Friday, April 15, 2011


Ryan had just turned four when his preschool teacher told me there was something wrong with him. I was shocked. What was wrong? Wrong with MY child? I asked her explain to me what she meant.

Lack of eye contact.


Going into his own world.


Speaking in his own language. Babbling.


Not making friends.

My heart sank. Didn't all kids have these issues? How could my son not be normal?
There can't be anything wrong with him. She's wrong. I asked her, my voice breaking, "What do you think is wrong with him?" She said she couldn't diagnose him, she was just a teacher but she had seen it before. "Well, what was it called with the other children you have had?" She didn't want to say it. "Please, just tell me!" I begged her.


The word. This one word would send me on a rollercoaster for years.

I went home and ordered every book I could find on Amazon. I cried. I ate. I prayed. I tried to think back to see how I missed this. I didn't breathe for months. I couldn't.

I found a doctor with U of M who was starting his own practice and we made his first appointment. I decided I would do everything anything to fix my son.
I cried myself to sleep many nights. My baby. My perfect baby. We started the GFCF diet, we did supplements, daily B-12 shots, occupational therapy, physical therapy...anything I could find, I tried. We saw a neurologists who looked at him for thirty minutes and said PPD-NOS possibly Asperger syndrome. The world was spinning.

The school district did an evaluation and they said he should also do speech therapy and try the district autistic preschool program. I agreed to come visit with Ryan. It was one of the most difficult mornings of my life. Ryan and I sat in a circle with over twenty "autistic kids". A few were strapped in chairs, some wore helmets. Ryan went into a corner with one of the boys and he started to mimic the boy banging his head on the floor. Tears started falling down my face. Was this going to be my new reality? My heart hurt. My brain hurt.
A few weeks later I sat down with the school district early learning "team" to discuss an IEP for Ryan. They were suggesting that he go into the autistic program full time. I sat silent. Listened to the reasons why. Cried. Left. Cried more.

I prayed more.

Cried more. Cried until all the tears ran out.

I finally decided that I didn't agree with the IEP. I wouldn't sign it. They told me they wanted Ryan to "raise the level of the class". I wanted someone to raise him up. He needed peer models.

We went back to the doctor at U of M and I told him I was ready for the next step in treatment. He said we can do the HBOT therapy or a few ADHD medications that sometimes help. HBOT was thousands of dollars and our savings had already went to books, special diets and the therapy our insurance wouldn't cover. We tried the medicine and changed diets and tweaked supplements.

We moved into a bigger house. I put him in a small private school. He stopped doing the physical therapies and I instead put him into Tae Kwon Do.
That next summer a miracle happened. It worked. Something worked. Something clicked.
When I went to meet Ryan's teacher when school started I gave her Ryan's history. I explained his diagnosis. She had experience with "special needs" and I really felt she could help him. A few weeks after school started there was a sealed note in Ryan's folder. I thought for sure it was a letter saying he could no longer be in regular classes. It was a birthday invitation. I took a deep breath.

At parent teacher conferences I was again nervous. I started to lose my breath again. She smiled. Here it comes, I thought to myself. I asked her how he was doing. She took a moment and said you know, if you hadn't told me his diagnosis I wouldn't have known. I almost fell off my chair. "Well, that's good. He's making friends?" I asked. Yes, he is. Good friends. "He is looking at them? Playing with them? Interacting?" Yes, Yes, Yes. Wow. Ok. "Well, what about educationally?" She set down a paper. It was a list of all the educational goal markers. He was at or above them all. I burst into tears. Literally. A sobbing mess.

It hasn't been easy. Sometimes he still has "ticks" or emotional melt downs that take time to work through but he is doing SO WELL. Today he brought home a school report card with a note from the principal. He got two "4s" and the rest "3s".
His teacher comments were that he is "a wealth of knowledge" and doing well in all areas academically.

I am not writing this to brag or to say I have answers, because I certainly don't. I love my son and I'm proud of him no matter what his diagnosis or an IEP says. I am writing this because my son is a miracle. My baby who they told me might never speak without mumbles or have friends or be in regular classes is doing all those things. All miracles to me.

I'm simply amazed.

Amazed that God gave me this special and sweet boy to be my son.


erica said...

his kindergarten teacher is bunches of awesomeness!!!! caterina had her in the special needs preschool in oxford, i don't think i even know enough words to express how much her and the rest of the teachers n the program meant to me!!!! ryan, you are a special and wonderful little boy!!! you make your momma so proud!!!!

Kila Cox said...

How wonderful! What an answer to prayer!! God works in mysterious ways....I'm so happy for you; if I were with you I'd give you a big hug! Love~Kila

Nancy said...

Josie, you are a wonderful mother and Seth is such a terrific influence on Ryan. Ryan is one terrific little boy. I love you all!

Suzi Scott said...

Ryan is an awesome kid! He sure made friends with my boys when they were at your house. They just loved playing with him! Good for you for getting him help and trying everything you could! What a great mom!