Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Is There an Echo in Here?" "No Silly, That's Echolalia!"

It's time warp time!

It seems like forever but it is not ... it is only about 3 years ago that Austin would repeat what you said to him.  Especially questions and things that he just couldn't understand such as complex sentences or directions.  If you asked him if he wanted "orange juice or milk", he would reply "milk".  Switch the order around and he would say "orange juice".  This happened a lot, unless he was really adamant about having milk.  He could also recite parts of television shows or entire commercials by heart ... over and over.  I used to do it when I was little, so what's the harm, right?  Wrong!

Austin repeating back was not something I thought too much about since the dictionary definition of echolalia is quite harmless, basically it says children repeat what is heard as they are developing, to learn.  Well, the psychiatric definition is the opposite and there was nothing comforting in that definition the first time I read it, but I am getting ahead of myself a little.

One day, the gracious and lovely Miss Maven happened to be over with her wonderful boys.  They were playing and when I said something to Austin he would repeat the whole sentence or question.  I had just given birth to Kaleigh so Austin was just about to turn 3.  Maven heard this go on and said something like the following (not verbatim but close) "You should watch that.  I have a friend with autistic children that repeat, it is called echolalia."  I replied, "Austin is NOT autistic Maven!"  (Defensive much?  Uhhh, YES!)  I don't think that Maven was trying to imply he was but just wanted me to have it checked and I did.

I took Austin to the doctor.  He checked him and said, "I think it is just a mild delay".  I had expressed before that I did not think Austin spoke in a typical 2-year-old manner but he had such a large vocabulary, it was easily dismissed, not this time.  My doctor, who is AMAZING by the way, looked at my face.  He told me he knows that look and said, "Okay, let's send him to CHEO (that's the children's hospital here) to be checked, although I think he will be fine".  "Also, be warned, if they find a speech development issue, he could be screened for other developmental problems..."  I knew what he meant ... I went ahead with it anyway.

Austin was put on a list and we got a call a year later.  Guess what?  The echolalia stopped!  By the time he was 4, he rarely repeated at all.  He had trouble answering the some of the W questions and asking him "how" wasn't easy but I was relieved.  I cancelled his appointment with CHEO and thought that the days of echoing were behind Austin.  The man I spoke to on the phone was very happy for Austin but said, just in case, if there is something else that pops up when he starts school, they will keep him on a list.  This would ensure he could get an appointment right away ... I never thought I would be calling him back, but I did ... that, my friends, is a hard story to tell ... stay tuned...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Freaky Faces

The other day I went to pick Austin up at school.  All the kids were in the back yard playing in the snow.  He came out to meet me and wanted to go around the corner to slide down the small hill the snow plow had made.  I told him okay and started to walk with him.  He started to sprint towards the hill (he is quite safe, there are only buildings around) and before I could tell him to watch out for the people coming towards him, he had his hand out in front of him yelling "EXCUSE ME!"  People moved (the people that know Austin) but this one man had the freakiest look on his face.  I laughed right at him, I couldn't help it.  It was just the way he was looking at Austin running at him, his hand and arm out in front of him yelling "excuse me" 20 feet away!  The ladies surrounding this man, were giggling too, but at watching Austin have so much fun, not at him running towards them.  Austin is just a fun and happy kid.  The other parents know this about him and they always smile when they see him play.  :)

Now, the laugh on my part.  I have no idea.  Is this my way of dealing with these flabbergasted people?  You know the ones, they make strange faces when they look at your child.  If it had been me, I wouldn't have thought anything of a 5 year old saying "excuse me" and running towards a snow hill, really, that doesn't seem odd to me.  Then again, I am a very unique individual. ;)  The fact that Austin finally looks out for people around him and tells people "excuse me" is a huge accomplishment.  He would normally mow you down like a combine at harvest time!  Maybe this man would have preferred that option!  ;)

*HUGS* to all!  Have a great day everyone!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mmmmm-Mmmmm Milk!

Austin has always LOVED milk!  He also really likes dairy products.  The problem, put dairy products with food, and FORGET IT!  Bummer!  :(

Austin has been eating cereal dry for 5 years.  I have tried every kind of cereal that I thought would appeal to him.  Add milk to it and he won't touch it.  Now Kaleigh, on the other hand, likes food and cereal, well, she LOVES it ... with milk.  The other day she was eating her cereal and going "Mmmm-Mmmm, really good!".  Austin saw this and said "Mommie I want some cereal with milk too!"  I was stunned!  I asked him "Are you sure?".  "I want to Mommie!"  Okay, he asked me for some Lucky Charms (which I do not give him everyday, he eats Raisin Bran normally but he wasn't going to school so I thought, why not?)  I poured the cereal, then the milk and waited for a negative reaction, I did not get one.  He looked at the bowl, picked up his spoon and stared for a few seconds at the cereal floating (I thought, here we go ... sigh).  For some reason, I thought about the marshmallows ... he loves marshmallows, and said "milk makes the marshmallows soft" and just like that, away he went ... he LOVED it!  YAY! :)

Alright so maybe Lucky Charms was not the best cereal to use but hey, I have been trying for years to get him to eat milk and cereal together ... Maven, you get me right?  So I figure, with baby steps I can slowly work up to getting him to eat his Raisin Bran with milk.  To me, for Austin, this is a huge accomplishment.  That may sound silly to some people but when you have a child who barely eats anything, it is a big, big deal.  Oh yes, no Fruit Loops though.  They are banned from this house.  If Austin eats those, we might as well give him Cheesies for breakfast ... also banned!  We don't want an aerobic breakfast ... ;)

*HUGS* to everyone!  :)