Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween this year was not a whole heck of a lot of fun, but hopefully as our kids get older things will greatly improve.  

I didn't get a single picture taken of the kids on Halloween.  Justin left work about a half hour early so we could take the kids to our neighbors before it went too far past the twins' bedtime.  Sadly, traffic was horrible, so instead of getting home a half hour earlier than normal he got home a half hour later than normal.  I had all the kids in costumes and was trying to keep the peace while we waited for Daddy to make it home.  Pretty much as soon as he made it home we walked back out the door and since we had no one here to take the picture of us holding the babies to keep them from crying, no pictures from that night.  Luckily, I took pictures of the kids before Halloween.

Joel is in the Pooh outfit - Jeremy is in the Tigger outfit.  (How did we decide who would be what?  I decided based on how many letters are in their names).

Jacob was Scooby Doo, thanks to our good friends who lent us a costume for him.

Jacob and I at our ward Trunk or Treat - too bad they didn't even start it until 7pm so he was super tired while we were there.

We did get Halloween pajamas for each of the boys.

I really wanted to find another skeleton outfit for the babies.  I really thought it would be easy to find one really similar, if not completely identical, to the one I had for Jacob 2 years ago.  No such luck.  So the babies had to take turns being a skeleton.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Jacob

I started a very detailed post about Jacob, but I think I will never publish it.  I am chronicling what the past year has been like with him and it is therefore super detailed, I think more detailed than anyone but I need.  But I think I do need it.  However, I have decided to publish a cliff notes version because I think it is also important for others to have some type of idea of the challenges that we have faced with our oldest son.

We started working with ECI right at the beginning of the year, but nothing really happened for 6 months.  When Jacob was 2.5 we took him in with us to the babies' 4 month check-up and floored our doctor with Jacob's lack of speech or even communication in general as well as his strange behavior (for his age at least).  She said that she would contact ECI and "light a fire" but she also recommended we contact a private speech therapist as well as developmental specialist.

Upon taking him to the speech therapist, I was brought to reality on how bad things are with Jacob.  Since he is my oldest child I really had nothing to compare him to.  I knew he should be talking, but it was everything else that I didn't realize was so wrong.  I'm sure that other people have seen with their children that even before they could talk, they were communicating.  Pointing to things they wanted, going to the fridge if they wanted milk, etc.  Jacob didn't do ANY of that.  If he wanted something he whined.  If he didn't get it soon enough, he would bang his head.  It was (many times, still is) a guessing game to know what he wants/needs - is he hungry, thirsty, tired?  Pretty much anyone else's guess is as good as mine.  It was also pointed out to me that he didn't play with toys the way kids his age should, or interact with people the way he should.

I was told that Jacob needed ABA Therapy (which turns out is SUPER expensive and isn't covered by our insurance).  That he needed at least 3-4 speech sessions a week and better yet, he should be enrolled in a special school for kids with speech problems (again - SUPER expensive).  Words like "AUTISM" started being spoken for the first time ever, and other words we had heard before like "SENSORY ISSUES".

Talk about overwhelming.  And upsetting.  And stressful.

Things with ECI really turned around at this point though.  Maybe our pediatrician was able to talk to someone about how they weren't doing anything for Jacob.  I'm not sure.  But we suddenly went from 1 visit a week from a developmental specialist, to 3-4 visits a week.  One from our developmental specialist, another with her and a behavioral specialist, one from a speech therapist and a visit every other week from an occupational therapist.  

And we went from Jacob making no progress to seeing some results.  First and foremost - Jacob started talking!!!  His language skills are still about a year or so behind, but considering only 4 months ago he was 2 years behind, we are making real progress.  The head banging is still a problem, but it is nothing compared to what it was when he had a permanent goose egg and bruise on his forehead.  

We still have a lot to work on with his speech and his overall behavior.  There are things that we wonder - does he not understand us, or does he act like he doesn't understand?  And we really need him to get to the point where he asks for things he wants instead of just throwing a fit.

This Friday I am taking Jacob to the school (public school) so they can evaluate him to see if he qualifies to be in the preschool program for kids with developmental delays.  We REALLY NEED him to be in this program.  He needs to be immersed in a program.  And he needs to be around other kids more (since when he is around other kids he doesn't play with them).  And because Jacob is such a high needs kid, I need him to be in this program.  I need to have some time away from him everyday, so I can appreciate the time that I do have with him.