Ok, brace yourself. This may be a novel-length post since I'm attempting to cover, oh, say, about 3 years worth of time. I'll try to break it up in a few posts... Let's just see where this first post leads us.
Anyways, those are some of the topics we brought up when discussing Ryan with the pediatrician. Short version is Ryan does fall on the spectrum and has since been diagnosed with autism. He still has his diagnosis of sensory processing disorder as well. The diagnosis is fairly recent and we are starting occupational therapy, speech therapy, ABA, and we still have some educational testing to do with the psychologist. We want to also see a dietician for help regarding his diet but the doc says that referral will come from the OT (so we will see if it happens).
Let me start off with my justification in starting up this blog again after so much time has passed. We recently went back to kaiser to get Ryan reassessed. As his parents, we started noticing some behavioral patterns that didn't seem... Normal. Here are just a few of those behaviors...
About 6-8 months prior to this post we went camping. Ever since the trip Ryan refuses to go potty alone. He says he is scared. No, nothing happened on our trip that would unquestionably justify this new pattern, but, like you probably are thinking now, we figured it was temporary. Well it's not. But that alone didn't cause too much concern.
Ryan also still prefers to play alone or with younger kids. He gets bossed around and bullied among kids his age and older. The other kids have a hard time understanding him and he doesn't really understand what they want from him. Not diagnosis worthy, I know, but still bummed us out.
He is a very picky eater and has a strong (if not adamant) approach to what he does eat. For example, he only wants green apples, and if there's a blemish on the apple I have to remove it. He needs it cored and God help you if there is any remnant of the core left! Ok, I know what you're thinking, so - he's picky - all kids have their preferences, right? Well, just last night, in my attempt to be sneaky and challenge him with his diet, I made spaghetti. Now Ryan only likes the noodles and the crap Parmesan cheese on his plate. I made spaghetti squash to help boost his veggie intake and to hide that the noodles weren't noodles I mixed the sauce and turkey meat with the squash. I covered his portion with real cheese to help entice him. Well, he refused to eat it and went to bed without eating anything (not because we made him but because he refused to eat - like it was the principal of the matter). Ok, so you may be thinking "well, he's just strong willed" or "well you need to make him eat" or maybe even "serves him right"... Either way, as a parent it's a distressing situation to have your underweight 7 year old refuse to eat!
Another behavioral pattern that has surfaced in a strong way is his obsessive nature to certain random things. My husband and I originally thought this was cute, thinking "oh awesome, Ryan is finally into something versus being aloof and disconnected"... However what he gets obsessed about are traffic lights and signs, specific salt water fish, and pigs. Now every child has preferences but Ryan will draw images from the above listed groups and they had to be perfect or he was pissed. He draws the same items over and over and over. There's a whole rain forest worth of crumpled paper and pieces of broken pencils when he finally throws himself on the floor in frustration - always after getting in my face begging for help with accuracy in his drawings (which I never produced well enough because he still crumpled up my attempt and desperately requested my help immediately following).
My reasons for starting back up on this blog are many. Mostly to track Ryan's journey and to hopefully inspire and encourage other moms out there who are being raised by a special needs kid!
I guess that's enough for now despite the fact I have so much more to write about!!! In the meantime, I'll leave you with this- Ryan is loving being a big brother to our new arrival - little Levi!!