Thursday, September 25, 2014

gRowing up

It's been a while since I've posted, but A LOT has happened. Gio finished his last school year strong, learning how to follow instructions in a group setting and being social. We had some concerns there for a while because he was very anti-social, getting weird habits (like not liking blue socks or having to drink from certain cups or needing to sit in a certain chair), and he is sentive to certain sounds. It's not that it had just started happening, it was just that I had started paying more attention to how often it happened and it was becoming more noticeable. He wasn't very good with eye contact either especially when someone was talking directly to him. So I had talked to my cousin, who's son has Autism, and he suggested I get him evaluated. Although it wasn't very extreme, it didn't hurt to talk to his doctor. So I made an appointment immediately. I started doing research on kids with double diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism and was very overwhelmed and intimidated. Both of my mom and Gio's dad's mom went with me to the evaluation to give their input. The evaluation was quicker than I expected.The psychologist gave me good news at the end, that although she did have some concerns she didn't feel Roberto was Autistic. She explained that Autism and Down Syndrome have many similar characteristics and that it gets difficult to say a child has both. She said her main reasoning for saying he wasn't Autistic was how affectionate he was towards me. The lack of eye contact was concerning, but she told me that if I worked with him he could eventually learn to make eye contact especially when something is directed to him. His senstivity to sounds and people may not go away, but we can work with him so that he learns to cope with his surroundings. She said he was adorable and from what she saw he was making good progress. The only BUT she really gave me was that because he is mentally around 18-24 months she didn't want to completely eliminate the possibility that he could be Autistic. Autism usually starts showing up around the ages of 2-3 so she wanted to re-visit with us after his 4th birthday and see how he was doing, but she said that as long as we kept up the good work she felt he would stick with the single diagnosis.

That was back in April/May, and since then Gio has done so much better, socially. We visited my family in Mexico and even though he is usually shy with people he doesn't know, he hugged and kissed everyone he met as though he knew them all his life. He did not have one tantrum the two weeks we spent there and he played with everyone. He ate very well and wasn't stressed over his surroundings. I was so worried he would panic about being away from home and his routine, but he was perfect. He had a lot of fun, and even while we were on the rode he behaved very well. He had his moments, but they were not what I expected.

He started school August 19. He is in the special education classroom for preschoolers. The first day he was a little shocked and scared about going. His dad and I dropped him off and he went in without crying. He looked so grown when he walked out of the classroom holding his folder with his name and he said goodbye to his teacher and blew her a kiss. The next day was harder he cried and held on to me when he saw his teacher and cried because he didn't want to go. After that, everyday he will say hello to his teacher, grab her hand, and say bye to me. They teach him sign language so that's awesome! I taught him how to say "I love you" in sign language, and he's learned how to say water, ball, play, book, and car. His teacher has told me that he is very shy in the classroom, but that little by little she is seeing more of his personality and he is stepping out of his shell. He had his first homework assignment, and I was way more excited than him lol. It was to make a little poster about him. Things he likes, his family, his favorite movies. I think his dad and I had more fun than he did.

I'm very excited for what this school year will bring. The sign language makes me feel confident that soon my son will be communicating with me. I want to hear about his day in school. My sister asked me the other day "Does Gio have any friends at school?" I hope he does. That would make me very proud and just overall happy. (:

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