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Quirky Little BMJ (5 Years On...)

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#1 baddmammajamma

Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:39 AM

The last time I was "home" (original home of U.S.) for Christmas was 2007. My husband & I flew 21 hours from our then-home in Singapore to Charlottte, North Carolina, where my parents now live. While they cared for our 2-month-old son, we flew with our little daughter to Chicago in order to have her assessed for ASD.

She was just 28 months at the time, not showing the most glaring signs of ASD but struggling with certain things nonetheless.

A friend of mine from my Babycenter DIG had moved mountains to help us find someone over the Christmas holidays who could assess our daughter. So that's how we ended up in Chicago on Christmas Eve. We were scared, nervous, and anxious to get some answers...and I remember sobbing when the psychologist confirmed that ASD was part of our new reality.

Five years later (and a move to Sydney shortly after that Chicago trip), and years of great early intervention & the ongoing support of a lot of great people, our toddler who struggled with SO many things is a happy, thriving, still-very-quirky 7-year-old.

We are so grateful to the friend who had the guts to say "You ought to follow up your concerns with a professional." We are so grateful to the psychologist who was willing to squeeze us in yet still offer a gold standard assessment right before the holidays. We are so grateful that we could actually afford to make that journey, as there are a lot of other similarly situated families who are forced to wait too long for help for their kids.

So yeah, if I blather on EB about how important it is to get things properly checked out if you have concerns about your child -- ASD or otherwise -- it's because that trip to Chicago changed our lives for the better.

I am so proud of my daughter and am amazed at how far she has come. Prepare for the awesomeness to continue! cool.gif

Thanks for letting me brag/share my happy news.

Happy holidays, everyone!

2007 (in U.S.)

Book Parade 2012 -- Rock 'n roll pigeon costume, the star of a character from one of the stories she has written

Edited by baddmammajamma, 24 December 2012 - 07:29 AM.

#2 Superman+4sisters

Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:46 AM

She is just fabulous! TFS hheart.gif

And, like many others, we are listening to your message, and keeping a careful eye on one dd's 'quirks' - we will most definitely be getting them investigated if there's no positive response to our current plan original.gif

Edited by Superman+4sisters, 24 December 2012 - 06:49 AM.

#3 OneMore?

Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:58 AM

Oh she is beautiful original.gif

You do a fantastic job with educating people BMJ, and of course your daughter is lucky to have you as your mother.

I do have a question - what do you do when you come across resistance ? Just leave it and move along although you know you are going to watch the child struggle sad.gif

#4 Riotproof

Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:03 AM

Beautiful post, thanks BMJ.

#5 baddmammajamma

Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:16 AM

QUOTE (OneMore? @ 24/12/2012, 07:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do have a question - what do you do when you come across resistance ? Just leave it and move along although you know you are going to watch the child struggle sad.gif

It's tough, and there are kids I know in real life who are really struggling yet their parents just aren't ready (emotionally) to take that next step. I'm not a diagnostician (though most ASD mums/dads will tell you that their "radars" are pretty accurate), and I certainly can't force someone to take action.

It's actually a lot easier to influence people on EB because I and other parents can speak candidly (yet hopefully still with sensitivity) without risking the loss of a friendship or alienating a family member whose child appears to have issues worth investigating.

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. I really appreciate the support I've had from EB over the years!

#6 Therese

Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:06 AM

Look at your big girl! She's gorgeous.

Thanks for sharing your journey with EB BMJ. We are lucky to have you as part of our community.

#7 raven74

Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:11 AM

BMJ, she is beautiful and is going to totally rock her life.

#8 Canberra Chick

Posted 24 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

She looks great and your efforts on EB have helped many of us with quirky kids, even if they're not on the spectrum. Thank you.

#9 Sweet like a lemon

Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:08 PM


#10 ~Jot~

Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

Love this post BMJ! Your gorgeous girl sure has come a long way. That second photo is an absolute cracker! Thanks for all your wonderful informative posts throughout the year, and the invaluable support for parents on their journey for a diagnosis.

Wishing your family a wonderful Christmas.  xmas_cool.gif

#11 Madeline's Mum

Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:26 PM

BMJ, she is gorgeous and you are such a wonderful mother and friend. Thanks for the many years of awareness and education, your daughter is so lucky to have you for her mum!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year!

#12 gabbigirl

Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:32 PM

She is one lucky girl, thank you for all our posts throughout the year.  Wishing your family a wonderful Christmas.

#13 baddmammajamma

Posted 25 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

Thank you so much!

We've both come a long way. I struggled a lot in those early days as well. But as I look back over the past five years, I am so in awe of how hard she has worked to develop some skills that come so naturally to most other kids, and I love that she sees the world through such an unconventional lens. I am so proud to be her mom!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 25 December 2012 - 12:17 PM.

#14 ~*Amethyst*~

Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:22 PM

You deserve to be proud BMJ! You have done a wonderful job & I love the last photo of J.

Merry Christmas to you & all of your family.


#15 kabailz13

Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:35 PM

LOVE original.gif

Are the 'not so obvious' signs listed on your blog BMJ?

I love how passionate and open you are about ASD!

#16 baddmammajamma

Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:08 PM

QUOTE (kabailz13 @ 25/12/2012, 10:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are the 'not so obvious' signs listed on your blog BMJ?

Some of the "not so obvious" signs are on my blog piece, especially as they relate to girls with ASD (who often present differently than boys do).

Something I've mentioned several times on EB is that giftedness can mask ASD -- parents and teachers might think that a child's high IQ accounts for all of their quirks and sensitivities and challenges, when in reality, the child also has ASD.

There are some common red flags for ASD that virtually everyone seems to know: lack of eye contact probably topping the list. The trouble is, a child can have lousy eye contact and still have ASD...or vice versa. It drives me bonkers when I hear someone say "Does he make eye contact? If so, then you don't have to worry about autism."

Likewise, many people appreciate that lack of speech can be a red flag, but I don't think as many people realize that a child with ASD might be incredibly verbose -- he/she might have learned to speak early and speak in long, sophisticated sentences, so ASD is overlooked. But the real question is "How is the child using his/her speech?" At 3.5, my daughter could blow you away with a monologue on world dictators, but she couldn't answer a simple question asked of her, and she didn't participate in the "give and take" of conversation. Even today, she still finds that hard and prefers to dictate the terms of the conversation.

Another "not so obvious" sign can be differences in social interactions. Again, the common stereotype is that kids with ASD don't like people or aren't affectionate (an inaccurate stereotype in many instances). A lesser known red flag that you might see is when kids don't have a strong social gauge -- that is, they think EVERYONE is their friend or they are unusually affectionate. In my daughter's case, at a young age, she was comfortable engaging with adults (so we thought "Surely this can't be ASD!"), but she was really not interested in stuff her peers were doing. We'd be at Gymbaroo, and she would be the only kid not willing to do circle time -- she always had to be doing her own thing.

Just off the top of my head, other "not so obvious" ones I can think of:

* Intense interest/obsession with letters/numbers/symbols -- being more interested, say, in the serial number on a toy than the toy itself, fascination with number plates on a car, ability to "read" (de-code words without corresponding comprehension) at an unusually early age

* Hand leading in very young children -- using another person's hand to direct them to what the child wants, as opposed to pointing or trying to verbalize

* Strong reactions to smells, sounds, textures or sights, and under/overreaction to pain and discomfort

* Gross motor and/or fine motor issues

* Insistence on doing things the same way every time (e.g. taking the same driving route home)

Anyway, my little blog piece in my signature link lists some of the most common signs. I can't stress enough that if a child exhibits things from that list it doesn't necessarily mean the child has ASD. Conversely, a child with ASD might not tick every item on the list.

But if your child is having challenges or you notice differences between them and their peers when it comes to social and communications skills,  if you notice they have certain ritualistic or repetitive behaviors, and/or if they have sensory sensitivities, it is worth getthing things checked out by someone who truly understands the nuances of ASD (IMHO as an ASD mamma, not a specialst). original.gif

Edited by baddmammajamma, 26 December 2012 - 12:43 AM.

#17 rocketsurgeon

Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:33 AM

Aww she is just gorgeous xx

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