Monday, March 25, 2013

Reach for a Difference- May 2013 Newsletter

Hi! My name is Alyssa, I am the proud mother of two wonderful little boys! Destin, 1 ½ years old and Malakai, 2 ½ years old. I am originally from Pennsylvania, but the military brought my family to Texas. I am a proud military wife, stay at home mom, dabbler in the arts, and a special needs advocate. Why? Because I was blessed with some very special children.
            Destin is currently receiving services from ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) for a possible sensory processing disorder and some attachment issues. Kai receives a lot more. We were told when he was 1 ½ that he was moderately autistic and had a sensory processing disorder.
            Kai has always been a little behind, even at birth. He hit 9lbs, was a week over due, and wasn’t budging. This being my first child, I worried to no end every time something went wrong. He was jaundice and had to be retested. He failed his first hearing test and had to be retested. However, everything turned out just fine, …for about a year.
            Around the time of Kai’s 1 year check up, we started noticing that he wasn’t hitting any of the milestones his doctor was expecting of him. This paired with the fact that he’d yet to be on the growth chart since birth, we became alarmed. We took him everywhere we could think of, from pediatricians, genetics, gastroenterologists, labs, nutritionists and an autism specialist. When we received the news of his sensory processing disorder and autism, we got him enrolled at West Texas Rehab for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
            Since then, he has had an mri of his corpus callosum with no problems found. He has seen a knee specialist, where we learned he has joint laxity. He has received ankle braces, called SMO’s, for major rolling of the ankles. He also got enrolled with ECI and started riding horses, and started feeding therapy, for hyposensitivity of the mouth. In the very near future he will be receiving a final diagnosis from the Child Studies Center, as well as a neuropsychology exam. He will also be seeing genetics for more testing. So far we have, sensory processing disorder/ tactile defensive, moderately autistic/ nonverbal, possible auditory processing disorder, joint laxity/ ankle braces, and hyposensitivity of the mouth. We will continue to work very hard at West Texas Rehab and ECI and at equine therapy, and then he will start school in August with the PPCD program!
            I worked as an assistant teacher for 3 years when I lived in Pa. I had worked with multiple special needs children and I often questioned how the parents did it, how they managed day to day, and how they got through it all. I never could have imagined, I’d be one of those parents. Seeing my children go through such hard battles was so hard. As we had no family around, we got through it on our own. I did well for a while, but the long days and long nights, constant running from appointment to appointment, hours and hours of research and calls to doctors looking for answers and advice, it truly takes a toll on a person. For this reason, a few people who knew each other, or knew of each other, including myself, decided to create our own support group. This is how The Spectrum Connection came to be. But I wanted more. I needed to get as much information as I could. I started attending every meeting and seminar I knew of in the Abilene area. That is how I found Reach for a Difference.
            When I walked into my first Reach meeting, I was nervous. I sat, looking around at all the faces, not knowing a single one, and felt just as alone as always. That’s when, what I later learned was the president of this organization, came up and introduced himself. He was so nice and welcoming, I felt right at home. It was such a meaningful meeting, packed with so much information, and love! I knew I had found my calling. I couldn’t be happier and there aren’t enough words to show my true gratitude to the members of this Reach team, but I am thankful. Blessed and oh so thankful. I look forward to taking on a position here at Reach for a Difference, where I know, I too, can make a difference.

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