At so many times throughout this process with Cooper I have begged for someone to tell me what to do. Was I doing the right things? The right kinds of therapy? Was I doing too much or too little? I guess I needed someone to reassure me that this was going to be alright…
And then you will wonder if you should get a diagnosis…whatever it may be? Throughout all of this my husband wanted to know ‘what’ was wrong with Cooper. Why was he different? And trust me, I wanted to know too but deep down I wasn’t ready. I spoke with a friend about Cooper and she told me to not rush a diagnosis. These kids are still so young and they are growing and changing every day. Once you get a diagnosis it can stick with them….whether it’s accurate or not.
As Cooper neared age three I realized how right she was. Cooper was improving every single day. And thank God for that but there were situations that were still really difficult for him. Whenever we near his doctors office for example he turns into a full blown maniac. And he exhibits Autistic qualities. Evaluations are also really hard for him because he can’t sit still. I have had a few people throughout this journey tell us that Cooper was autistic after meeting him one time. I bet you can guess what I wanted to tell those people. But I just took it and cried for days.
Here is the advice I have for you mom or dad or grandparent. Trust yourself. Trust your child. And have faith. Be patient and let your child grow. Do everything you can to help them but also let them be little. Listen. Laugh with them. Tickle them and snuggle them. Be silly. Find out what they love and do it with them. And don’t try and change them. Because it won’t work and it will devastate you in the process. And lastly, have hope.
I am no expert in any of this and it seems like the ‘game’ changes daily but I will tell you that I feel like we’ve finally found a good team to help us. And that is the key. Reading blogs from other moms also saved my life.
I share a lot of Cooper’s story on Instagram. I feel very comfortable showing a glimpse into our lives. I often post using the hashtag #thisisautism
FindingCoopersVoice has been featured on Break The Parenting Mold! Check out these posts:
Cooper hasn’t been diagnosed with Apraxia yet but he does have some Apraxic signs.
Click HERE for a list of Signs and Symptoms of Apraxia.
The Late Talker: What To Do If Your Child Isn’t Talking Yet?
Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia.
Join the Apraxia Group on Facebook. The group is called: APRAXIA-KIDS – Every Child Deserves A Voice. This group changed my life. These parent’s are all like you and me. And they’ve been and done it all. Get to know them and use them as a resource.
When it came to Autism the actual word scares me. I would be scared to even say it out loud. I new something was ‘different’ about Cooper but my mommy gut told me it wasn’t autism. But, honestly, deep down, I didn’t know.
As I mentioned, I was too scared to mention Autism to Cooper’s doctor. Right or wrong, it was the truth. It was too overwhelming. When I told my fears to Cooper Speech Therapist she recommended that I take the online version of the M-chat. Click for the Modified Checklist For Autism In Toddlers. I liked this option. I could do it in private. Yes, I had to set up an account but no one contacted me. I have taken it several times for Cooper. Disclaimer…This is NOT a yes or no answer or a diagnosis. Just use it as a guide.
I am a blog nut. They have got me through so many hard times. Here are a few of my most recent favorites:
http://flappinessis.com/ : I love this blog. I can’t tell you how much this blog helped me.
Hearing Loss Resources
When Cooper was diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss I honestly didn’t know where to turn. I was blindsighted. The diagnosis never sat right with me. I googled like a crazy person looking for an answer. And for hope that his future was going to be okay.
I ended up finding Hands and Voicies. Click HERE to for more information. While I didn’t have the ‘best’ experience with them I ‘do’ think that they are an amazing resource. Contact them. They can offer support and put you in touch with other parents.
Also, check out No Small Thing: This blog helped me!
Call your school district and get an evaluation of your child. Click HERE to read my thoughts about evaluations. The school district can’t diagnose a child. Remember this! But, they can give you resources. In Minnesota this is called the Help Me Grow program. For us this was the first step.
Talk to your pediatrician. They usually aren’t experts in things like Apraxia but they can get you going in the right direction.
Find other MOMS! I couldn’t do play groups with Cooper. He wasn’t ready and often they made me very sad. But I could find other moms online. I even found some in my community, Keep talking and keep fighting. Don’t give up!
And lastly, email me if you have questions!