Imitation was a super hard skill for us to learn. I’m not sure why but anytime I sang or made a funny face, my son would just look at me puzzled and then get bored and walk away. Like “Mom…you look weird…is that it…okbai.” I just couldn’t figure out how to help him learn to imitate. I memorized every nursery rhyme I forgot since childhood (because it had been replaced by all the lyrics to every Queen and Tom Petty song), but to no avail.
Then I found a wonderful video series on YouTube called Super Simple Songs. Each video segment lasts about an hour and showcases the best nursery rhymes accompanied by colorful cartoons or puppets.
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My son is always holding something; a toy car, a ball, his blanket, a puzzle piece. We thought it was so adorable that wherever we went, he would find a “treasure” as we called it. The first time we went to a park, he found a tiny piece of tree bark and carried it around all day and then into the car and on the way home.
After telling the charming story to my OT (Occupational Therapist), she told me that he was actually using these objects to help ground himself. It’s a technique taught to those with PTSD to assist keeping the individual in the present. For my son, it was helping with his sensory needs.
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As difficult as it is to gain a clear understanding of the Autism Spectrum when you’re a parent, it’s even harder attempting to explain the term to friends and family. Sometimes it’s thought of as a linear scale. When my son is having one of his “good days”, people have remarked that he doesn’t seem “that” autistic.
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I was lucky enough to become a mom in the summer of 2014 to a beautiful baby boy and he is absolutely the coolest person I have ever known. We were thick as thieves from the moment our eyes met, and in that brief moment of silence while we both caught our breath, I knew we could do anything together.
Just before he turned one, my husband and I realized his adorable quirky habits were preventing him from reaching a few milestones. Since my Mom is an OT (Occupational Therapist) I asked for her professional opinion regarding some of our concerns (even though the preceding 9 months I made her swear up and down she wouldn’t be an “OT Grandma”). With her advice, we had him tested for developmental delays. He was approved for Early Intervention (EI) services and later diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). And so began our amazing journey.
Continue reading “About K. Rielly”