As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t feel that I need a reason as to why Autism occurs. My boys were both diagnosed within one month of each other at age 2. It was confusing. I knew that the boys were hard to handle but, I figured that things would get easier eventually. Having twins is hard, in general, and I was a first-time mom. I thought the boys were perfectly “normal” because I had no point of reference. The first time a doctor mentioned the words “developmental delay” the boys were 18 months old. I did not realize, at that time, that we were facing Autism. I didn’t know much about Autism. I started researching the disorder. What I found was hard to process. I was scared! I was in denial. Some of the stories I read online were terrifying. I kept thinking that this could not be real. I was sure that my kids were not anything like the descriptions of other children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I was wrong.
We were offered early intervention at the age of 18 months, which we turned down at first. I dismissed the doctor’s concerns for about 6 months. At age 2 we started the process of getting the tests done that would ultimately lead to the diagnoses of ASD. Early intervention meant that we had a therapist who would come to our house each week. This was very helpful. We had hearing tests done and participated in genetic testing. The boys both passed their hearing tests, and no genetic abnormalities were found. I was relieved about these findings. It took another 6 months to complete the steps required to obtain an official diagnosis. There was no doubt that both boys was on the spectrum.
This is when we found out that the twins needed a lot of therapy, as soon as possible. Our early intervention therapist continued to come to our home each week until the boys turned 3. We started Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) at 2 and a half . Each child was in therapy for 15 hours per week in the beginning. Things were finally starting to get easier. We had support for the first time. ABA was eventually increased to 30 hours per child per week. This is when our world completely changed. We created daily routines for the boys, which gave our family-life some structure. This is very important for children with ASD. They need to know what is happening next. This helps the child easily transition from one activity to another. A rigid routine also helped reduce tantrums. Life was definitely getting better.
As all of this was going on the question “Why?” was always lurking in the back of my mind. There are A LOT of theories out there. I was researching constantly. What I found is that there is no definitive answer. What there is, is an enormous amount misinformation out there about ASD causes. We know, for sure, that vaccinations did not cause ASD. This theory was debunked. But, there are still a lot of people who believe that vaccinations cause Autism because of heavy metals in the injection. I think there are other theories that make more sense. I will get into that in another post. I found that asking “Why?”, when there is no answer will make a parent crazy.. Time is of the essence when dealing with ASD. Therapy needs to start as young as possible. Spending one’s time trying to find a reason “Why?” is a waste. Time is precious and valuable for children with ASD. I, as a parent, have to focus all of my energy into getting the boys as much therapy as possible. I have to become educated on how to advocate for my children. The fact is that I am a special-needs parent. This is a full-time job. I have to embrace my situation. I am totally making an amazing life for my children. Regardless of “Why?”, I have moved forward. I know that leaving the questions behind will be a great accomplishment on my parenting journey. I will not look back. I will fight for my children without an answer, and I will succeed without an answer. This will make all the difference.
The MIllennial Twin Mom