First of all, I wanted to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart for all of the outpouring love and support! I have seen every single text, Instagram message and comment! I knew I would do a part two as this came to light and more of you started asking questions, I just didn’t think I would be lucky enough to do it in the same week! In addition to the HUNDRED of questions, I’ve also had my post read and shared over a THOUSAND times since sharing our story on Friday! I’m going to share and answer some of the more popular questions I received below!
What has the support been like for you? Have you had any negative reactions? I feel like my 4 year old son may be on the spectrum but my family says they think I’m overreacting… The support has been amazing! And so far, I have’t had a single negative reaction or comment. I’m sure that doesn’t mean they won’t happen– but so far it’s been nice to not feel like I have to ward off any keyboard trolls. I’m so sorry that your family seems to be brushing off your concerns for your child. The only thing you can do is remember that YOU’RE his Mama, and he needs you to advocate for him, regardless of who agrees/disagrees with you. Also, playing devils advocate here, be open to this conversation with your family. They may have fears around it just like you do. A lot of the time, people fear Autism to be a “death sentence” or “it means their kid is going to be the weird one forever!”. There’s SUCH a negative connotation associated with spectrum related diagnoses– mostly from people who DON’T understand. You may find that once you open up the dialogue a bit more, that they really do share the same concerns as you, they just let fear get in the way. Keep me updated on your Little Guy! Hugs!
There have been a lot of doctors that suggest dietary changes in children with spectrum diagnoses. Will you be changing Lexi’s diet at all? SUPER interesting that you ask that, because I hadn’t thought about it at all! And of course now I’m going down the rabbit hole and learning about GMO’s, artificial dyes and the effects they can have on children with Autism. I feel like at this time, we probably won’t make any changes to her diet unless her doctors at Mary Bridge think it’s a good idea. My child has always been a super great eater– and I would rather not change too much too fast if that makes sense? She’s going to be the busiest two year old on the planet here in a few weeks! So I’d like to focus strictly on one thing at a time. But if you have any resources for me, please feel free to send them! I feel like continuing to educate myself on the subject wouldn’t hurt!
You mentioned delayed vaccinations with Lexi. Is that something you can talk more about? I’m due in 2 months with my first baby and I feel like there is so much conflicting information out there right now! First of all– congrats on your newest addition! I hope you take this response with the best intentions, because I’m 100% meaning it from the best place in my heart. I, at this time will NOT be going into more detail about our vaccination choices other than what I shared in the original post, and here’s why:
1. I am not a doctor
2. This is NOT a decision that you should make based off of a blog post a stranger wrote on the internet. We ALL want to do the best thing for our babies. And I strongly believe that medical decisions need to be a family discussion as well as a discussion with your OBGYN and your Childs pediatrician.
3. I do NOT want the focus of Lexi’s diagnosis and story to be turned into a pro-vaxx or anti-vaxx debate. There are literally 15 pages on Google dedicated to angry granola moms who feel like the government ruined their children’s lives or some whacky crap like that. I, as a mother who is confident that vaccines played no part in her diagnoses (because, hi, SCIENCE), became extremely frustrated that I couldn’t find ONE article, Pinterest page, or Facebook Group about Autism that DIDN’T make it about vaccines. And I know that if I’m feeling that way– there are more mothers out there who are also looking for answers, without losing focus on the task at hand: HELPING OUR CHILDREN. Period.
My child is almost 3 and barely speaks, does that mean he/she has Autism? Again, as I stated above, I am not a doctor. But one thing I can say is that we were specifically told by our doctor that delays and Autism don’t ALWAYS go hand in hand. Regression is what a lot of doctors look for, especially in younger children to help them make a diagnosis. If you are having even an inkling of a doubt– I would contact your child’s pediatrician and express your concerns! Lexi’s delays have been mostly physical. For instance, not sitting up unassisted until 9/10 months old, not eating with utensils or off of a plate, just now learned how to clap her hands and bang objects together, doesn’t understand the concept of “peek-a-boo”, etc. Where as her regressions are STRICTLY speech. She was saying about 6 words before her first birthday in October, then went to just copying sounds (like HI, DADA, UHH OHH) without actually understanding the meaning, then completely regressed with words and sounds all together. Now she just makes really cool Tamagotchi type noises, and is really good at repeating the same ones that mean she’s tired, hungry, bored, etc!
I know there are so many speech apps now, and toys that are really good with early childhood development! Did you try any of those before consulting your doctor? No, we did not, for a few reasons. I would much rather have my child learn from a professional, and not rely on an iPad to get her up to speed, and the thing that you have to remember, developmentally she’s only about 9/10 months old. Would your 9 month old understand how to play a word game on an iPad?
You are SO BRAVE for sharing your story! I can’t imagine how HARD this must be! Can I pray for you/keep you in my thoughts? You’re so kind to say those things, however, I’m not brave. Neither is Lexi. Neither is my family. And, I’m not one who believes in prayer, but if that’s something that would help you feel more involved, than go for it. Here’s why I say those things:
Are you listening?
AUTISM IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.
It’s not something that needs to be prayed over, or healed, or tiptoed around. My child just learns differently than most. That’s it. She’s not broken, or less than. She doesn’t need to be coddled, or watched over extra careful.
She just needs and wants to be herself. Autism is not bad. We need to stop saying “our hearts hurt” or “we’ll be praying over you”. You hearts hurt for people who have Cancer. You should pray over the homeless. Spectrum diagnoses are apples and oranges when you’re looking at the BIG picture. We will continue living our lives the same way we always have! Just now we have a super cool teacher who hangs out with us three times a week! 🙂
I hope these were helpful, as these were the main types of questions I have received over the last few days! I’m sure there will be more, and like I’ve stated before, I am so excited to continue to talk about and share our experiences as we dive a little deeper into this super cool new chapter!
Hugs & Kisses,
Lexi & Lauren