If One Was Fun, Two Is Even Better, Right?

So, time to fill in the blanks here on the blog.  As our family and close friends, and anyone who got our Christmas letter this last year knows, Thumper was formally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in December 2014.

Happy Thumper laughs

The first red flags were thrown in April of that year, when Thumper did his 12 month old research assessment – the one for siblings of already diagnosed kids.  While all of his motor skills were coming along at a normal pace, his communication skills came up short.  But because we work with some great people, they immediately got us into another research program, which gave Thumper free intensive therapy for 3 months (while I did plenty of homework), and then followed him for another 3 months (while I continued doing more homework).

He got his formal diagnosis right as he was turning 18 months old.  We immediately turned to the local “birth to three” services program and got him enrolled there just over a year ago.  The diagnosis was again confirmed by the infant brain study program when he turned two (and we got a trip to Utah that time).  And we also put our name on the waiting list for the next available ABA therapist at the UW Autism Center (where Tad goes) that could start ABA with him.  This summer, Thumper got his own therapist, and has been working weekly with her ever since.

The change in Tad’s schedule meant a change in Thumper’s schedule as well.  I had both boys in therapy sessions at the same time on Fridays.  But asking Thumper to really cooperate on a late Tuesday afternoon (when he really should be napping) would mean some pretty unproductive therapy sessions.  So, as much as I hated to do it, I scheduled the boys on different days.  Yes, that means twice the driving.

Thumper now sees his therapist on Wednesdays, while the other three are all at school.  This is an appointment he will be able to keep until he starts kindergarten.  When he turns 3, he will start attending the same preschool that Tad and Rerun did.  So he will be in school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  They have Wednesdays off.  Which means no schedule conflict for ABA.  (Sometimes, I think ahead about these things.)

We also got Thumper a “behavior technician” who works with him while Tad is at his ABA session.  She plays with Thumper on her own, takes notes, and works with his therapist to support what he is doing during the ABA sessions.  We’ve also got the “birth to three” people (an educational specialist and a speech therapist) coming to the house once a week (they trade off).

We’re doing all those things that we could have done for Tad, if we’d known what we were doing.  I’m hoping and praying that they make a positive difference for Thumper.  We’re giving him a heavy dose of early intervention therapy now, in the hopes that it changes the course of his brain development.

Thumper is SO VERY DIFFERENT than Tad.  Tad had almost no language (without heavy prompting) at this age.  Thumper has language – but he is stubborn.  He will repeat individual words and can follow verbal cues.  But apparently putting two words together to form a sentence or phrase is for losers, if you ask him.  He just won’t do it.  The only words he strings together with any regularity is “Star Wars,” and that’s because he thinks of it as a single word.  He does say “Hi baby,” because I have said it to him, and “hi” and “baby” are words he uses independently of each other.  He has a budding inclination to script (I can deal with that), and there are times where he just busts out in a long string of conversational jargon.  He is quite clearly trying to communicate, but he must be doing it in Jawa or Ewok, because I need subtitles.  And unlike Tad, he does not “shut down” when restrained.  Thumper is highly opinionated.  If I drive in a direction he doesn’t want to go, he screams.  If his music ends, he screams.  If he doesn’t want to go to bed, he screams.

He does a lot of screaming.  Take the terrible twos, add autism, and shake.  It’s loud.

But he is oh, so loveable.  So affectionate.  He wants love and hugs.  He wishes to be glued to me at all times.  He knows all his siblings by name.  He calls the dog by name.

We are going to do our absolute best for him.

One Response to “If One Was Fun, Two Is Even Better, Right?”

  1. Nana
    January 14th, 2016 21:50

    The last line says it all.