Musings from an Orthodox Jewish work at home mom of twins with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

WHY SortedMegablocks?

I have three other blogs– everyone knows the blogs are mine, there’s nothing private about them, and the purpose of those blogs is strictly business.  Everytime I make a post on one of my blogs I think that I REALLY should be blogging about my personal life— the life that revolves around Orthodox Judaism and special needs twins.  There’s a lot that is really unique to our situation that I think can inspire and help other families.  At the same time, blogging will help me cope.  I’ve been more and more overwhelmed over the past year or so, and joining the ASD blogging community and being a part of a network of families struggling with similar issues will surely be helpful.  I’m on a couple of facebook autism groups and they’re very helpful.  But I haven’t shared my entire story.  So bit by bit, as time permits, I’ll share it here.

The name of the blog represents the first moment I knew that either of my children has an ASD.  My son, “Fred”, who is now 4 and a half, was sorting his megablocks by color at thirteen months.   Yellow ones here, Red ones there, Blue ones there.  When I would move one to try to show him how to stack them, he’d cry.  He had always been a lot more intense than his twin sister and had a lot of funny quirks.  A little over half a year later, he ended up with his provisional diagnosis.  We didn’t do his official diagnosis until this year because hey— if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, treat it like a duck.  He was already in special education, occupational therapy and speech therapy.  Since we weren’t yet ready for anything requiring special funding (our state has special funding for autism schools, OR for one on one aides to help mainstream at typical schools– but in order to access the funds you need to be outside of public school.  So far, my twins have been in public school)– he didn’t NEED a diagnosis.  For various reasons (for a future post!)– he needs one now.

“Wilma” was the reason the county’s program for special needs 0-3 year olds kept giving us home visits during the twins’ first year.  She was hypotonic and delayed in all of her milestones.  She didn’t even cry for a long while— she had an insistent little squeak.  If her twin brother hadn’t been insanely loud, we may have slept through some of those middle of the night feedings.  She was an incredibly easy baby.  And then the twins turned one, and all of our attention began to turn to her brother.  We thought we had a handle on her special needs:  hypotonia and a speech delay.  We still had no inkling that she could be on the spectrum.  Age two, age three, same thing.  We figured we had a son with autism and a daughter with hypotonia and a speech delay.  Until age three, we didn’t feel she showed any of the signs of autism.  Age three, she also landed in public school on an IEP due to her being behind in so many areas with the gross motor, the fine motor, the speech….. but she was still our social butterfly, having learned to clap and wave and talk to peers long before her twin— autism didn’t even cross my mind.  She was in special education, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy, but I still had the optimistic hope that once she catches up with some of her essential skills, she’ll end up fairly neurotypical.

A year and a half later, and I can look back at her journey from age three to age four and a half and see her spectrum behaviors getting more and more intense.  It took me many months to recognize her behaviors as being spectrum related.  For many months I was saying “well, she’s got hypotonia, a speech delay, and SOMETHING else— probably adhd”.  So we got her diagnosed with adhd— through the process of THAT diagnosis, I discovered that she is also on the spectrum.  More on that journey in future posts.

I’m looking forward to the journey of sharing our story through my words.  Please keep our identity private.  My facebook friends will know that this is my blog, but the general blogging community or anyone finding this blog on the internet will know my children as “Fred” and “Wilma”.   Stay tuned for more!


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