Ashton is my beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed 6 year old boy. He loves hugs and cuddles, music, books, pizza, playing ball, swinging, sliding and playing with cars, trucks and trains. He loves to jump, tumble and rough house and can probably do a better cartwheel than I can!! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Peppa Pig and Wow Wow Wubbzy are some of his favorite shows.
This boy keeps mommy on her toes; whether it’s figuring out how to bypass the latest and greatest child safety contraption or hiding his toys in the most inconspicuous places. He is always moving, always on the go. I swear he is in training to be a super hero. He is faster and stronger than any child his age I have ever met.
Ashton was 10 pounds 5 ounces when he was born. My mom always refers to him as the “moose” of all the grand kids. He was a typically developing baby, social and loving. He met all of his developmental milestones and even was early on several. He rolled over at three weeks old. He was smiling and laughing from about two months. He had several words like “mama” and “dada” beginning at 5 months. Things began to change shortly after his first birthday. He no longer used the words that he had previously acquired. He began to withdraw from the environment and became upset very easily. He wouldn’t readily respond to his name and would only make eye contact for brief moments. The transition to table food was World War III. This being our first child, his father and I just thought he was being “hard-headed”. He began doing things repetitively (like opening and closing doors and drawers, turning lights on and off). My mom used to joke that he was going to be a door man at a high end hotel when he grew up. He would jump and spin in circles and actually could jump before he could walk. We just thought he was silly and unique. Everyone would say “he’s a boy, he will talk when he is ready”…The doctors told me to “wait and see”. I started to really wonder when he still wasn’t talking or communicating once he turned two. The frustration I saw in my baby broke my heart. He would get so upset at times he started acquiring self-injurious behaviors. I started searching endlessly online and eventually I found Autism. I then took Ashton to a developmental specialist and got the official diagnosis of Autism when he was two and a half.
Once we received the diagnosis he immediately began receiving in-home therapy with an occupational therapist as well as a special educator through Virginia's Infants and Toddlers program. At age 3 he began attending preschool 5 days a week in the Autism program within the local school system. In November 2011 Ashton was placed in a local private school that uses ABA methodologies and incorporates inclusion with the adjacent preschool. The growth I have seen in him has been amazing in these last several months.
Ashton continues to grow and learn daily. I am having trouble keeping up with this boy! He is reading!! He knows all his colors, shapes, letters and the sounds they make. He can count by 2's, 5's and 10's. His receptive language has grown tremendously in the last 6 months. He is following familiar directions with minimal prompts. He is a labeling machine and is starting to request using one or two words and has learned several rote phases. I am excited to see what he has in store these coming months!
Kayleigh is my petite blonde hair, blue eyed 4 year old angel. She loves music, playing ball, playing with her dolls, macaroni and cheese, dancing, counting and giving kisses. Her favorite shows are Yo Gabba Gabba and Wow Wow Wubbzy.
Kayleigh was born 9 weeks premature. She was 3 pounds 15 ounces. This little girl was born a stubborn fighter. She was only in the NICU for 3 weeks when we were told to expect her in there for 9-12 weeks. When she came home she was three weeks old and it was still six weeks before her original due date. Needless to say the transition from a “Moose” baby to a tiny little princess was quite an adjustment. The differences didn’t stop there; where Ashton was an easy going and easy to please infant, Kayleigh was high maintenance and hard to console.
She was behind on all of her developmental milestones due to the fact that she was premature. When we noticed that she still wasn’t catching up in numerous areas around 12 months we got her evaluated through Virginia’s Infant and Toddler program. It was noted that she was delayed in all major areas of development. She began receiving in-home therapy with a special educator and occupational therapist. At 2 ½ she began attending preschool in the local special education classroom within the county.
This year Kayleigh is participating in the headstart program in the mornings for inclusion purposes and gets pulled out in the afternoon to work on her IEP goals. We recently decided to incorporate an ABA program within her daily academic routine. I am excited to see how this will work for her. Kayleigh has grown leaps and bounds in the last year. Within the last 6 months she has become completely potty trained. Her expressive and receptive language is flourishing. She is able to request her wants and needs verbally and is able to follow simple two step familiar directions. She is appropriately playing with her toys and is starting to build on her social interactions. Kayleigh is such an easy going little girl and is such a huge helper with her brother. She really looks out for him! I am excited to see what is to come in the next few months with her as well. God has really blessed me to be able to be the mommy of Ashton and Kayleigh!!