Autism and Jovie
Jovie is currently 2 years and 9 months old, but we started seeing signs of her Autism as early as 13 months. (Maybe I even saw something earlier than that). She met her early milestones without any issues - crawling, sitting up, cruising and walking, feeding herself and making baby sounds but it never progressed from there. After her first birthday, she stopped feeding herself and we noticed she stopped flipping the pages of her books.
Before her second birthday, we started to ask questions and ultimately received her diagnosis at the Children's Hospital at Westmead in September 2011. Autistic Disorder, plus a Developmental Delay (on par with a 5 month old baby).
The diagnosis itself has been great in that we have something to focus on now. There's still so much to learn about, but we're onto a great start!My awesome sister helped me make a video about Jovie in October 2011.
Currently, Jovie sees her Occupational Therapist once a week, but we'll move to once a fortnight to make our budget stretch. Jovie will see a Speech Therapist soon also.
She's been accepted to a special child care centre for kids with Autism which will help her get into a school setting. Our aim is for her to be able to go to school without having to be so seperated from other kids.She's never had much interest in any toys (and still doesn't). She's never uttered a word but does make sounds. She can't walk or crawl up or down stairs and needs someone to dress her and brush her teeth and comb her hair. She's not toilet trained and can only communicate by crying or screaming (to which we have to guess what she needs). She grinds her teeth and scratches herself and everyone constantly. She doesn't attempt to play with other kids, but we are seeing small glimpses of interest in her brother Jasper :)
Apart from Autism and her Developmental Delays, Jovie is an amazingly happy and sweet little girl. She loves her brother and loves her food. She's healthy and loves to giggle. She loves Hi-5 and The Wiggles but her favourite is Yo Gabba Gabba. She walks and runs and does seem to love to 'dance' to music. She loves car rides and loves her books again. (She will spot a book in any huge room, no matter how many toys or other distractions around!). She's a great sleeper and sleeps in her own big girl bed, in her own room.
We are supported as a family by our friends, new and old.Our short term dreams for Jovie is for her communication to improve - whether that's a word spoken, or just a definate recognition of our words to her. You never realise how important it is until you have to work so hard for it. We've got a long way to go but we're on the road now and we're not giving up.
If you have any questions at all about Autism or Jovie, please get in touch via my blog.
I'm more than happy to guest blog or write a little article about living with Autism - whatever helps educate people about Autism a bit further than my own websites :) I write updates about Jovie and Autism on my blog here.