Yes you read that right.  I consider myself very lucky  to have my two boys that are on the autism spectrum.  Let me go back a few years to the begining of our journey with autism. 

 My older son, Owen, was born late, just about a 2 weeks past my due date.  Believe me I was MORE than ready for him to be born as I was quite uncomfortable by this point.  My pregnancy was quite uneventful no major complaints no medical complications pretty much by the book as they say. His birth? That was different story. 

I went to all the birthing classes and read all the books because I like to be fully prepared, so I knew what to expect and what order it was going to happen in.  Theoretically anyway.  I started to feel some contractions around 10 pm but they were mild and pretty sporadic so I just figured it was the early stage and just to wait.  Around 11 pm I wasn't thinking that anymore, the contractions were coming fast and STRONG.  They were still coming very sporadically though so I was very confused as to what was happening.  My husband called the doctor and asked him what we should do, he said just wait.  So after an hour we decided we couldn't wait anymore it was time to go!  I stepped out of the car took 2 steps and promptly vomitted all over the sidewalk.   After all my reading I knew that that was a sign of the second stage of labor,  that doesn't make sense!  I just started labor an hour ago!  After we got in a room and the doctor checked me she said I was 7cm dilated!  After about 40 mins I started to feel like I needed to push.  At one point the doctors wanted to use the forceps, I agreed because I was starting to run out of steam.  While they went to get them ready I felt another push I figured I'll give it all I have one last time.  I did and boom his head was out.  Then he was born suctioned, cord cut, wrapped and given to me. 

While he was a little blue and a conehead I was prepared for that (lots of reading) what I wasn't prepared for was the gigantic bruise on his forehead! What I was told happen was that he was born in what they termed the "sunny side up" position so he was face up.  Due to this his forehead was pressed against my pelvic bone when he was coming down the birth canal.  All the pics of his first few weeks he has a hat on pulled down to his eyebrows literally, to hide the bruise!  Other than that he was healthy, happy, and by all accounts, "normal".

Owen seemed to be hitting all his milestones except around 14 months I noticed his language was behind and a little 'quirky' and it was like he stopped progressing.  I've heard from other moms with children with autism that they saw their children regress but that's not what I experinced with Owen.  He didn't regress he just stopped progressing.  It was like he turned 18 months and time just stoppped. 

I had worked with children with autism before so I knew some of the signs to look for and some of the things Owen was doing were setting off alarm bells to me.  However, when I would bring up these concerns to family and friends I was often talked out of it, it was just because he was " a boy" an "only child" "because he wasn't in daycare", etc.  Finally when he was 2 1/2 and he still was talking like an 18 month old, but in quirky ways, not making eye contact and lining up his cars and being easily frightened by the most mundane things I couldn't take it anymore I needed to get him evaluated. 

After a few misteps with the diagnosis process we finally got him in to see a developmental pediatrician when he was 3 1/2.  She looked at the report from the preschool and him and how we answered her questions about Owen and she said "He has Asperger's syndrome. He's a textbook case.  He's one of those cases that if you took him to several different doctors they would all say the same thing." 

My heart dropped.  While I 'knew' that he was probably on the spectrum I didn't want to believe it.  I remember the next of the visit as a blur and just repeat ing in my head over and over "Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry"  When we were done we shook her hand made a follow up appointment and then we made our way to the car.  When we got in the car and shut the doors and my hubby looked at me I instantlly burst into tears.  My husband later told me that seeing me cry like that scared him.  He said because if I was that upset that it must be more serious than he thought. 

I didn't cry, or to be more accurate, sob, because Owen had was on the autism spectrum, I cried because I knew this was going to be something that was going to take a lot longer then I orginally thought.  I had somewhat of a delusion prior to this visit that we would be able to 'fix' whatever it was before he went to school when he was five and this would all be just a bad memory.  Not the case. 

We had a long journey since that day and now when he's going to be 8 next month.  After some amazing behavioral therapy and my hubs and I working with him, he can now carry on a conversation, he is at grade level in all his subjects, and is even above grade level in his reading subjects (actually 2 years above grade level!)  he is HILARIOUS and has a wicked sense of humor,(all his teachers say he cracks them up constantly) is very loving and affectionate and is so happy most of the time that you can't help but feel happier after being with him.  Last week we went to the local mall and went to the bounce house play area and he played appropriatley and wonderfully with another typcial boy for an hour with no prompts or redirections from me whatsoever and I was so blissfully happy I could barely stand it!  I was almost near tears by the end of the hour because this simple experince just highlighted all the progress he's made so perfectly. 

Owen's younger brother, Quinn was very similar to Owen in his development.He was even born sunny side up too, which is something the doctors said wouldn't happen.  I remeber one day vividly, where I was carrying him down the stairs when he was around 9 months old and he was looking me in the eye very intently and I got a shiver down my spine.  This is because this moment made me realize how very little he actually did look me in the eye.  After this revelation I activley paid attention to Quinn's behavior to watch for the signs.  Sadly I kept checking them off one by one and they were in the 'autism' column more than not.  At one point we even got his hearing tested just to make sure that it wasn't something else.  He passed the hearing test.  I knew then that we had to get him tested for autism too.  So a mere 8 months after Owen wad diagnosed when Quinn was 18 months he was diagnosed with PDD-nos, which is "Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified".  While some people might get this confused due to the name this is still part of the autism spectrum.  I had a couple of days where I couldn't say the "a" word (autism) without bursting into tears.

However, thankfully due to his brother paving the way we knew what to do and how to do it this time and wasted no time getting him into therapies and working with him at home to help him.  Quinn at the time of testing had the language of a 9 month old and the social skills of a 6 month old.  Now he is four, going to be five next month and he is on par with almsot all of his peers in his age group and he is my little charmer.  He loves to play with other kids, we had to take him to the doctor today because he was sick and there was another boy there and he started to walk over and I stopped him and asked what he was doing and he said "I going say hi to him".  :) He did and he and the boy were playing with Quinn's trains for a while then the other boys Grandma told the boy that those were not his toys and not to hog them.  Quinn replied "Its okay I sharing them".  I was so happy I laughed. 

To reiterate the message I stated in the begining of this very LONG entry.  I feel very lucky to have my two boys with autism.  While life can be quite challenging at times, the autism makes me appreciate all these little moments so much more.  I appreciate every succesful social interaction, every hug, every smile, everything. Because I understand how much work it took to get here.  While we still have some work to do and will probally always have too I wouldn't change it for anything.  While both my boys have autism, they are both Amazing, Loving, Hilarious, Caring, Friendly, and Inspirational. 

To sum up how great they are I'll leave you with a little exchange I had with my youngest the other day.  He ran over and hugged my legs while I was making dinner.  I picked him up and hugged him back and gave him a smooch on the cheek then he said this...

Quinn: Mommy?

Me: Yes?

Quinn: You da best! 

Me: Thanks buddy!  (BIG hug) Your the best too.

Thanks for reading.   

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Apr. 5, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Like you I have two boys with autism and like you I am HAPPY! My boys fill my world with so much amazement . . . we are blessed.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story :o)

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Apr. 5, 2011 at 11:51 AM

At this point I am crying. I am crying because my son had speach problems, acted as though he couldn't hear our words couldn't grasp our words. He had dozens of ear infections and blocked tubes constantly, even though he passed all his hearing tests the doctors were SURE his speach problem was due to his ears and his infections.  I knew it was a sign of Autism but since NO ONE else but my mom had that suspicion I didn't think anymore about it.
I cry because for the first three years of his life my son couldn't come up with the words to speak to me, and I think that had I known more then had anyone said something to me I would have had things taken care of before this point.

Children are special, and wonderful gifts from God.  But I think children with Autism are just a little more than special, and I think they are sent to us to help everyone see the world a little differently than we normally would.
I loved your journal, thanks for making me cry...but its a good cry for sure!

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Apr. 5, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Sorry for making you cry!  :) Thanks for the compliments and I really appreciate your kind words. 

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Apr. 6, 2011 at 12:49 AM

That touch my heart so much.  I have a daughter Imani with Pdd.  I am trying to get her the proper placement at school.  but I am not sure all of the therapies that she will need. But I was looking for something cheerful and fill of hope..thanks for sharing!

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