Wednesday, November 4, 2009

About Me & Jaylen's Story

My name is Jean and I live in CT. I have been a work at home mom of two boys for 3 years. Jaylen is 3 1/2 and Xavier is 1 1/2. I am a wife, mother, homemaker, special needs advocate (Jaylen has Autism), teacher, friend, marketing executive, and MOMMY! 

Contact me:
My Work At Home Team
My Blogger Profile
But here is what you've really come to see, whether you know it or not.  This is the reason I blog, the reason I am who I am.  Enjoy!

Jaylen's Story: 
He couldn't say "Mommy," the word every mom wants to hear, until he was 2.
Jaylen has Classic Autism, he has always been on the spectrum as opposed to regressive Autism, where a child is progressing normally and then suddenly starts to have deficits.  We knew Jaylen was different by 6 months of age.  We didn't know it was Autism, or even special needs, we just thought he was high strung, angry, and strong willed. He did not sleep well at all, in fact he still doesn't, and he cried a lot.  Long tantrums that involved self injurious behavior and objects in our house being broken were a huge sign that things weren't right.  His behavior has been rough since I can remember.  He was able to complete complex puzzles by 9 months, but lacked in all social and emotional areas.

The most blaring thing about Jaylen though, was that he was still completely non verbal at 18 months.  We initially thought it might be due to his hearing since he had many ear infections.  He had tubes put in, his hearing was tested with near perfect results, and his ear, nose, throat doctor and pediatrician suggested we have him tested for developmental issues.  We then realized he had other symptoms, sometimes as a parent you don't want to accept these things, or you turn a blind eye.  At 18 months he:

  • made little to no eye contact
  • didn't respond to his name 75% of time
  • had huge tantrums for what seemed like no reason
  • did repetitive activity (stimming), flapping arms, filling and dumping buckets of toys for long periods
  • had no empathy, no reaction to our emotions
  • did no pretend play
  • did not play with toys appropriately
  • had echolalia (he repeats everything now that he is verbal, sometimes right away, and sometimes has delayed echolalia) This is a post I did on Echolalia
  • had no ability to answer questions

Jaylen has made tons of improvement.  Which is why I am such an advocate of early intervention.  I think Jaylen's early therapies were a miracle.  Here are a list of what Jaylen can do now at 4:

  • He is almost completely verbal
  • Sometimes looks people in the eye
  • Responds to his name (when he wants to)
  • Does a little pretend play
  • Can tell if someone is emotional, doesn't really get it, but recognizes it now
  • Can answer some basic questions
  • Has only 1 or 2 tantrums a week
  • Stims a lot less
  • Has less echolalia

We still struggle with potty training, sensory issues, intense anxiety, and social/emotional deficits.  But we are getting there.  We also have a 2 year old who is developing neuro typically with some sensory processing issues, but no other symptoms of Autism. 


TeresaR said...

I'm so glad Jaylen is improving bit by bit! That's how my son is improving too...slowly. He was always mild on the autism spectrum, but while he's improved much over the past 12 yrs, there are still things he could do to be more neuro-typical.

Jen said...

The King was diagnosed at 23 months old, we had noticed he 'forgot' his very few words at about age 15 months. At 18 months we figured it out. He is 27 months now and that few months of intervention has made an incredible difference. It can be hard to explain the benefits of early intervention until you witness it yourself. There is no real screening system in Ireland for autism so it is up to parents to fight but because we get so little support the children are usually 3 or older before being diagnosed. We pushed and pushed, knowing in our hearts we were right, despite the ridicule of others and oh wow am I glad we did. This is a lovely post Jean, I truly hope it will help others who will then go on to see the benefits of early intervention. Jen.

MommyToTwoBoys said...

Jen, thank you so much for your kind words. We still have so much to learn and so far to go in this fight for Autism awareness and treatment. So glad to have met you.

The Pure Mom said...

Glad that Jaylen has made gains with EI! My son (who just turned 11yrs) was non-verbal until age 2 1/2. He did lots of EI speech therapy, which I think helped get him talking. As you mentioned about Jaylen, my son is also one who did not regress. He was "different" from the beginning, though we did not really realize that too much since he was our first. But after having 2 more who are NT, we now see how "different" our firstborn was. I think I can attribute it to the Hep B vax... Never completely sure, but that is my theory. My younger 2 did not have the hep B and are either partially (#2) or non-vaxed (#3). Anyway, my 11yo son has made HUGE gains over the last 7 years via biomed (chelation, supps, Feingold diet, etc). Wishing you well in your journey with your beautiful children :)
The Pure Mom

Paul and Kerry said...

Jean, Stumbled upon you on Theta Mom. It's amazing how many ASD families I am finding. I am so glad that Jaylen is doing so well. We are slower with progress. Kyran is 6 and non-verbal. However, he has gained in other areas. We are struggling a bit with hyper-ness (is it PC to say that?) and adjusting his diet acordingly. I am now following you. Hopefully, you will stop by our blog sometime. :) Kerry

MommyToTwoBoys said...

Thanks for stumbling! And thanks for sharing a little of your story. I will definitely be popping over! And yes, it is totally PC to say Hyperness or whatever pops in your head. You are in good company over here in the special needs mom's world!

awalkabout said...

I'm so glad you found my blog! Yes, this is a process. No quick fixes here. But I absolutely agree with you that catching this early is the key--my son wasn't dx'ed until he was 7 with Aspergers and ODD (even though we KNEW there was something to be diagnosed...just had to find the right doctor). My daughter, on the other hand, was dx'ed at 18 months and had all the services coming up. She's an empathetic person now, very thoughtful of others. Very practical. Very bright. Still has some social and sensory issues, but so much better than back in the day. It's just putting one foot in front of the other, moving down the road. :) Nice blog!

Debbi said...

Good job on early intervention! So many improvements! He is a beautiful little boy!

Mandi Miller said...

He is a cutie! It's so good you caught it early on since he is making such huge improvements! He is just adorable!! Happy SITS Day to you!

LisaDay said...

Although parents never want to see what could be wrong with their child, listing those warning signs is fantastic and may open people's eyes. I am happy to hear your little one is much improved.

I read a blog about a woman whose daughter had autism and she spent day and day doing therapy with her. Then one day they went for a walk and the little girl was playing in a creek and the mom just watched her. The mom said it reminded her that everyone just needs time to play.

That story has stuck with me for months.

Happy SITS day.


Mama Kat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kerri said...

What a beautiful child. This is a fantastc blog! It is educational without being un-interesting. It's still personal and full of love. Happy SITS day!

simplysandi said...

Stopping by from SITS. I am still learning about autism, and I'm so glad that there is more and more being discovered about it everyday. Thank you for sharing Jaylen's story

Princess Lolly said...

Happy SITS day- you seem like a strong gal with a lovely family. Thanks for posting these warning signs...I bet you've done a lot of good and raised a ton of awareness.

love from Chicago,

Young Wife said...

I'm so glad he's making so much progress. He's a beautiful little boy. Happy SITS Day.

Mama Kat said...

Hi Jean! Would you mind deleting my comments on this page?

Licia said...

What a lovely blog you have. I like your honesty and your proactive approach about autism. I have a niece who was diagnosed and received a lot of therapy very early on and it made a huge difference for her. Your boys are lucky to have you as a mom.
On another note, I also have two boys. It's so much fun!
Congratulations on your SITS day. Have a great week.

Jenn Erickson said...

I have a friend with two autistic boys, but didn't know her when the boys were young. It's fascinating to learn about the early signs, and how early-intervention was so crucial. Congratulations on your SITS day. You're an amazing, inspiring woman!


AMAZING! His progress sounds incredible. I'm sure he is a very bright little spirit and I'm sure that your family has put in tons of work to help facilitate this growth. Congratulations! Early intervention is absolutely crucial and sometimes feelings of denial can be a huge hurdle for families. What an amazing boy and what a hardworking, loving family to help get him so far, so quickly!

Nadia@FunWithMama said...

Visiting from Sits! Very interesting post, congratulations on all that he can do now and i am sure that is honestly thanks to him having an amazing mother!

Zeemaid said...

This really is very informative because like you said I am sure the early intervention really helped. I never knew the signs before.

You must be so proud of his progress.

Stopping by from SITS. Very nice to "meet" you.

April said...

Keep strong! You are such a wonderful mom for working through this! I have friends with a son who has severe autism and noone really understand what the family goes through-so keep educating people!

Shanda said...

Stopping by from SITS, and I'm so glad I did. I have family members who are dealing with this issue, and I would love to learn as much as I can about it. I look forward to reading more!

bluecottonmemory said...

I have a son who has Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) - where he doesn't hear well with background information, or tone and it affects how he learns and reads what people are saying. It is a challenge. I wish we had early intervention - it would have eliminated patterns of frustration; however, I knew something was wrong, but didn't figure it out until almost through 3rd grade. The social part has been the most challenging.

MommyToTwoBoys said...

Thank you all for the amazing supportive comments. Unfortunately I wrote this before my "good" comment system was in place so I can't reply individually. But I will reply by email to your comments!

My SITS day has been amazing. I am so happy to meet everyone. Thanks to those who have in turned shared their stories!

Julie said...

I know I'm late, but I'm stopping in from SITS. I, too, have a daughter with autism. It's so nice to meet others on the same (or similar) journey. Congratulations on Jaylen's progress! He is just simply adorable in the picture you shared!

Ex-in-the-City said...

Congratulations on all your progress. Jaylen is a beautiful boy! Your commitment to your son and to your blog (because it guides others) are both commendable.

spectrummymummy said...

Sounds like some amazing progress he is making there! My son is reaping the benefits from Early Intervention too. We didn't pick up on the signs in my daughter until later, but she is making progress too...on her own timeline, of course!

Laura said...

We didn't pick up on our son's issues until he was almost 7, but he's improving with intervention. Our daughter, on the other hand, started early intervention by 2 and has had made HUGE progress. Glad, Jaylen is doing so well. :-)

Varda said...

It's so nice to look to your beginnings & see you celebrating your son's progress. And just think how you'll feel in a few years when you look back on this post and see how much farther still Jaylen has come. Glad you've joined in the Blog Gems archive airing.

Lavender Luz said...

What an inspiring story! I'm glad you got the help you needed early on, and that you're advocating for others to do so, too.

BlogGems #8

Lynn said...

I'm sure the list of what he can do is much longer now. He's probably gained new skills just in the last fortnight. You should never let me know that something bugs you....

Alysia - Try Defying Gravity said...

So glad you posted your about me page - I learned so much here! I loved reading about his progress - it's so great to connect with others who have gone through what we have.

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

It's amazing to go back and see how far you've come, isn't it? BTW, I gave your info to the Hallmark guy, so he may be getting in touch with you.

jazzygal said...

Great first post Jean! Lots of info there for other parents too ;-)

xx Jazzy

life In A Pink Fibro said...

Great post Jean - really informative and interesting. This is my first visit (from Blog Gems), so I look forward to seeing how Jaylen is travelling.

transplantedx3 said...

Great introduction - I'm looking forward to catching up and see Jaylen's progress. ~Amy

MommyToTwoBoys said...

@Lynn I'm actually lovin' the fortnight, but you are so perfect in every way that I need to find things to rag on you about. And I'm glad to know that others obsess over things like I do. My personal overuse is ellipsis, I use them all the freakin' time...

Chris P-M said...

Jean, good to read your very first post! I can relate to much of it (although we brought Kai home at 28 months and is adopted). The delays, eye contact issue, stimming and tantruming are all things we saw here as well.

I'm so glad to hear of the gains Jaylen has made as a result of early intervention! We're seeing them already in our son. :)

@jencull (jen) said...

:) just like you commenting a second time on mine now I get to do it for you. I still think early intervention rocks and look how far our little boys have come (and their younger siblings too) since we met!! Lovely to have my first ever 'bloggy friend' taking part in Blog Gems :) Jen

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Jean, I just found your blog. Your blog informs and is very useful. You show your strength as a mother and your love for your children. I'll keep reading.

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