Thursday, January 10, 2013

Answers & Judging Others

My "Flower"
I should probably have written this post first.  

I do not have all the answers when it comes to autism, disabilities, special education, or child rearing in general.  I do not judge parents who have taken other approaches and made other choices.  As long as we keep trying to make educated decisions for our children, no one has the right to judge.  

What worked for us might not work for your child.  We never had "head banging" as an issue.  I can't even begin to imagine how I would have dealt with it.  Thirteen years ago my only knowledge of autism was the movie "Rainman" and I could imagine having a child with special needs.  As parents, our lives change in an instant once a delay is identified.

I have made mistakes with Gabe.  Major mistakes that cost $150,000 and two major surgeries to fix.  Gabe was a toe-walker.  We listened to all the experts and taught him to "walk correctly".  When we forced him off his toes it sent all of his bones out of alignment.  Turns out his toe-walking had next to nothing to do with his autism and sensory issues and everything to do with his Achilles Tendon being too short.  Lengthening the tendon would have been relatively minor compared to the bone grafts and pins needed to give him an arch again.

All that pain, all that time lost from his 7th grade school year, two years of football missed because no one had made the connection between the toe-walking and tendon length.  It took three doctors before we found someone who recognized the issues and referred us to the most wonderful foot surgeon, Dr. Leonard Janis.  I am also extremely grateful we found him before he retired!

Lesson learned: Do not assume that something is a product of the disability.  Check for other possibly serious causes.

Toe-Walking: Check the Achilles Tendon length!
Amazon.com: Striving for Independence: Ways to Help Children with Disabilities Learn to Function More Indepedently eBook: Kristan Payne: Kindle Store