As a parent with one child with autism, there are no guarantees that you won't have another child with autism as well. I talked to my doctor about the statistics on having another child with autism and the doctor couldn't even tell me what the chances are of having a second. So what do you do?
We were already pregnant with Maddie when we got the diagnosis for Zach but do we go on to have more children? Do we live in fear that there is a chance that we will have another child with special needs? People have told me that we have a slightly higher chance of having another child with autism. I have heard of several families with two children with autism. Without knowing what causes autism, how can the experts really predict what our chances are? The experts know that genes play a part in the diagnosis but the research is ongoing.
I always wanted to have more children because I had two older brothers but one died when I was 19 years old. That is another story that I will not go into here. I was so grateful that I had my other brother to go through life with and I pray that we never lose a child but if worse comes to worse, I never want my child to be left alone. We obviously chose to have more. I'm not sure if people think that we are crazy but I guess they are entitled to their opinion.
Maddie was a little slower to speak and we had a speech assessment done. She didn't qualify for funding because her speech delay wasn't severe. We had her checked again and she just measured in the mild delay range. Really not too bad.
Jack was tested for a speech delay as well in the past year and measured severely delayed in the verbal and reciprocal (understanding) communication. He is presently in five mornings of preschool and working with the Speech Language pathologist and with an occupational therapist for some fine motor delays.
Now the verdict is still out for our little Gabriel but my sense of relief is slight because Gabriel started pointing today. Now that may seem insignificant to most but children with autism don't always point. So I will take my glimmer of hope and be joyful. Gabriel is nearly 11 months now and he hasn't said any words yet.
We have him in a sibling study for children with a sibling with autism at the University of Calgary. There is a higher risk group-the siblings of a child with autism and the more typical group, children with a sibling without autism. The study is run through the speech language pathology lab. They have tested Gabriel's hearing and there were some concerns with his left ear but the doctor suspects that Gabriel had a cold at the time of the testing and that is actually the cause. We have not gone on to have the official hearing test. Gabriel has started to babble some but overall he is a pretty quiet baby. There is a more extensive language testing when Gabriel turns a year. I will never understand why these siblings that are at a higher risk are not watched more closely and have automatic speech testing. Why do we have to go through the same speech pathways as other families? In fact with Jack, I even had to go to a speech class for helping preschoolers talk after we already had one child with a speech delay. Overall it was helpful but it just seemed ironic.
So we will be hopeful and will refuse to lose sleep from worry. As worry will not help anything. We will be hopeful and prayerful! More will be updated as our lives unfold. Thank you for going along for the ride.