Saturday, 3 October 2015

"Well It's Not Autism!"

I ranted and rambled a lot in my previous post (it happens when I'm tired!) and if you stuck around long enough to read the whole thing - KUDOS TO YOU.
Thanks so much for all of your wonderful comments, thumbs up of support, sharing of my blog and for just being awesome.
It's not easy to be fairly raw in my feelings - but apparently being tired and waiting for my kids to fall asleep certainly help with that.

ANYWAY, I have some pretty friggin' awesome news.

We had been waiting for over a year for A-Man to get tested for autism (or something) because last year was a nightmare with him.
I get it - he was in the terrible 2's and quickly obtaining a black belt in terrorist 3's (as I lovingly call it) and we were so sure he had some level of autism. Or Asperger's.  Or somethingism because there's no way a neurotypical kid can have such a massive temper tantrum over this and that and everything in between.  And I mean really stupid petty crap!

So a bit about the A-Man:

He's almost 4 and mouthy, and has an attitude galore.
He's also funny, caring and sneaky and clever.
He can speak a bit, he's potty trained and is full of energy.
He's athletic, brave and crafty.

The reasons why we got him checked out were:
  • He couldn't seem to get ready when we asked him to and got easily distracted.
    • I'm talking about giving him 30-45 minutes warning and continuously reminding him to get dressed every 5-10 minutes.
  • Very defiant and he's a screamer.
    • We thought he might have ODD (opposite defiance disorder).
  • Got seriously upset if we broke routine - like moving away from the bus and he wanted to wave good-bye to it.
  • He was held back in his last day-care because he couldn't really speak a lot and the older group didn't have enough staff to handle him.
    • The staff in the youngest day-care group (where he was for 2 years and was the oldest child) - believe that his language may have been delayed as well because he was the oldest child the second time round.
  • His eating habits were nearly identical of his older brother, V-Man.  Yoghurt, crackers and bread or bananas but no other fruit, no meat and no vegetables.  Plain rice or plain pasta was okay.  No meat or fish.
    • But daycare food is great and awesome and he ate 3 portions at his last one and now at the new place, is willing to try new things on bread.  Just like V-Man did.
Well, we had those tests done where he met with an occupational therapist, a school specialist and a speech therapist and a doctor at the end - and they've finally come up with a diagnosis.

"Well, it's not autism!  We believe A-Man has SLI.  SLI means Specific Language Impairment."

The most beautiful sound other than a freshly born newborn crying - rang in my ears.

It's not autism.
I breathed a sigh of relief.

Now, before you jump down my throat bitching me out that:
  • "Autistic kids are a blessing."
  • "Autistic kids tend to be mega smart and have memories like elephants and can recite anything and everything" - I have yet to see that with the V-Man.  So I'm not expecting my kid to go viral because he can draw something from memory, recite scripts from Shrek, Cars etc.  Not that I have low expectations but I have realistic ones.
  • "You're lucky to have a second autistic kid because you've been through the ring once already (and continue to do so) - so you should be used to this."
  • "Why are you so happy it's not autism?!  It could be worse!"
I'll tell you why.
Having a second autistic child was seeming more and more likely because A-Man IS a boy and if you don't know the stats - boys are 4:1 more likely than girls to be autistic.
Anyway, having a second one wouldn't be the end of the world- no, but it would probably drive me insane.  My patience is near level 0 everyday it seems and I do get a break from the kids by going to class regularly!
Yes it could definitely be worse than autism - for sure - but I'm just personally glad it isn't and am entitled to feel such.
You don't have to live in our home where it's not a happy household when V-Man is home because the moment he's upset - he's slapping and pinching himself.  By "slapping himself" - I mean if you're not watching him do it - it sounds like an adult is slapping another in a movie.  You don't hear the moans, shouts and the screams.   You don't feel the tension, the pursuit for inner calm or feel the need for peace.

So this is what we now understand about SLI - because honestly we never heard of it prior to this appointment:
  1. "Specific language impairment (SLI) is diagnosed when a child's language does not develop normally and the difficulties cannot be accounted for by generally slow development, physical abnormality of the speech apparatus, autism spectrum disorder, acquired brain damage or hearing loss." - internet Google search
  2. He's at a comprehension level of a 2-year old or younger - in both Finnish and English.  His English understanding seems to be a bit stronger but still - he'll be 4 this month.
    1. He doesn't understand reasoning or instructions regardless if we put the prize first or the prize second.
      Example: "You can get a cookie if you wash your hands first" or "You have to wash your hands THEN you can get a cookie."
  3. His speech is the same.  2, max 3 words-long sentences in either language.
  4. He will most likely have difficulty with reading and writing when he starts going to school because his vocabulary is limited and he doesn't like when we read to him (as an example he'd rather point out what he knows in pictures and occasionally ask "what's that?").
What can we do as parents of a child with SLI?
  • Be more patient than the Pope.  Working on that one daily and trying not to shout so much at him because he simply doesn't understand.
  • Provide him a visual way of communicating - like picture boards for example.  Where he can "say" a sentence without having to say it. Where he can learn words and also express how he's feeling or what he wants.

A-Man's Communication Board he uses at day-care and at home for meal times.
  • Teach him sign language - which is a bit of an issue because Finnish and English sign language does differ!  However, he does seem to enjoy using these communication boards thankfully!
  • He'll be attending speech therapy weekly while at day-care.  And the fantastic part of this is that it's the same speech therapist as V-Man's.  So we have that wonderful connection with her already and adore Mrs. R.
People have been asking how we feel about having a diagnosis and we feel relieved!!!
It's just wonderful knowing that we weren't in fact crazy, it wasn't a phase, the terrible 2's/3's etc. and we weren't wasting the hospital's time (or ours).
And it totally fits the bill.  It explains his meltdowns, his frustrations, his delay in speech, his lack of vocabulary - all of it.

So that's been my week!

And I have big news for you.  I'll be starting a YouTube series soon!!
My classes end this month and I will be dedicating my bit of "vacation" towards blogging a heck of a lot more, promoting myself more here and there and also doing reviews!
And of course those YouTube videos as well! :)
My aim for the YouTube channel is to have some tutorials, reviews, Vlog on the go and see where it takes me. :)

Keep an eye here and I'll keep you updated!
Thanks as always,
xoxo BIMU


  1. Wow, these are good news! (if you think they're good, they're good.)
    Let's hope that with the diagnosis life gets more manageable for you all.
    Hugs from Australia!

    1. Thanks LL! I think it's awesome news!! :D
      Things have gotten a lot easier since finding out and I've noticed we're a lot calmer and we are learning how to handle his tempers better and prevent them faster as well!
      Have fun in hot Australia! :D