Sunday, November 25, 2007
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS
This is my grandson Spencer. He's five-years-old, but acts more like three. He's been diagnosed with GDD with Autistic tendencies. Until you see him flap his arms or hear his stimming noises while he plays, you might think he's quite normal. In some ways, he is. He loves to be loved.
Did you know that ten years ago, Autism was diagnosed in 1 in 10,000 children and today it's more like 1 in 150. Doctors don't know what has caused the sudden flare in numbers, but researchers believe it has something to do with the MMR vaccine given to our children. Of course doctors are still insisting that it's 'genetic' so who do we believe. Something had to cause such a drastic increase in numbers.
I thank the Lord that Spencer isn't affected with complete and encompassing autism. The stories of those children locked within themselves is heartbreaking. Although all of Spencer's growth milestones have been delayed, his speech has been the most affected. When I first started as his care-giver, I experienced how heart breaking it was to try to communicate with him, to deal with the frustration in his eyes when he couldn't make me understand what he wanted, but thank goodness, he's putting more and more words together every day. To see the joy on his face when I 'get' his meaning, is the greatest gift a grandmother could ever get. I pray every night that he'll keep improving and someday mainstream into regular classes at school. I remember the stigma attached to those in special classes, and I don't want him to suffer that.
I'm angry. Why? Because of circumstances I can't control. Last year he was in a wonderful pre-kindergarten class that helped him make such great progress. I had great hopes for him, but this year, because of his age, he had to move on and now he's regressing. His delays and disability aren't as serious as the children with whom he spends his days with, and now he mimics what they do. How do I teach him not to bang his head, to make strange noises or spin in circles? He's such a loving little boy and I want to make a difference in his life. I want him to be considered and treated like a normal child. But the schools aren't equipped to deal with all the different spectrums of the autism umbrella.
I can't consider homeschooling because I'm not equipped to teach him. So what do I do besides pray. I do that every night. Right now, he's learning to say his name and I'm waiting for the day when he can respond to all those people who notice what a loving little guy he is and ask him for it. Spencer Charles Jones He's the light of my life.