Wednesday, September 10, 2008
This is Vincent getting ready to head to school for picture day in the spring. He is clearly the cutest kid ever, a point that is not open for debate. Comments disputing this fact will be deleted with prejudice :-).
Vincent turned 4 a few months ago. When he was born we found out he had Downs Syndrome, which was a bit of a shocker to say the least. But he did really well, was turning himself over when he was 5 days old, walking by 14 months, and generally doing better than we could have hoped. He has always been healthy as a horse and avoided any of the health complications common to DS (heart and gastrointestinal mostly).
Vincent had his two year evaluation for early intervention services and was a little star, labeling all his animals and generally showing off for everyone. Between his second and third birthday though, he stopped using words entirely and started doing a lot of self stimulation activities (humming loudly, throwing himself on the couch or chair over and over) and stopped making eye contact. A lot of people probably know what I am going to say next, which is that when we could no longer ignore these things, we had Vincent evaluated and he was diagnosed with Autism.
That was actually harder long term to look at then Down Syndrome honestly, because it basically was Vincent withdrawing from the world. We couldn't play with him and he wouldn't look at us. So this started a whole new area to research beyond the voluminous reading I did when I found out he had DS. We ended up getting some great advice from the wife of a doctor my mom works with as well as doing some reasearch on our own, and we started on our own home ABA program, initially just us working with him with what we could piece together. Later , we got in touch with an ABA supervisor and set up a formal program and went through trying to hire therapists.
That's a story I will get to later, but I just wanted to say that Susie Jordan with Carolina Family Frontiers has been great to work with as our ABA supervisor getting Vincent's program set up and he has been doing great since we started it. Her website is http://familyfrontiers.com but it looks like it is down, she used to have content there. She can be reached at 704-625-1291 in the meantime. He is back to using words and asking us for things. Be carfeul what you wish for considering the number of times a day he asks for "Elmo Show". Just kidding of course, I love hearing that little voice and can't imagine ever getting tired of it.