Now, he is my beautiful and perfect son that also happens to be autistic.
Ronny is 9 years old and it actually took me about 8 years to admit that there was something different about him. You see, Ronny almost didn't survive when he was born. Within an hour of being delivered he was airlifted to a Tulsa hospital with heart complications. It was touch-n-go but with prayers and the grace of God, Ronny survived.
We all were so grateful that Ronny survived but Ronny just didn't survive, he thrived. He still suffers from pulmonary stenosis but you wouldn't know it by looking at him. He is a BIG boy and looks healthy as a horse. In fact, doctors are projecting that Ronny will be well over 6 feet tall (more like 6'6"-6'8"). He is 9 years old and wears a size 9 in MEN'S shoes. His older brother is 16 and is about 5'10" tall and we have markings on the wall showing our boys' heights and Ronny at 9 is as tall as Bubba was at 14.
Anyway....I never was one to compare my children's milestones. Brandy, my oldest, was walking by the time she was 10 months old and potty trained by 13 months. Bubba didn't walk until quite a bit later and took longer to potty train. I didn't sweat it. I knew he would walk when he was ready and be potty trained when he was ready. No big deal. I knew that they would reach their milestones on their time frame...no one elses.
Ronny did the normal baby babbling and said "mama" and "dada" as expected. But then we noticed his speech was really limited. By the age of 2, he still didn't speak much. I recognized every groan and grunt and knew what he needed and provided it for him. My mother-in-law teased me that Ronny didn't have to talk because I knew what he wanted even before he did.
Fast forward several years and today, Ronny is immature for his age. He still speaks and acts like he is around 3 or 4 years old. After getting diagnosed and much research, we know now that Ronny has autism. If I had known more about autism early on, I would recognize a lot of signs that Ronny had that would have pointed to autism.
For example, some things Ronny does that is autistic behavior include:
- He walks exclusively on his tiptoes.
- Needs routine. Any change in the routine really causes him issues and meltdowns.
- Extreme attachment to a stuffed toy "Pikachu". He has this toy with him at all times. We cannot leave the house without it.
- He puts toys in order and straight lines. Very precise.
- Paces all the time. Does lots of hand movements and talking to himself as he paces (Stimming).
- Reacts to pain differently. Pain doesn't really bother him like other kids. For example, he broke his elbow awhile back and didn't really cry. Moved it all around and the doctors didn't think it was broken because of the way he was moving it and acting but on looking at the x-rays, he had 3 bad breaks.
- Overly sensitive to scratchy tags on clothing.
- Writes hours a day in his notebook. I think it is calming to him but he draws basically the same thing page after page, day after day.
Anyway, I just wanted to share our story with you. Perhaps you have a child that is autistic or that you think may be, I wanted to provide a bit of history of what we have learned.
Here are some pages out of one of his notebooks.
BTW, boys are 5x more likely to develop autism than girls.
We are very fortunate in that Ronny is verbal because 40% of all autistic people are nonverbal. Another way we are totally blessed is that Ronny likes to hug and kiss momma and he will hug is brother, Dad, and grandma. He used to hug them in an awkward way and look away when he hugged them but now he does better. He has never minded hugging me or getting kisses. A lot of autistic people do not like affection and my heart breaks for those families. I can only imagine how much harder life is because of that.
Thank you for reading....
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