Our son, Draven, was diagnosed with autism when he was 7, about four years ago. He also has an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD), which made the diagnoses process complicated.
Helping Draven be successful has had a huge learning curve for me and my husband. It has been a process that, at different times, is either successful or horrible.
Draven hardly talks. When he does, it is very quiet and often unable to be heard. We have learned to use pictures and apps that help him communicate his wants and needs.
He loves his routine. And when something is off, he lets everyone know. We try hard to keep his routine. But we also know that he must learn that things do not always go the way we want it to. Finding that balance is something that we are still working on.
Draven is very sensitive to crowds, loud noise, and certain textures. Planning family outings or vacations can be a bit of a challenge.
We recently went to Dallas to see a specialist and wanted to plan some fun things for our family to do. Draven loves LEGOS, and we thought LEGOLAND would be a great treat.
Oh, how we were wrong!
As soon as he walked in, you could see him withdraw and pull into his shell. (Several years ago, my husband noticed that when Draven gets overwhelmed, he is like a turtle pulling into his shell. We have used that description ever since.)
He did not want to look at the displays or play any of the games. He wanted out! It was probably the shortest visit to LEGOLAND in history.
Life is a lot of trial and error, but we never give up trying. The Family Support section provides lots of information and help for parents of children with disabilities.
After making the difficult decision to medicate your child, with time and on occasions, old symptoms return or new ones appear. Once again, you’re faced with what felt like an already-made decision - to medicate higher or more, or not.