Thursday, April 7, 2011

April is Autism Awareness Month

Mommy is back wanting to guest post today. How can we tell her no? (I mean, its easy telling her "NO!" when we don't want to listen or eat our veggies, but- its hard to say no about guest posting since she is the mind behind this blog. lol)

Thank you kids, for letting me take your spotlight today to talk about Autism Awareness. I think the Riplets would agree, its a subject that hits close to home for us. This year, two of the Riplets were diagnosed with Autism. Jordan was diagnosed in January, while Addison was just diagnosed this past week.

As a mother, I wasn't sure how to handle this topic on our blog and I was really confused on when was the appropriate time to mention it at all. When I realized it was Autism Awareness Month, I knew my opportunity to share our journey with Autism was finally here.

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know that all three kids go to "college" 4 days a week. Well, the college is actually the Campus Autism Project or CAP and its an amazing program. Its run by an amazing professor who works with under graduate students, getting them hands on experience with kids that have delays. Originally, it was set up for kids specifically diagnosed with Autism, but since then its become a program to get additional help with speech and development for any child. My kids went into this program (Jordan alone at first, he had no verbals and we were concerned) very delayed and within just a few weeks, I noticed a significant difference in all three of them. After Jordan was diagnosed with Autism, we set up appointments for both Addison and Jack to be evaluated, too. Addison we already had concerns with and we decided Jack needed to be tested, too. We just wanted to be certain he wasn't slipping through the cracks since he had a delay in speech as well (turns out he has significant fluid in his ears and has a consult for tubes next week).

Now what most parent's ask us is "How did you know? What do I need to look for in my own child?" Autism is such a broad spectrum disorder that there are a variety of "red flags" or behaviors that could both be signs to look for OR could be a quirky time in your child's life. My first advice is, please don't read the signs my children have and assume the worst for your own. To get our diagnosis, we went through months of testing and specialists/therapists meeting with my kids. Also, both Addison and Jordan have Autism, yet both act very differently so not all kids have the same behaviors. Since I am not an expert on Autism, I recommend you visit Autism Speaks for more information or if you have additional questions you may want answered. I will do my best to answer any questions you have for if you have for me, but I am by no means an expert!

Here's a list of signs my kids (one or both) have shown that lead us to get them tested and diagnosed.

-Lack of eye contact

-Lack of speech or lost speech (saying words but then losing them from their vocabulary)

-Doesn't point to people, objects or pictures in books or wave (this was by or around 12 months)

-Lack of pretend play (not being interested in using the play phone properly, no interest in playing house or with babies, not using the toy cars or trains for their intended use).

-Self Stimulation or "Stimming". Mine vary on this, one does a lot of hand gestures (flickery or fluttering of hands) or movements and the other will spin items or spin themselves in circles (repetitious movements).

-More interested in the details of a toy rather then playing with the toy.

-Sensory or texture issues. Addison needs to touch or lick everything, even non-food items. Jordan doesn't like to get dirty, so he will avoid sticky or wet food textures unless its on a spoon.

These are just the signs for my own children, here is a complete list of signs you can look for if you suspect your child could be on the spectrum. The list I mentioned is from Mayo Clinic's website and it gives you a good idea of what you need to be looking for and what steps you should take from there.

I have decided to start my own blog about our journey with Autism, just so that this blog can remain a place for my kids and their adventures. My blog is just getting started and is called Organized Chaos. If you would like to read more about my thoughts and experiences with Jordan and Addison's journey with Autism, feel free to become a follower of my blog at .

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  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Love you and the Riplets!

  2. Hi Jamie! My name is Aimee and I found your blog through your comment on the Laura Winslow Giveaway! I saw you posted about triplets and I'm a triplet mommy too - bgg August 2007! One of my daughter's is severely disabled due to a chromosome disorder and we're thinking that our son may be on the spectrum. I'm an aspiring photographer as well, so I thought I'd comment since we have so much in common! :)