugabugabuga!" I hold her little hand to my lips to feel the vibration. "Come on, baby girl. What does Mommy and Daddy have?"
"That's right! Bugabuga! That's you! Say it again."
"What's my name?"
"Mama! Silly goose."
"I am a silly goose! Now tell me about your day."
"I singed. I colored and danced! Ohh, it was fun, Mom! It was fun. Miss Carol is my friend. Krystal held my hand. I played on the bike. I jumped up and down and I did a circle!"
"That sounds wonderful! I love to hear your stories. Keep using your words, okay?"
"Come on, Mom. Come on, you silly goose." Her eyes lock onto mine and I know that she's okay.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
We went to the Central Park Zoo today.
I've been on vacation all week and have taken the family to a variety of places so that we can make memories with each other.
I have broken their routine.
"Okay guys, let's take the train. Who's ready?"
"Choo Choo train?" Handsome asks.
"Come on, Mom. Come on! We go to the zoo and animals and the train. We're going to have a great time. I see animals and fishes. Fishes, ooooohhhh, I'm gonna have fun, Mom." Bugabuga's mono tonal monologue begins.
We being walking down the block and the CEO jerks her hand away from me and takes off running. My heart is my mouth. I reach to grab her. Oh God, please don't run into the street. Please. She's just out of reach; she moves so quickly. She has no limitations physically but Bugabuga is holding my other hand and she cannot run. She won't let go because she's listening to my request to hold hands. I tear my hand away while lifting my leg to steady her and extend my body to grab the CEO. She's still moving and I take off. I grab her hand.
"I don't like you Mommy."
"I know, but I love you anyway. Don't let go of my hand again." Oh please, don't let this be a sign. Please, let me have a good day with them. I need this to be a good day-too many memories are chasing me today. It has to be a good day.
We're on the train and the kids are in high spirits. The CEO and Baby are hugging and laughing. The CEO randomly starts crying. The intensity is startling and people on the train are doing the polite look out of the corner of their eyes.
"You're okay. You're okay. Let's play a game. I spy, with my eyes..."
"I don't like you MOMMY. I want DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!"
"I know, but I love you anyway. Go sit with your father. Switch out." We always have two kids per parent. That parent is responsible for them only. We adjust our seating to work with the new responsibilities. She smiles and cuddles against her dad. The joy in her face is difficult for me to see. She doesn't have a filter and I know that I'm inciting rage in her today. My heart hurts and I want to cry but instead I smile and sing a song with Baby and Bugabuga.
"Mommy, mommy, mommy! I need mommy! MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!" A struggle breaks out on my husband's side of the train. Handsome is refusing to stay in his seat. I make eye contact with my husband, "You okay?"
"I've got it. Sit down, Handsome!"
"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"
"You want Mommy, fine! Switch out!"
The ride continues in the same vain for the duration of the ride. I'm tired before we even enter the Zoo. Please let it be a good day.
We step off the train holding hands and the CEO jerks away this time from my husband. Oh, fuck no. We jump instantaneously my hands filled and I grip one hand while holding Bugabuga's hand at the same time while my husband grabs the other hand. We stand huddled together. Our breathing shallow and terrified. We regain our composure and walk away. The CEO is having a rough day today. She'll be better once we get to the zoo.
We walk the three blocks and the kids are laughing and looking forward to the animals. We walk in and they are so excited! They are smiling and dancing. Running from exhibit to exhibit, taking pictures and squealing in delight. Bugabuga almost stepped on a worm and we all squatted down to watch the worm hurry away.
"Sorry worm. Oops! Sorry worm."
Their expressions were filled with curiosity. It was relaxing. We all started laughing and enjoying the day. It will be a good day.
We visited a 4D movie featuring Dora and Diego. Bubbles, snow and water were involved. It was so much fun and they, of course, saved the rain forest.
We sat for lunch. The kids could barely focus enough to eat. We struggled to get them to eat. It's always a struggle. I felt so sad. They were talking to each other but not following our lead. They needed to eat. I looked away and I wiped at my eyes. I cannot cry in public. I will not cry. My eyes locked with a man sitting across the way and I saw the compassion. I swallowed and wiped a lone tear and refocused my efforts. They ate lunch. The day was really shaping up to be stellar.
We feed the animals in the Children's Zoo. Bugabuga was so upset that we could not feed the ducks. "They hungry too!"
We cajoled and distracted. We made it out of the park after only another meltdown from the CEO. We walked around to different stores and left each store as the hyperactivity impeded our progress. The kids were smiling and laughing. It's a good day.
The CEO was showing fatigue. It was time to go. We couldn't find a cab willing to take us home. Finally, a kind cab driver took us in even though the CEO was screaming and crying. She cried for at least 20 minutes of the 40 minute ride. My nerves were frayed. I called my parents.
My family was standing outside ready to grab a kid as I passed them out of the car. They had them calm by the time I finished paying the driver.
My mother feed us dinner and I watched them equalize. My shoulders relaxed and I saw how they happily explained their day. They had a fantastic day.
I could write this in a few weeks with my rose-colored glasses on but I won't because ultimately it was a great day.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
It's terrible. I have the face of someone that wants to hear every one's problems. I meet random strangers and I get their life story. And here's the thing, it's like people can tell that I will not stop them, that I will listen and take their pain with them. But honestly, please shut up!
I hear all these different stories about life gone wrong and never fail, I have at least one person a week tear up when talking to me. I feel like there is a neon sign above my head, "Talk here. You'll feel better, she'll feel worse but never mind that."
It's always been this way and I have a feeling that it will always be this way.
I deal with it and make jokes to avoid getting swallowed in all the pain that everyone deals with. And then I started to think about it, why does every one's life seem to suck?
That's the thing, it doesn't suck. It's about the perspective of your life. I think that's why I'm so content in my life without the help of happy pills. I hear people say, "It can't get much worse." and I want to spill coffee on them. It would be worse. LOL.
Maybe it's that I have walked through a road with so many possible potholes that I've realized that rough road is not a bad thing really because you're still on a road. And if even you fall off of the path that you expected to travel, you can just be taking the scenic route of life.
I'm always positive, not because I'm unrealistic but because I'm optimistic. I'm a daredevil waiting for the next loop in the roller coaster-because if you are afraid of the loops, you'll miss out on all the views.
Maybe that's why I listen to every stranger and friend because I know that I can always find the positive and make things seem a little more bearable.
When all else fails, I say, "I understand. I have four children with Autism." Most people will become quiet, they cannot imagine how difficult it is-how much it must suck. It gives them a different perspective when looking at their life.
They are wrong-of course. My kids are wonderful and amazing and our days are filled with laughter. I may be seen as a strong woman DEALING with this life but I'm not, I'm just a wife and a mother living-it's what makes my life so grand.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I wanted children for a long time-wait, let me clarify, I didn't just want children-I wanted to have my husband's children. I had dreams of frills and trucks and all the good times in between. I had expectations...
"We're having a party!"
"Are you a party girl?" I asked Bugabuga.
"Oh yes, Mom. I'm a party ANIMAL!"
"You go girl! Par-TAY!"
"Dad, I'm a party girl too!" Baby chimes in, my husband looks shaken. It's begun.
"Me too! I'm a party princess!" The CEO jumps in.
"Par-TAY! Par-TAY!" Handsome is jumping around dancing.
My husband and I stand shoulder to shoulder (alright, shoulder to abdomen but you get the idea) watching the kids throw a party and do pretend play. When one falters, another picks it up. They are laughing, dancing and just having a great time. I see my little guy fitting in and hamming it up. This is what I wanted. This is what I dreamed of all those years ago.
And now as they sleep, I close my eyes and see their little smiles and hear their giggles. I tear up.
They are everything beyond my wildest dreams.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"Jump like a frog." Good.
"Run like a pony." I heard a cry. I know it's one of mine.
"I fell down!" Bugabuga exclaimed.
"it's okay girl. You're okay." Baby patted her back.
"Awwww. You okay?" the CEO asked.
"I fell down!"
Miss Ana quietly looked at the dynamic between the girls as I silently watched her to see her reaction.
I'm hoping that she doesn't coddle her. There is a fine line between supporting and coddling. Please don't coddle.
"Everyone falls. I fall sometimes. You have to get right back up and keep dancing. No matter how hard you fall, it's part of your dance. Never stop dancing!"
Friday, July 22, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Data & Statistics
- It is estimated that between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD. [Read article]
- ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, yet are on average 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. However, we need more information on some less studied populations and regions around the world. [Read article]
- If 4 million children are born in the United States every year, approximately 36,500 children will eventually be diagnosed with an ASD. Assuming the prevalence rate has been constant over the past two decades, we can estimate that about 730,000 individuals between the ages of 0 to 21 have an ASD.
- Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an approximate prevalence of 0.6% to over 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%. [Data table ]
- Approximately 13% of children have a developmental disability, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism. [Read article]
- Studies have shown that among identical twins, if one child has an ASD, then the other will be affected about 60-96% of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has an ASD, then the other is affected about 0-24% of the time. 
- Parents who have a child with an ASD have a 2%–8% chance of having a second child who is also affected. 
- It is estimated that about 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic, neurologic or metabolic disorder, such as fragile X or Down syndrome. As we learn more about genetics, the number of children with an ASD and an identifiable genetic condition will likely increase. [Read summary] [Read summary]
- A report published by CDC in 2009, shows that 30-51% (41% on average) of the children who had an ASD also had an Intellectual Disability (intelligence quotient <=70). [Read article]
Intelligence quotient (IQ) of children aged 8 years with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for whom psychometric test data were available,* by site and sex (IQ) score-Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2006[D]
- Studies show that 5% of people with an ASD are affected by fragile X and 10% to 15% of those with fragile X show autistic traits. [Read summary]
- One to four percent of people with ASD also have tuberous sclerosis. [Read summary]
- About 40% of children with an ASD do not talk at all. Another 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others may speak, but not until later in childhood. 
- The median age of earliest ASD diagnosis is between 4.5 and 5.5 years, but for 51–91 percent of children with an ASD, developmental concerns had been recorded before three years of age. [Read article]
- Studies have shown that about one third of parents of children with an ASD noticed a problem before their child’s first birthday, and 80% saw problems by 24 months. [Read summary]
- Research has shown that a diagnosis of autism at age 2 can be reliable, valid, and stable.  But despite evidence that ASDs can often be identified at around 18 months, many children do not receive final diagnoses until they are much older. [Read article]
- Recent studies have estimated that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with an ASD is $3.2 million. [Read article]
- Individuals with an ASD had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without an ASD by $4,110–$6,200 per year. On average, medical expenditures for individuals with an ASD were 4.1–6.2 times greater than for those without an ASD. Differences in median expenditures ranged from $2,240 to $3,360 per year with median expenditures 8.4–9.5 times greater. [Read summary]
- Boyle C, Van Naarden Braun K, Yeargin-Allsopp M. The Prevalence and the Genetic Epidemiology of Developmental Disabilities. In: Genetics of Developmental Disabilities. Merlin Butler and John Meany eds. 2005.
- Johnson, C.P. Early Clinical Characteristics of Children with Autism. In: Gupta, V.B. ed: Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Children. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2004:85-123.