Finding My Tribe – Perspectives of a First Generation Homeschooler

15941230_10103909128861605_3809756327423390882_nI was traditionally educated my whole life. I went through public school, to college, and on to law school with success. Homeschooling was not something I was even aware of until 5th grade, when the local homeschooled kids came in to do state testing with us. Homeschooling was not originally a consideration for my family for many reasons.

When my boys came along, I initially didn’t even think about school, but with my oldest having special needs, my focus was quickly shifted that direction. By age two, I was in discussions with our local school system about what I planned to do with him and his education, because in our state, kids with special needs are allowed to enter the school system at age three to get the extra help and services they might need.

Homeschooling had crossed my mind, but wasn’t something I had fully taken hold of, and in fact, I didn’t fully accept that I was going to homeschool my kids until just months before I actually started to do so. Homeschooling scared me. I knew nothing to very little about it. I wasn’t sure I could do enough or be enough for my kids. I struggled so much with self-doubt that I talked myself out of homeschooling at least a dozen times. I thought of a million reasons why I shouldn’t homeschool.

Then came a voice of reason, a God-send, if you will. I met a lady at my church whose kids befriended mine, and low and behold, she homeschooled. She herself was also homeschooled. I looked up to her as a homeschool guru (and she is!) and took the opportunity of our newfound friendship to inundate her with my questions. For probably a year I would throw my questions at her, my self-doubts, and my lack of experience, and for a year, she had an answer for every question I asked.

When I finally bit the bullet so to speak and made the decision to homeschool, there was an instant feeling of relief… and panic. All my self-doubt was still there, yet maybe quieter. Just making the decision itself was a huge step, but figuring out what my next move would be was just as intimidating.

Enter Honeybee Christian Co-op. My homeschool guru friend had invited to me check out her co-op, and by all the bragging she did, I figured I had to at least take a look. The fact that it was special needs inclusive made me a bit giddy, to be honest.

I came to some initial interest meetings, met some of the moms, and realized that I had stumbled upon something special.  Really though, I think it was less stumbling and more a directed path. Our school year began and within weeks I began to see my children growing socially, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. I could also see myself growing. That voice of self-doubt began to shrink more and more. On days that I was down or stressed, I would reach out to other co-op mamas and they threw encouragement and support at me like confetti.

Within the first few months, I knew I had found my tribe. The kids were all so sweet and kind to my special needs oldest son. Early in the school year, I witnessed them trying to figure out who was going to help him to class one day. They all wanted to help! The moms were all amazing teachers, as well. My boys were getting amazing, quality lessons on top of time to socialize and make friends. Not only were the moms all amazing teachers, they are all amazing friends. I can’t even remember how many times in the last year that they have reminded me that I am enough for my kids. Our monthly “Mom’s Night Out” is always something I look forward to because, while the guacamole is great, the people I share it with are even better! Finding our tribe really was the best possible thing that happened to our family this school year.

We recently wrapped up our very first year of homeschooling and I must say, it was a huge success. Even more so than I expected. Homeschooling a child with significant disabilities and challenges seemed daunting, but knowing that I had the moms at Honeybee Christian Co-op standing behind me was the key that unlocked our door to success.  We could not have done it without the support and love that was showered on us through our co-op. Feeling encouraged, supported, and uplifted gave us momentum on the good days. Having someone to fall back on made the hard days bearable.

Coming from a public school experience and bringing my kids into a homeschool experience has been a huge shift for me. It has pushed me past my comfort zone in all the best ways. So, to any moms out there who are ready to begin homeschooling, my biggest piece of advice for you is this: Find your tribe. It will make all the difference!

– Lacey

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Autism Awareness Day

29939343_10101318383062098_1400571782_nI knew I wanted to write a post for Autism Awareness day, but I had no clue what direction I wanted to take. While autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a spectrum, so too are my thoughts and emotions when I reflect on our journey with it. When reading Sarah’s beautiful series on Down Syndrome, I had a moment of pause. My thoughts on ASD are not nearly as pretty, so if you’re looking for uplifting sunshine, you might just go read her posts instead. That’s not to say there isn’t happiness in what I’m about to say, but it’s more in the form of a rainbow, which comes after a storm. Let’s get to it.

Here’s what autism was/is for my family…

– Autism is your child learning to speak in a therapist’s office after a year of twice-a-week speech appointments. Followed by 6 months of just echolalia (simply repeating what he hears). Followed by even more speech therapy.

-Autism is meltdown after meltdown over any number of things. (When I say meltdown, I’m talking 40 mins of screaming, crying, thrashing, hitting, biting, etc. that can happen anywhere at any moment, for example the grocery store checkout.)

-Autism is practicing everything. Every possible situation. (ex, watching someone else open presents for a birthday party, leaving a playground, how to introduce yourself, how to have a back and forth conversation, family gatherings.)

-Autism is pushing your child outside of his box even though it makes you just as nervous as it does him.

-Autism is watching your child struggle through things other kids pick up instantly and watching him practice twice as hard.

-Autism is LOATHING meal time because you child doesn’t eat anything. (Started as sensory aversion, but at this point it is definitely behavioral.)

-Autism is living in anxiety while you watch your second child develop. Waiting to see if you are going to go down that path…. Again.

-Autism is apologizing for your child’s behavior, again, when you get those stares in public…. And occasionally from family.

-Autism is turning down invitations because the environment isn’t a place where your child would thrive. Canceling last minute because your child is having an off day. Leaving early to avoid making a scene.

-Autism is going over the budget, again, trying to figure out how to afford Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Extracurriculars, and living expenses…. For possibly 2 children instead of one.

Then again….

-Autism is REJOICING over the moment when your child said his first thought (not echolalia, not a repeated phrase he learned), and you still remember it 2 years later (“Dad, I like your hair cut”).

-Autism is CONQUERING meltdown after meltdown, finding ways to help your child cope with the world around him. (And perfecting that hold that gives your child the input needed to help him calm quicker.)

-Autism is LEARNING how to tap in to your child’s amazingly unique brain and help him develop, and learning to appreciate his obsessions and passions (presidents, specifically Abraham Lincoln).

-Autism is GROWING through the struggles, checking off goals one by one!

-Autism is APPRECIATING the little things and big moments. Like how God provides month after month to help keep those supports in place.

-Autism is ACCEPTING your child with all his strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, and teaching everyone about ASD to help them accept others as well.

-Autism is LOVING through the puzzle that is ASD. Loving the extra time you get to spend with your children. Loving the extra hugs and snuggles they want for sensory input. Loving their lack of filter in the most inappropriate moments. Loving the moments of random eye contact.

Autism and I definitely have a love-hate relationship. Some days I can appreciate all the things I listed, but then other mornings I have lots of dark and twisty thoughts about how life isn’t fair. These thoughts have been intensified lately as we are possibly going down this road again with my daughter. Won’t you join me in praying for them and all families affected by autism?

– Valerie

What March 21st Means to Me (2018)

28945247_520592162830_405684227_oThis World Down Syndrome Day, our Luke is 5 years old! The past couple of years have been both challenging and rewarding. In my experience, ages 4-5 are the “terrible twos of Down syndrome.” This child is into everything! Teaching boundaries has been tough, and to make the job tougher, Luke is bigger, stronger, and more experienced than any typical 2-year-old, which means he can get into that much more trouble. We’ve had to take “baby-proofing” to an advanced level with this one.

But there is always progress! It’s slow progress, but he is surely maturing and learning and growing. Most helpful is his newfound use of consistent language. It has improved by leaps and bounds this past year! We can now ask him questions. He verbalizes many of his needs. He uses our names. He tells us he loves us. We still have a long way to go to be fully able to communicate verbally, but what a blessing this growth has been! To be able to hear some of what is on his little mind has been an answer to prayer and a wish come true. I can’t wait for him to learn more so we, in turn, can learn more too.

When you learn that your child has a disability, I think most parents anticipate the challenges. I know I did. I worried and wondered (and still do sometimes). I expected that some things would be harder because of it. But what I didn’t expect were the blessings. Of course I knew that Luke himself was a blessing, but I had no idea that his diagnosis of Trisomy 21-Down syndrome would open so many opportunities and connect us with so many people. These are people I would not have met and groups I would not be a part of otherwise!

Take, for example, our homeschool co-op. I chose it specifically because it is special-needs inclusive. Knowing that all of my kids could attend and learn and make friends is what drew me to it. And what a blessing it has been for us! We’ve all formed wonderful friendships and received love and support that we likely would have missed out on had it not been for Luke and his needs. It’s amazing how God plans and lays out our path for us.

Equally amazing to me is how positively having Luke’s needs have affected our other kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of challenges there too, but not in the ways I initially worried. I worried about jealousy or others feeling left out or not understanding why he is sometimes treated differently or given extra attention. But having a sibling with special needs has only increased their awareness and acceptance of others with differences. It’s given them a comfort level well beyond any I ever had as a kid. As our circle of friends has grown to include more and more families with kids who have varying needs, I witness time and time again how loving, compassionate, and understanding my own kids are. And I feel like I can’t take credit for that. They’ve learned something well beyond what I could teach them. God is teaching them bigger things through their brother with Down syndrome.

Lately I’ve been hearing other parents of kids with Down syndrome refer to us as “The Lucky Few.” They’re using a symbol of three small aligned arrows to represent the third copy of the chromosome and to also represent the strength that we find when we are pulled back even farther than we think we can handle. 1 in 700. Approximately 1 in 700 babies in the US is born with Down syndrome. Hitting that jackpot was not something I ever anticipated, and I can most certainly feel myself being stretched and challenged on a daily basis by this 5-year-old in his “terrible twos,” but they’re absolutely right in comparing it to an arrow on a bow string. The further you allow yourself to get stretched and pulled back, the stronger you become and the farther you can fly. With each obstacle that we overcome together with Luke as a parent, a sibling, a family, we grow that much stronger. We need him more than he needs us-in so many ways this is true. Not just for our family, but for the world. The world needs people with Down syndrome and all other varying abilities so God can teach us the bigger lessons. So in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day this year, I will continue my attempts to “advance baby proof” to teach Luke his boundaries. I will continue to try to allow myself to be stretched beyond what I think I can do in order to meet his needs. And I will leave the rest to Luke and let him continue to teach us the bigger, more important lessons-the ones God knows our world needs. That’s what this March 21st means to me.

– Sarah

(Click here for the posts from 2014 and 2016.)

 

World Down Syndrome Day (2016)

28945422_520541234890_994591471_oThis year, March 21st finds our little guy at three years old. And it finds our family with a little more knowledge, a little more experience, and always so much to learn.

What has it meant to live with someone with Down syndrome this past year?

It has meant appreciating the village. The village of support we have is beyond what I ever could have dreamed. From his teachers and therapists to our family and friends, and even beyond to acquaintances and strangers, our interactions regarding having a child with Down syndrome are overwhelmingly positive. My favorite part of the village however, has to be Luke’s siblings. I’ve seen variations of this quote: “If you want to know how to treat someone with special needs, watch their siblings.” It is so true! Few things make my heart happier than to witness this. They meet him right where he is and then treat him with the same love, compassion, playfulness, and annoyance as their other siblings. With them, there’s no underlying therapeutic motive, and there’s no extra attention because he has a disability. With his siblings, he can most perfectly experience what life is like as a typical kid. More than anything, this is what I want for him! And this circle of siblings is the most blessed foundation for that.

It has also meant slowing down. Life is busy and life is fast. I often find myself too preoccupied with my daily tasks to stop and notice the little things. I have a hard time slowing myself down. Luke naturally takes things a little slower, and when I let him, Luke slows me down too.

Recently we took the kids on a little road trip. We stopped at a rest area to stretch our legs and it happened to sit along a portion of one of Tennessee’s scenic rivers. We all hiked down a small hill to adventure for a bit. On the way back up, the other kids took off running. Luke stuck close to me and Steven as he maneuvered the uneven terrain. I was tempted to pick him up and carry him so we could catch up to the others, but we really wanted him to stretch his legs before getting back in the car. So we let him walk. We let him be a little slower and we slowed down with him. And slowing down allowed me to see. It allowed me to see the way Jacob exactly followed the path his big brother and sister took. It allowed me to see how the rays of the setting sun streamed over them as they crested the top of the hill. It allowed me to breath in deeply the smells of early spring flowing from the river and its surrounding foliage. And it allowed me a chance to grasp my husband’s hand and just simply be in that moment with my family.

This past year I’ve discovered that Down syndrome means slowing down life just a little so we can walk it next to Luke, and what a beautiful blessing that is!

I’m sure I could write more, as we are constantly learning, but these are the highlights! This journey is not without its moments of frustration, but it is truly one of love, blessings, and celebration. And we got to celebrate a few big milestones this year! Sleeping in a big boy bed, participating in his first Buddy Walk, finally getting all of his teeth, saying “mama”…

It has been a blessed year with our Luke and we are so grateful that we get to share our lives with this person, who just happens to also have Down syndrome.

– Sarah

 

What March 21st Means to Me (2014)

19885592_520541229900_1095371686_oMarch 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. A year ago I had no idea such a day existed, let alone that I had a sweet, little two-month-old reason to be recognizing it, celebrating it. Last March 21st, we were in the beginning stages of noticing that our baby seemed to have a few little “challenges” that we would eventually learn were related to low muscle tone. Last March 21st, he was just barely starting to regress on the growth charts. Last March 21st, I had no earthly clue that our perfectly behaved baby was 4 months away from being diagnosed with the very thing I wasn’t aware was being celebrated that day. Last March 21st I had no idea I was living with, caring for, and absolutely in love with someone with Down syndrome.

Reflecting on this past year brings to mind so much. It reminds me of the uncertainty-the unanswered questions before the diagnosis. Why is he so small? Why can’t he sit up or even hold his head up well? Why does he have this funny breathing problem? Then came the discussions with the pediatrician when he was 4 months old, then 5 months, then the decision to draw blood for tests. The uncertainty continued as all she would say was “we’re doing a chromosome analysis.” Then the test results were delayed. We had to wait for weeks-trying not to worry…

Perhaps I was naive. Maybe I should have been expecting it, but hearing the doctor say: “We got the test results back and they did show something; Luke has Down syndrome” hit me like a ton of bricks. I literally felt my stomach drop and my head spin. My eyes immediately started to sting and it took every bit of strength in me to hold it together in that exam room. Steven simply said, “Okay, what do we need to do?” He’s amazing. I remember the doctor discussing some of the possible health issues we needed to be aware of; she had already scheduled appointments at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to have his eyes and heart checked. Suddenly my baby could have heart defects, thyroid issues, hearing or vision loss. “I know it’s a lot to take in, but do you have any questions?” All I could do was shake my head “no,” still barely holding it together. Steven spoke when I couldn’t. Then the nurses came in to draw blood to check his thyroid levels (another common health concern for people with DS). Steven held him as they poked his tiny arms trying to find a vein. I watched from the corner of the room through burning and blurry eyes. “Downs babies tend to be a hard stick” I heard one nurse tell the other. I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but my emotions were raw and hearing that comment was one if the toughest moments I’ve experienced since receiving his diagnosis. That was the first moment he was actually labeled as special needs. That was the moment it started to become real.

During my special ed classes in college, I remember my teacher stressing the importance of person-first language. She taught us not to speak of a “downs baby” or an “autistic child.” We were to speak of babies with Down syndrome, and children with Autism. And I learned it, but it wasn’t until that moment in the doctor’s office that I understood it. Luke wasn’t a “Downs baby,” he was MY baby. He was the same happy, sweet, 6-month-old who we had brought into the doctor’s office a couple hours prior. He was still Luke.

The next couple of days were really hard on me. Once we were alone in the car, I let the tears flow. I let the grieving process begin. Steven made the phone calls to our families-never a crack in his voice, always positive, so incredibly strong. He was absolutely my rock while I grieved. And it took a while. It took a couple days of putting up a stronger front for others and then letting my emotions flow when my family and I were alone. I remember rocking Luke and holding him so tight while I cried and cried and thought: “How could I not have known this about you? How could I not have been giving you what you need all this time?” But as I started to get used to the idea, as Steven assured me over and over that this really changed nothing, my grieving lessened. It lessened more and more with each appointment that showed healthy eyes, healthy ears, a healthy heart. It began to dissipate completely with each day that passed with Luke happy, healthy, thriving. And that brings me back to March 21st.

This March 21st is different. This year World Down Syndrome Day finds us with 8 months of Down syndrome “experience” under our belts. It finds us with 8 months’ worth of appointments, meetings, and therapies. It’s amazing what we’ve learned in that time about Down syndrome and about Luke. To me, this day means acknowledging what we’ve learned: the genetics of it, the particular ways that extra chromosome manifests itself, how much these ways vary from person to person. Most importantly, we’ve learned the particulars of how this extra chromosome affects our Luke and what we need to do to help him overcome his extra challenges. To me, this day means celebrating Luke’s accomplishments and how he met all of the goals we set for his first six months of therapy. It’s about celebrating what a hard little worker he is. It’s about appreciating all the help we’ve been given and the love we’ve been shown. It’s about the friends we’ve made, the community we’ve discovered, and the support system we’ve found. It’s about how wonderfully his brothers and sister treat him and take care of him.

Most important to me, though, is that I’ve learned and am recognizing more and more each day that Down syndrome is just a part of who Luke is. It is a diagnosis, not a definition. I was trying to explain this to someone the other day but was having trouble putting it into words. I was trying to explain how I don’t look at Luke and see Down syndrome first. I do see that he’s developmentally a little behind most other kids his age, I do see the therapy sessions he has each week, I do see that he’s still small, is barely starting to cut teeth, doesn’t yet say “mama.” But these are just all part of Luke and who he is. When I look at Luke I see a super sweet, 14 month old boy who loves to eat, take baths, play patty cake, and bear-crawl on his hands and feet. I see a kid who absolutely adores his siblings. Down syndrome has become an afterthought. It is no longer in the front of my mind when I look at him. It is no longer on the top of my list of worries. This past year has taught me so much and enlightened me in so many ways. I still have a long way to go and I know that Luke will never stop teaching us. I pray that I will always be open to learning these lessons.

First, Luke is a child of God, our number three baby, a little brother, big brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend. Second, Luke is someone with Down sydrome. That’s what I’ve learned this past year. That’s what March 21st means to me.

 

– Sarah

 

 

Flashback pt 2, and where we are now

Ok! So we talked about my son’s beginnings in the last post. Here I am going to copy and paste the follow up I wrote to that entry many years ago. At the bottom I’m going to go over JP’s development as it stands today at 6 (and a 1/2) years.

“Why don’t we dive right into it today and my apologies for this one getting a bit lengthy…. As I mentioned before, today we will talk about some of the little red flags that came up with us for JP. Now, for all you parents of little ones out there, this list is not meant to worry you when you notice that your child does some of these things sometimes. It might be something to bring up with your pediatrician though if you are losing sleep over it. 🙂

Looking back, I guess the first thing I noticed different about JP was his speech delay. I comforted myself with the fact that everyone told me little boys talked later than girls and it just wasn’t a big deal. At around 20 months though, it really started to worry me. We picked up JP from Mother’s Day Out one afternoon and he was crying and a few of his classmates came up to me and said, “JP crying.” I remember getting back in the car and saying to my husband those kids just spoke a sentence, and thinking how JP had a vocabulary of about 15-20 words and that was pushing it. On top of that he didn’t seem to be understanding me even when I spoke in very simple sentences, so trying to correct behaviors was virtually impossible.

Some other little things that I started to notice around 18 months… He vary rarely responded to his name. We had his hearing checked and it was fine. We also noticed a lack of eye contact. He seemed to always be interested in something else. If we did get him to look at us it was only for a couple of seconds. When he got really excited sometimes he would flap his hands a little bit. He became very picky about touching things, especially food. He didn’t want to walk in the grass barefoot, or like to be touched except by myself or my husband and even then he was a bit standoffish. He was a little bit repetitive, wanted to to do things over and over and over and over.  His tantrums were intense.. Now I know he’s 2, every 2 year old throws fits. JP’s however would sometimes come out of nowhere and could last between 20-40 mins. Intense screaming, thrashing, and hitting all normal.

Now with all that being said, something you should know about me is that I am a bit of a worrier. Anyone who has known me for longer than about a day could tell you that. So naturally once I noticed one of these little things, I googled and read books and realized that they could all possibly point to something bigger. I told myself just to pray about it and not worry over it, and bring up my concerns to his pediatrician at his next appointment. I hoped he would outgrow some of the behaviors, that this was just his version of being a toddler. When JP turned 2 his pediatrician recommended we have him evaluated by TEIS (our local early intervention system) to see if he qualified for any services through them.

At this point in our life (pre-TEIS and pre-therapy) with JP I was at a loss. I felt like the world’s worst mother. I thought I was failing at something that I felt all my life I had had a calling for. I withdrew. We quit going to play dates because I couldn’t contain my child’s sometimes erratic behavior. We quit eating out in public because the stares from strangers were just too much. I did almost 100% of shopping online. I often found myself in tears (sometimes in public) because I was just so overwhelmed and had no clue what to do…. I don’t tell you this for pity. We are past this point now, and while I do find myself overwhelmed at times, its normal. What mom isn’t occasionally overwhelmed? I tell you this in case you are a mom feeling this way. You are not alone. Or maybe you have a friend with a special needs child. Let them know you are there! It will mean the world to them. I am so lucky to have friends who have stuck with me through all this craziness. You know who you are :)”

 

Ok so that was the original blog post. I thought about adding in a couple of videos, but that just felt too personal, feel free to message if you want to see some of the behavior mentioned above.

JP is now 6 (and a half) and thriving! After 4 years of various therapies I can say early intervention was totally worth it for us. At one point we had therapy every day of the week, and some days multiple appointments in one day. Most people we meet would never know he had a diagnosis unless they are professionals in the developmental field. He is still different, but everyone is different. His main issues now are sensory related, stemming from sensory processing disorder. I also feel like he has some other learning differences with auditory processing, but that isn’t currently diagnosed. He is 1st grade aged, but at about a Kindergarten level in some subjects. We currently attend occupational therapy once a week with an amazing therapist. We graduated from speech this past summer, and will reevaluate that after he turns 7. (This momma needs a break from multiple therapies a week.) We could probably benefit from ABA therapy to help fix some behaviors he has at home (managing emotions, social skills, feeding), but it isn’t currently in the budget. All of this however has played a role in why and how we homeschool, which I will get in to on the next post.

*side note- We have been so very blessed with our son’s development. When you get a diagnosis, its a scary thing. We were told at his evaluation that they weren’t sure if he would ever talk in complete sentences, be able to fit in in a traditional classroom, or live independently. Autism is a spectrum disorder, and there are many families who start at a very similar place to where we did, but have a child that develops in different ways and may remain minimally or non verbal, and not gain independence. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t pray for these families and all special needs families, and I hope you’ll join me.

– Valerie

Click here for Part 1 and Part 3.

Flashback post. An introduction to why we homeschool

I have been wanting to post about my son for a while, but I wasn’t really sure where to begin. This morning a friend reminded me about a blog post I wrote forever ago (at least it feels like forever) about my sons development and I realized that could be the perfect introduction. The sweet little almost 3 year old mentioned in the article is now 6. We will get more in to his current development in the 3rd part of this series when I write my originally intended blog post, “Why we Homeschool”….Without further ado, here is a flashback post from Feb 2014 😱.

 

“I’ve decided to start this blog as a way to help family and friends have a little glimpse into our journey with our son, who was recently diagnosed with Autism. In addition to that, I hope it could possibly help other parents in our position as well. I am going to try to keep it pretty real here. Our life is wonderful, but it is at times quite messy. I’ve gotten used to that fact, hopefully you readers can too! 🙂

I’ve had a bit of a tough time decided where to start here, but I’m thinking we will go with a very brief overview of JP (thats what we will call my sweet boy) and all his awesomeness!!

imageI had a normal pregnancy, was induced because I had a bit of high blood pressure towards the end, delivered via c-section a perfectly healthy baby boy! JP was such an easy baby. Slept like a champ starting at 6 weeks. Nursed great. Ate solids great. Was always generally VERY happy! See…. cutest. baby. ever..

imageAs he grew into a toddler his goofy personality began to show. He walked a little late, but we did hold him quite a bit. He never really got into things or made huge messes and was always pretty cautious. Watching him grow has been such a blessing! This picture was taken at a year old. See… just adorable!!!

JP is now 2 (nearly 3, but I’m in denial about that). He is 100% little boy. Full of energy and life. He absolutely LOVES super heroes, trains, and all things Toy Story. He loves music, and being the center of our attention! Getting down to the nitty gritty, he has a significant language development delay (currently testing at the 13-16 month age range), a bit of echolalia , some pretty intense behavioral issues, a very slight fine motor delay, and significant food aversions. Nothing we can’t handle.
See… just perfect!!image

 

 

I give you this information because when I started thinking about JP and Autism, I began to question everything. Was it because I was induced? Was it the c-section? Should I have been curious about his lack of curiosity? I nursed and fed him a homemade almost all organic diet, where did I go wrong that he now rejects 90% of food? Was it the ever hot topic of vaccinations? What had I done wrong? After many sleepless nights of worrying, I can answer confidently nothing happened to my baby. He is just how God intended him to be and is absolutely perfect. 🙂

Going to try to keep these brief, so coming next week… When did we notice there was something super special about JP and what did we do? Until then, many blessings to you and yours! <3″

 

 

Random reflection almost 4 years later, man I put a positive spin on a super trying time. So much for keeping it real back then. 😅

 

-Valerie

Click here for Part 2 and Part 3.