ARCHER, AUTISM, & ASELCC

Archer has, for a while now, been showing symptoms of having Autism. We had been concerned about his lack of development for a while, particularly when it came to speech and listening. We had gone to see hearing clinics, as well as speech pathologists, with not much success. It was actually my mother, a nurse for 30+ years, who sat down and had the discussion with us.
Obviously, after that conversation, I was quite upset. No parent ever wants to think that there’s something wrong with their child. (Not that there is anything particularly ‘wrong’ with people who have Autism, as I’ve come to learn.) Some research into the condition, and its signs & symptoms held firm with mum’s observation.

Archer walks on his toes more often than not. He has made little effort to develop any sort of intelligible speech (he will mimic a few basic sounds, but thats about it). He rarely responds to us calling his name, and even when he does register, he will often look at us and then carry on with whatever he’s doing. He doesn’t point or wave goodbye, nor does he make any effort to indicate to us what he wants.

 

A photo posted by Jason (@tassiedad) on

As well as this, we are slightly concerned about his habit of eating non-food items. A friend of Kayla’s, who also happens to be Autistic, suggested a condition called Pica. This condition is common in many psychiatric disorders, in particular small children with Autism, and involves those affected having an insatiable appetite for things such as dirt, sand, rocks, paper, wood, etc. As outlined in one of my previous posts, Termite-Boy, Archer has been showing signs of this for a while. We are trying our best to discourage him from chewing on anything and everything, but he is persistent.

Despite all this, however, Archer is very happy, independent and curious little boy. He constantly amazes us with the new discoveries and, albeit small, steps he takes in his development. He recently discovered touch screens (having played with my phone quite a bit); and now he’s convinced that every screen is a touch screen. He will swipe away at my MacBook screen and I scroll the screen to make him think he’s doing it.

A video posted by Jason (@tassiedad) on

He loves jumping on our bed, as well as doing flips and somersaults. He also loves running around in circles with his favourite blanket over his face. This activity, although cute, has ended in tears on more than one occasion, so we do our best to discourage him from doing this.

Since we were made aware about Archers possible condition (*at time of writing, we haven’t had a definite diagnosis as yet), we have started sending him to a service called ASELCC (Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre). ASELCC is a fantastic service, acting like a daycare for children with Autism, which is handy for us, as we can use that time to get things done around our house that we would have a struggle with otherwise. We are extremely lucky to have this service in the next town over, as there are only 6 or 7 in the whole country, and the one we use is the only one thats not in a state capital (our state capital, Hobart, is a 4+ hour drive away) The only downside with having the ASELCC near us, is that the Autism Diagnostic Service is based in Hobart. So for us to get an official diagnosis, we need to go on a waiting list, and then travel down to see the specialist. Hopefully, we will be able to meet the specialist halfway so its a little easier on us.

 

A photo posted by Jason (@tassiedad) on

As well as ASELCC serving the function of being a daycare, it is also an early leaning centre that caters to the specific needs of children on the Autism Spectrum. In speaking with other parents who have their children (a similar age to Archer) at the centre, they’ve told of great improvements to their ways of life, in particular with regards to speech and language development.

Archer has only been attending ASELCC for a couple of months, and has already made big strides in terms of how he interacts with other people, and his overall mood has improved.
This is going to be a long journey for all three of us, and I look forward to keeping you updated with Archers progress. ASELLC often takes photos and videos of Archers sessions. I will be sharing these as much as I can, and I would love to connect with other parents of ASD toddlers. Please feel free to follow me on any of the social links at the top of the page.

Thank you for reading
As always, Be Kind

Jason

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayBrilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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14 thoughts on “ARCHER, AUTISM, & ASELCC

  1. Sarah

    Early diagnosis is the best thing you can do, it’s so important to get things like speech therapy started asap. It’s an English charity, but you might like to check out the I CAN website for ideas of things you can do at home for speech. Hope all goes well X
    #KCACOLS

    Reply

  2. Mommy's Little Princesses

    Oh gosh this sounds like it was a hard conversation for everyone involved. Bless him, I’m so glad to hear how well Archer is coming along since attending ASELCC. Haha it sounds like you will soon be loosing your electronic devices to Archer.xx #KCACOLS

    Reply

    1. tassiedad

      Yeah, it was a tough day. But things are looking up, and we don’t see him any differently. He’s still our son, and we’ll love him no matter what. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

  3. Maria

    I don’t know much about autism but I have heard that getting an early diagnosis is a good thing so that Archer can get the help and support he needs. It sounds like he’s already benefitting from ASELCC which is great!

    My boys also used do the same with any screen they see too especially my youngest who thinks the tv is touchscreen.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday.

    Reply

  4. A Moment with Franca

    I can imagine how difficult must have been for you when you found out that Archer could have ASD. I guess in a way that conversation was good as now he is at ASELCC which sounds like a great centre and he is improving so that is the most important part of everything. It is definitely very interesting to read more about Autism. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x

    Reply

  5. Clare

    How fab that you have something close to you that can help both you and Archer. Obtaining an autism diagnosis can be a very lonely and intimidating journey. Archer sounds a lot like my son who received his official diagnosis last year after a three year wait. Hopefully it won’t be as long for you. Good luck with your journey #KCACOLS xx

    Reply

  6. A DAY IN MY LIFE • KAYLA LOVES

    […] to ASELCC which is an autism specific daycare center in Burnie. Jason wrote all about it over on his blog if you want to have a read. He loves going to daycare! When we go there he knew where we were and […]

    Reply

  7. Steve Bell

    Hi Jason,
    I have just had someone send me your blog and can relate to your story about your son so much. Sounds similar to our journey with our first son Xav. Xav was diagnosed about this time last year (near his 5th birthday) but it took us about 18 months to get to that point. I first should say that I have been working in the disability sector for close to 20 years working with many people that have Autism. My first response was the same as yourself, there is nothing wrong with my son (By the way I still say that…..his mind just works a little different to some others). Both myself and my wife (Who has a medical background) beat ourselves up about it for a while. Were we bad parents, Was it because of something we did or didn’t do? How do we fix it?

    Then we got to the stage that we started mourning that life that we thought our son was going to achieve and he may not now. Lots of tears, lots of anger.

    We have now got to the stage that we realised that it had nothing to do with our parenting styles and we could not have done anything different. Xav is Xav and that is who he is. He is a fun loving kids who is great with his little brother and his new 8 week old sister. He is also so caring for everything and everyone.

    With the right support from family, kinder, therapists, GP, paediatrician, School, Teachers and a whole lot of work from us,, Xav is doing so well now. At this stage last year we were concerned about that he would not be able to go to a mainstream school. We now have him at a local small catholic school (With a little bit of extra support from an integration aid, who is also fantastic). 18 months ago he would sit in the corner at childcare all day by himself and read. Not interact with any of the other kids. Had no friends other then his little brother Oscar (Who is 16 months younger) and other forced friendships from son or daughters of our friends. He now goes to school and half the school will say hi to him in the morning and he will response back to them with a “Hi” and their name. He is now reading and starting to write (Writing has been a lot of work) but is finding things that he can interact with the other kids about like star wars. He is also doing really well at school. Don’t let me make you think the journey has finished, we still have a lot of work. But we are on the journey and we can see the success the work that everyone around him has been doing is starting to achieve things.

    Sounds like you are doing an incredible job also with your son. That service you talk about sounds amazing, I really hope that more of these kind of services can be developed around the country. So many families need this kind of service. They achieve so much with all the work that they do.

    Someone sent me this poem years ago and I have it at my desk just to remind me every so offer. I think it is great to read at those hard times just to remember were you all have come on your journey.
    http://dsnetworkaz.org/holland/

    Keep writing your blog, we need more fathers talking about their experience, especially fathers with kids with Autism.

    Reply

    1. tassiedad

      I did the same thing, trying to figure out what WE had done to cause this to happen to our son. I began googling every possible cause. Was it something in his diet? Was it something that Kayla might have done while he was in utero?
      As I said, my mother (a mental health nurse) saw it first. Although I have no official qualifications (aside for an out of date first aid certificate) I have a very keen interest in medicine and medications (I don’t have the patience to follow it as a career), so it didn’t take me long to realise that there’s nothing that I could have done to avoid it.
      I still get sad occasionally, thinking about what Archers future might be like. Apple recently put out a couple of videos for World Autism Awareness Day, featuring a heavily Autistic teenage boy who was non-verbal. I hope that Archer won’t be that bad, but it still upset me, thinking it is a possibility.
      Like your son, Archer is the greatest little boy. He loves my parents, and when they come to visit he gets so excited and does this cute little stomping dance.
      As we have no-one in our family or friend-group that has children that age, so thats where the ASELCC facility has been great. He’s able to mix with kids his own age, in a closely supervised environment. We’re so luck to have ASELCC so close, as I said, we live at the other end of our state from the state capital, so to have the facility here instead of there is a godsend. I’d heard stories of people moving from the capital to this area simply to make use of the facility.
      I love that poem/story. I’ve saved it, and will share it on FB for other to read.
      Thank you for your comment, it really made my morning. May I ask who shared this with you? I would like to know what sort of reach my blog is getting.
      Be kind.

      Reply

      1. Steve Bell

        I uses to work with TravisBull from Copycat from Ballarat and tacklenappy where I read about the comments to you about drinking coke. Then I found your blog from there. Bit of a one step to next step top next step situation.

        Travis was encouraging me to write my own blog at one stage but I have never really got around to it. I try and stay off the PC when I am at home at the end of the day.

        Keep writing

        Reply

  8. Another day in my life | tassiedad

    […] Learning & Care Centre in Burnie. You can read more about this facility in a previous blog post here. He is usually quite happy to go to daycare, and will run in happily and find his favourite toys […]

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  9. WHAT ARCHER WORE: BEACHY • KAYLA LOVES

    […] this on my blog before, but Archer is autistic. My husband, Jason, has written about it over on his blog if you would like to read about it. Archer loves the feeling of sand and rice running through his […]

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  10. Archer, Autism & ASELCC: Update | tassiedad

    […] been attending the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC). At the time I posted my last post about Archer, he had been going to the centre for a couple of months, and we were waiting on an official […]

    Reply

  11. Archers Apps: Endless Reader | tassiedad

    […] with Autism. I’ve gone over his diagnosis and subsequent support services in previous posts (here and here). One thing he’s really taken to recently is my old iPad. He loved the YouTube Kids […]

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