Mason and ASD

Mason

This is my Grand baby, Mason.  He will be celebrating his 2nd birthday this month.  I’m not quite sure what to get him yet, but whatever he gets, I’m sure he’ll love it no matter what!  Two year olds love toys.  Two year olds love to play.  Two year olds are learning quick how to get into as much trouble as they can.

Mason though, is a bit different.  He goes to Pre-school and his teacher suggested that he see a speech therapist because he wasn’t talking possibly as much as he should be.  He can say Momma, Dadda and Nana – oh and I believe he says NO too!  But what kid can’t!

Mason & Justice (his brother)

A speech therapist has been seeing Mason for quite a bit now.  And I’m not certain if it was the therapist or his school teacher that recommended that he be tested for ADHD.  I’ll be honest, at that age, I thought it was too young to say that, but Tanessa (Mason’s mom) did as she was asked and had him tested.  it turns out that that doctor said he didn’t believe that he had ADHD, but possibly Autism.  So she was told to get him in to see a doctor that specializes in that area and have him tested for this now.

Mason & Tanessa (his mom)

I’m not sure what sort of testing is done to determine that a child has Autism, I wasn’t there, and I honestly know I asked but can’t remember.  But, Tanessa did call me after and said that Mason did have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  She explained what that was to me and I went online after to read about it.  I remember that Jenny McCarthy’s son has or was diagnosed with Autism so I actually sent her a tweet.  She did respond to me three times!  It just shows that she has a passion for children that have been diagnosed with Autism.

Mason & Joey (his dad - my son)

After hearing that Mason had this it started to make sense to me after reading what the symptoms are.  He has frequent ear infections, he wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, his vocabulary is about 3-4 words, he has a lack of focus and he has a behavioral issue.  Well outside of any other “normal” two year old.  I can only assume what must go through his mind.  He’s not able to communicate so I guess I’d get mad and lash out too.

Mason hanging out

The internet can be a wonderful place for fun, games, research…the list goes on.  But I can get myself into trouble by too much research.  So I’ve done my best to read up on what ASD is and find books from people that have gone through the experience and try to learn how to help my son, Tanessa, Mason and Justice go through life on their new journey.  This is a shock for all of us.  But I’m the type of person that puts things into action.  It’s easier said than done when I’m more on the outside, because if it’s me, I’m not sure I handle it the same way.  I will admit it made me very sad to know that my grand baby will experience things in life that not be so fair to him.  I never once thought that this is going to be and issue or that I’d see him differently.  I cried only when I realized that not everyone in this world will see him the way his mom or dad or his family does.  And those things made the tears fall from my eyes.

All I know is that I love all of my grand babies the same.  I will love Mason no matter what he has or doesn’t have.  If he doesn’t get the ability to speak, then I will learn sign language with him.  If he throws his tantrums when he’s here with me, then I’ll hold him until he can be soothed.  That’s what Nana’s do.

But then he goes home and his mom and her family are there on a daily basis dealing with this and becoming unaware of what to do or how to react or what to just do plain and simple.  It’s easier when there isn’t a “label” put on a child to say he’s just a naughty little boy.  But now there is a reason behind that behavior.  And that behavior can be helped through treatment and lots of love.

When reading over some of the symptoms that ASD includes, one of them was sleep problems.  I found this portion of an article very interesting.

Sleep problems

Children with ASD tend to have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, or have other sleep problems.15 These problems make it harder for them to pay attention, reduce their ability to function, and lead to poor behavior. In addition, parents of children with ASD and sleep problems tend to report greater family stress and poorer overall health among themselves.

Fortunately, sleep problems can often be treated with changes in behavior, such as following a sleep schedule or creating a bedtime routine. Some children may sleep better using medications such as melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Like any medication, melatonin can have unwanted side effects. Talk to your child’s doctor about possible risks and benefits before giving your child melatonin. Treating sleep problems in children with ASD may improve the child’s overall behavior and functioning, as well as relieve family stress.

I know that Mason has this problem and does take Melatonin to help him sleep.  Last I heard from his mom, is isn’t helping much.  My hope is that once he has been seen by a Neurologist, they can move on to getting a treatment plan in place.  I can really understand how tiring it must be knowing that your child is going to wake up every night crying and screaming and feeling helpless for him.  I imagine it does add much more stress to their daily lives for sure.

For now I’ll continue to read books and find learning materials for Mason to use.  We do have a website set up for him at www.masonsjourneythroughautism.wordpress.com and a Facebook page you can find on there as well.  We are trying to get him an iPad, which has been shown to help with learning development as well as behavioral issues.  There are a ton of apps that I’ve seen so far.  If anyone is interested in donating what you can, please go to ChipIn and do so.  Anything is appreciated.

Support Autism

Please keep Mason and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  I’ll be doing most of the updated on his website as we all travel this road together.  Thanks for taking the time to read and care.

Patricia

 

Nana, Justice & Mason

Thursday Fun

Today Brooklyn finished her very first book report.  I’m still trying to remember if I even knew how to spell in that grade, and this girl has read a book on Elizabeth Blackwell and written a page and a half report.  In second grade.  Did I mention that!!  I listened to her read the book, gather her facts, and guided her in the direction of how to write it.  But she did the work herself!  Way to go Brooklyn.

After that we started a birthday card for one of her friends.  It seems as though one of the kids has a birthday party to go to every other weekend at least.  It’s so funny to look back at when I was younger and compare things to where they are now.  No cell phones, no PS3, no DS lites, no XBox.  We got on our bikes and rode our bikes miles away from home without our parents knowing where we were every second of the day.  But now we have playmates scheduled for days in advance, birthday parties at Pump It Up or Chuck E. Cheese.

I’m thankful that a friend introduced me to the Cricut.  The kids and I have spent hours at a time making cards and having fun doing it.  There may be a bit of bicker back and forth, but our goal at the end brings out a pretty little card!

Birthday Card

After making the card Brooklyn needed a break.  She got the iPad out and turned on her Kidz Bop and listened to music!!

Brooklyn listening to music

While Brooklyn took her little break on the floor, Caleb did his reading for the day.  He had 25 minutes to finish his next reading clock.  He snuggled up in our bed and read to me while I folded clothes.

Snuggled up with a good book!

The 1st graders have a goal of reading 30 hours by the end of the year.  So far Caleb is at 16 hours.  Not much longer to go.  It seems as though reading was more enjoyable to him when he didn’t “have” to do it.

Me?  I took the day off and got my hair cut!!

Goofy Nana!!

Tomorrow is Friday.  Looking forward to the weekend.  It seems after I have a day off from work, I need another day off to get myself back into a routine.  If that even makes sense.

Take time to read, play and enjoy what you have.  Before you know it kids are grown before your eyes.

Patricia