Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finding the Balance: Making Time For Your Non Spectrum Kids

Nothing makes me cringe more than when  someone tells me "Sometimes I forget you have 3 kids." I am always left thinking "How could you possibly forget? I have a baby attached to me constantly." On top of that it hurts my heart that anyone could forget our sweet little Baby. It is so important for our families to learn how to Master this: Not forgetting that you have other children and making sure that others do not forget them as well.

It "can be" <--- if you let it, easy to get caught up with Autism and aaalll of the many therapists in and out of your home every week. When we found out that our 2 toddlers had Autism I was 6 months pregnant with our 3rd kiddo. AT FIRST, I was mortified that I was pregnant. NOT because I didn't want our little sweetheart but because I felt so guilty about bringing him into the whole "Autistic Siblings" situation. In all of my lack of knowledge on the subject, I was convinced that my son would grow up resenting me. So shortly after getting the news of Autism, my husband and I sat down and from that point set STRICT guidelines. Guidelines that we hold extended family members to as well.

How Our Family Balances Autism, Marriage Relationship and Our Non Spectrum Kids
1) Each one of our kids gets alone time with us (Daddy and Mom) EVERY DAY, not once a week but EVERY DAY. There are times in the day that my son will come up to me while I am holding our baby and ask me for something and I look at him and tell him KINDLY "Not right now Buddy. Mommy is holding [Baby]. Right now it's [Baby's] time with Mommy." My kids are COMPLETELY ok with this BECAUSE they know that later they are going to get my undivided attention as well so there's no jealousy. Sometimes I will pick a kid to go on an errand with me alone or I will take one with me for ice cream. They know that they will always get time with both of us alone.

2) Our kids have had nap time and bed time (it's never too late for you to start this) since they were 4-6 months old. So at that time my husband and I take our baby and go sit on the deck with him or we play on the living room floor. My husband and I get to talk and spend time with each other as well. We then put our baby down and that time is my husband and I's time together to snuggle, watch a movie, talk or play a game.

3) Do not let others forget you have other kids. Wherever I go I am wearing our son in his Moby Wrap so people see him. Right now we talk about Autism because we are meeting so many new people since we just moved here but normally in our home or when we are with friends we do not talk about Autism. We don't want our other children growing up thinking their childhood was all about the siblings with Autism.  If all you talk about is Autism and the kids that you have on the Spectrum then of course people are going to forget you have other kids. That's why I have a designated place for talking about Autism, my blog.

4) When I introduce our family to NEW people I say "I have THREE kids and my 2 oldest are on the Autism Spectrum."

5) I do not (or I guess I should say "will not" since my little guy is still just a baby) let others tell my Non Autistic children things like "You behave for your mom, ok? Because she has a lot to deal with your siblings."

6) Last but also important, I wont be asking my other children for help. It's not their job to help me with their siblings or act like mini adults. It's their job to be a kid and enjoy their childhood.

The reason people forget our baby is because he is AMAZING =) He is so mellow, ALWAYS happy and easy going. I walk into the room and his face lights up with a HUGE smile. His smiles that are often meant for me are honestly what gets me through some of my toughest days.

 We love you so much Little Man!...

Friday, June 1, 2012

This is an excellent video on the early signs of Autism done by the Director of the Kennedy Krieger Institute (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore). Well known for their Autism research smile emoticon She shows babies who are developing typically and those who have Autism. Family Doctors and Pediatricians receive ZERO training in Medical School on Autism making it almost impossible for them to catch it early on. They'll often tell you "They look fine!" or the most common "Just wait and see" or my personal favorite "Autism is over diagnosed" (says the man who had no training in Medical school on ASD wink emoticon ) 'Waiting and seeing' is the absolute WORST thing you can do because Behavioral Therapies have the strongest impact on a childs brain before the age of 5. These Doctors don't know this because it's not their field. If you have questions about your child or your family has questions then I highly encourage you to watch this video and share it with those family members or friends that don't understand. (9 minutes)