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Friday, November 6, 2009

INTRODUCTION PART 1

.....Hello, I am Teri, and this is my blog about being the mom of an adult child with Asperger's Syndrome. Of all the elements in my life, this is by far the most challenging and sometimes the most rewarding part. If you are the parent of one an Aspie, then you understand what that means, some days are diamonds and some days are stone. .....If you are an Aspie, then I hope that you will better understand your parents and the people in your support system as they live alongside you with this wonderfully confounding disorder.
.....I suppose I should start at the beginning because that is where every good story starts, but our beginning with our son was not like the one we had with our daughter who was born 2 years and 8 months before him. He came into the world weighing 10 lbs. and 2 oz. and the local cafeteria could not have kept him fed. He wasn't a fussy baby, he slept well and through the night at about the age of 2 months. He lost about 1 lb. of weight the first week and we began supplementing nursing with baby formula, which he downed like a pro and began to regain weight rapidly. He grew at a phenominal rate, always way off the growth chart the pediatrician kept.
.....At the age of one, we changed to a lowfat formula, (which I wonder if that could have been a mistake and may have contributed to the weight problem he has today). He developed normally as a toddler except for his speech. He had quite a vocabulary that only a very few of us could understand. He had frequent bouts of ear infections which we expect had much to do with his speech. When I took him to see the ENT, the fluid would have cleared up. The doctor refused to put tubes in his ears for that reason. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken him to another ENT for a second opinion. At the age of 4, with the aid of a wonderful speech therapist, his speech became even with his age.
.....It was at about the age of 4 that we began to see him having difficulty playing with other children. He played well with one friend at a time, but when he was in a group, the problems mounted. He attended preschool two days a week and was well behaved for the most part but began taking food from other children when they gathered in a lunch room as a group. By the age of 5, the neighborhood children were either shunning him or teasing and calling names. We had to arrange activities for him to be with other kids that were controlled, usually with our home school support group activities, church, or family friends.
.....We had chosen years before to educate our children at home, so when Kindergarten time came, it was obvious that he was not going to flourish with a traditional curriculum and I began searching for ways to teach him. Almost everything had to be made to fit. We spent the first years of his schooling using adaptations to help him to learn to read and write. To discuss the entirety of that would be a whole new blog, so I won't go into detail about how and what we did here.
.....In spite of his learning disabilities, he had an almost adult vocabulary and people often commented that they could carry on a conversation with him unlike most children his age.
He was far above his peers in his use of language even though he could barely read and write.
This caused even more problems for him socially, as far as his peers were concerned.
.....When he reached 10, he and I became sick with a flu like illness. At 4 am one morning, I was up with him because he was coughing incessantly. He was lay on the lazy boy, about to go back to sleep, then began to go into seizures. He was transported to children's hospital and seized repeatedly throughout the next day. After many hours of tests, they gave him an anti-seizure medication which stopped them. He came home two days later and was placed on Dilantin.
.....It was over the next few months that we noticed a change in his behavior. He was much more anxious and irritable than he had been. When we visited the neurologist about 6 months later, I asked if the medication could have caused this change. He was then put on Tegretol. The Tegretol controlled the seizures just as well but the behavioral change, though somewhat improved, persisted.
.....At the age of twelve, after an inappropriate outburst (or a meltdown, as some call it), we took him for a psychological evaluation. He was diagnosed with depression and placed on zoloft, which worked very well for him. He probably was at his best for the next 2 years. Then things changed.
.....When he was fifteen, another family member was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and his doctor thought that he might have it also. He was then placed on Depakote and Clonipin. At his next visit with the neurologist we were told that Clonipin could cause a loss of inhibitions so that was changed shortly thereafter to Zyprexa....and thus goes the rest of the story. We have spent all the years hence trying to find a combination that works best for him.
.....more to come.....




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Hi, I am Teri West, a wife, retired home schooling mom, 2nd year breast cancer survivor, crafter, musician, and primitive artist living and working in Kentuckiana, (the Louisville, KY and S. Indiana area). My family heritage is in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and Southern Ohio. I grew up in Louisville, Ky and attended Eastern KY University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating with degrees from both in education. I married in 1979 and have three grown children, one a degreed artist, one a techie/artist, and an autistic one, a photographic artist. Hubby is a techie. I work out of my home creating primitive items for friends, family, and you. My loves are American folk music, primitive crafting, and American folk art which all emanate from my devotion to my faith, family and friends. I belong to the Louisville Dulcimer Society and I play mountain dulcimer, guitar, violin, native flute, tin whistle, bowed psaltry, and ukelele as well.