Aoen is my sweet 3 yr old little girl with a few quirks, one of them is Autism.
We live in Vancouver, Washington, they have no local resources for autism diagnosis and a little for treatment. We had to go to another state to seek a diagnosis and now to get treatment. We had her officially diagnosed so we can get disability, medical benefits, educational benefits and ongoing therapy. I took it upon myself and contacted private doctors to try and get diagnosis and received a range anywhere from an initial visit at $140 with $90 follow up visits to an in-depth evaluation of $1200. Autism is expensive!! Average cost is $60,000 a year if you have to pay for all medical treatment and care. We were able to get a diagnosis finally due to diligence, people who really cared and embraced our cause. Aoen was Diagnosed thanks to donations to her autism fund on July 10, 2014 after a year of fighting, struggling, not listening to those who said she would eventually be "normal", grow out of it and I was over reacting. It's crazy when FINALLY got diagnosed!!! I wasn't devastated like a lot of parents, I already knew. I just saw it as the beginning, the start to an amazing journey and the first step to helping my daughter.
We had to go through not 1 but 2 more evaluations! First for Disability and the second for Kaiser to get services. So she has had 3 separate diagnosis's at this time.
As of now at 3 yrs old, she has HF ASD, aka high functioning autism spectrum disorder,SPD aka sensory processing disorder, language articulation disorder as well as developmental language delay, sorry no abbreviations for those that I know lol In the special needs community everything is an abbreviation of some sort . She is a sensory seeker aka adrenaline junky and has Echolalia, repetitive speech patterns. She memorizes phrases from movies/shows sometimes and repeats a lot of what you ask instead of using her own words, like a little parrot lol Aoen can be self harming and has a lot of physical aggression when she is over stimulated, even if it just her way of playing, she gets rough and will not stop even if she is causing harm to the other person. She is small now and still can do some serious damage, I can't imagine what it will be like when she is big!
She is a little superstar and loves attention! Her personality is HUGE!! Her surface skills are amazing! She just gets lost sometimes with social interactions but she is working hard and I am so proud of her!!!
So far we've tried a gluten free diet, as well as a mostly dairy/casein free diet but found it only worked really well for about 6 months then it just didn't. So now she is still on a limited dairy diet due to digestion issues and we just try and work with the other portion of her diet best as we can. As with most ASD kids she is an unpredictable eater. One day she like something the next she doesn't and she has a limited palette due to the sensory issues to help it out even more. Not to mention she's 3...people fail to realize that little ones go through the "terrible's" even if they are special needs, so you have that in the mix too!
We do use Melatonin and Calmes Forte for calming and sleep. She doesn't like the strong smell of essential oils so that didn't work for us. She is not any any other medications at this time.
Right now her therapies are:
Developmental supportive preschool which includes addl speech, OT and behavioral therapy in class.
We have about 20 hrs a week of therapy at this point.
Aoen is verbal but has speech issues still so understanding her can be hard at times and frustrating for her.
A little about our family.
There is myself, Aoen's mommy Jessica, I work full time as an Installed Sales Manager at Lowe's and run an Ebay store with my daughter to help make ends meet. I raise the kids on my own with help from my mother and their Meme Carol. Her siblings Destiny, who is out and about in the grown up world, Madeline, who has been Aoen's in home Nanny since birth, she is venturing out into the grown up world this year but will still care for Aoen when I am at work, Jakeb, who lives at home and is in high school, Justin, who lives at home and is in Middle school, America, who lives at home and is in Middle school as well and last but not least Aoen! Who is in Special Needs Public Pre-school starting 2015!!
There is no cure, autism is not a disease, Aoen will never be "normal" but really, who wants to be normal!!! :-)
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