Sorry! Go Back to Start!

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One of our family’s favorite board games is SORRY! We play round after round on family game nights. One thing no one ever likes is getting “Sorry’ed” right back to their start. One or all of us have been known to whine and groan over the inevitable gleeful “SORRY!” No one likes being told to go back to start. Now, that’s what we have to do. Almost six years ago Molly received her “official” diagnosis of Autism (as well as Russell-Silver Syndrome). We foolishly felt relief at the diagnosis thinking now we could get help. We didn’t know what the road ahead of us held. Now we’re drowning. Since Molly is so high-functioning (possibly Asperger’s?), that our concerns are often set aside by others (i.e. the school) until a specific behavior presents itself. Every year we go in and try to be prepared for everything, but one of a few things happens. She starts off so off-kilter by the change of schedule/new event that any quirk seems mild by comparison Her behavior is so beautifully spot on and normal that any deviation is like a sudden attack on everything we thought we knew (or rather, they thought they knew) A new behavior develops that not even we suspected This year we have reached a breaking point. The school has set her on a new behavior model because she degraded so tremendously after Christmas break. She isn’t listening to her teachers, she’s refusing to do anything, and she is avoiding tests like the plague (w/ standardized testing in a few weeks, this is not good, even w/ IEP accommodations). The development of a possible learning disability on top, plus lack of focus, and weird tics and behaviors at home had Erik and I at our wits end. We called the doc and got her in for her annual physical and set about finding out the next step. Our pediatricians best advice? SORRY! GO BACK TO START!! So we must return to the geneticist that gave us our initial diagnoses. We’ll need to use him to unravel the confusion we’re currently in. There may be treatment for ADHD, we may see about getting her into a local ABA treatment, we aren’t sure what’s going to happen, but we have to go back to the beginning. Again. It’s a never ending process of hurry up and wait. Mostly, Erik and I need to find local support. We find ourselves at such a loss so much, that we’re grasping at straws that aren’t there. We don’t know how to handle things, and that’s something that’s really hard for both of us to admit. Now we wait until May to meet with Dr. E again, six years after our last appointment. Hopefully he’s able to help not just her, but us, figure out how to go forward now. All we want is for her to be happy. At peace. Peace is so hard to come by. *~* Written for Things I can’t Say’s Pour Your Heart Out Read more »

She looks fine to me…

*Otherwise titled “The post in which I piss people off.” From the time our troubles started, from the time we first realized there was just something ‘off’ about Riley.  From the day We realized Angel’s torticollis was more than just a lazy neck and a heavy head.  From the day we realized Angel’s cough was going for a month and showed no signs of letting up. From the first time Angel intentionally injured herself. From the first toys Riley lined up.  Every day, every night, every in between we are aware.  We notice when Angel runs out of steam before she’s played for ten minutes.  We notice when Riley is starting to retreat into her shell. When we’re in danger of a meltdown of epic proportions.  In danger of a night of a screaming, pouting, angry Riley. We notice it all. We see it in the every day. We see it in the little things. Every action, every reaction. It’s a part of our lives.  It is our every day. Then you come along and say “But she looks just fine to me.”  Or “She doesn’t seem autistic.”  And of course the “She doesn’t act sick.” I know you mean well.  Really, I do. But I hate it when you say that. It’s like you’re belittling our every day. The hours at doctors and specialists.  The hours calming and refocusing an over-stimulated child (longest meltdown stands at 36 hours).  The hours a day hooked up to machines to live every day.  The way I lay awake at night listening to labored breathing. Check temperatures every time we feel a little warm. I know you don’t mean it this way.  I know you just mean to say that despite their troubles they look healthy and happy.  That unlike other children with special needs it’s not a visible/noticeable difference. But I hate it. Just say they’re beautiful.  Say they have a great smile. They look like they’re having a blast. Don’t contradict what we KNOW.  Riley does have autism (no matter how mild). Angel does have CF, and right now she is sick (and we spend every day wondering just how badly it’s holding on). It is our every day. We try to live life beyond our labels – and we only succeed by accepting them and integrating what they mean into our lives. Read more »

by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.

What was I so worried about?

Last year I was afraid to try again. Five months ago I took the leap. Four months ago I was afraid to hope, but felt it creeping in. Today was the big day.  Technically it was the FIRST of TWO big days.  We met with the Developmental Pediatrician. It was a scant hope, but it was my last ditch effort. The final specialist in a long line of specialists and the last thread of hope in a dim and dismal heart. I got up and the crack-of-dawn o’clock and hopped in the shower.  I got the girls dressed (In-Laws were sick so the 1 child at a time ruling had to be abandoned), fed and in the car.  Along the way I stopped and used my gift card from the Moms Marbles twitter party last month (thanks, ladies I loved my mocha!!) at Starbucks and we headed up to the North Side of the city.  We arrived perfectly on time and headed back for Riley’s appointment at the exact time we were supposed to be in. And we waited.  and waited. and waited.  30 minutes later the nurse popped in to tell us the doctor had gone to the wrong office. So we waited another 30 minutes and the doctor showed up. It was worth the wait.  It was worth the 4 months it took to get into her office to even see her.  It was worth the hour wait.  Why? For an hour and a half – a FULL 90 minutes – she sat in that room.  She never left. She sat there.  She listened.  She talked.  She HEARD me. After years of frustration and fears…to be HEARD…that is the most joyous part of it. She looked over Riley – took a full history asked many many questions – questions not even I could remember the answers to. We have confirmations, we have suggestions…we are feeling hope. I go back on Monday with Angel.  At that point the doctor will give me a list of items from today’s visit where she’ll write down EVERYTHING we discussed today.  Suggestions for therapies, help for insurance/assistance, suggestions and numbers for groups not just to support Riley (and Angel when it’s her turn) – but to help US cope.  The adults.  Do we now have all the answers?  Heavens, no.  But this doctor is helping us define a path.  For each girl, individually.  She is listening to us.  And that…that is the most wonderful thing in the world. Read more »