Friday, August 27, 2010

I know I'm Cool, But Really...

I have seen some amazing progress since Tallie started school less than 2 weeks ago. I feel like she is a "new woman"! She is doing new things and saying new things every day. Yesterday she said her name for the first time! It was HUGE! I was so excited! I am so so happy with her progress so far, however all this has also come with quite a bit of a challenging transition period for Tallie. She has had some major meltdowns. Now meltdowns aren’t anything new for Tallie but these are BAD! I even teared up the other night watching her go through one. I feel so bad for her. I have no idea what is wrong and the way she is screaming and looking at me, you'd think she was in serious pain. I would do anything to know what was wrong so I could just fix it for her. Instead I have to just wait it out. Let me just clarify too that this is not your average two year old tantrum, this is something I have never seen before and I can't even explain it, you'd have to witness it for yourself. I think part of it is adjusting to school and a new routine, I think the other part is being tired. I'm sure it wears her out to go to school every day and she's too stubborn most days to take a nap. Tallie has also been going through severe separation anxiety, especially from me. I honestly can't even leave the room without her going into complete meltdown mode. I am finding myself taking her with me to the bathroom just so I don't have to listen to the screaming and crying that I know will happen if I leave the room. So as I titled this, I know I'm cool, but really Tallie I'm just leaving the room for a second. I'll be right back. I wish I could just sit her down and explain this to her. I know she'll start to understand eventually but for the time being I guess we'll just be joined at the hip a lot. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Miss Independent!

So Tallie goes to preschool for two days and decides that she is now miss independent! Today I found her in her room undressed and jumping up and down in front of the mirror. I said, "you silly girl did you take your dress off" and helped her put it back on. She right away took it off again and jumped up and down all excited and proud of her self. This repeated itself a few times. This is the very first time I have seen Tallie undress herself! When I started fixing dinner tonight Tallie saw me and instead of whining and pulling on my clothes like she usually does when she wants her dinner and wants it now, she went and grabbed a chair and pushed it over to the counter and climbed up to see what I was doing. She has seen her sister do this a million times so I guess she decided it was her turn to help with dinner. It was so cute. I took her hand and showed her I wanted to put some apple pieces on each plate and she helped me do it! Then at dinner I gave her a sippy cup of milk and she got up and grabbed a cup and gave it to me. So I poured her milk into the cup and she drank it. She has drank out of a cup several times, but she has never shown me that she preferred a cup over a sippy cup. What a big girl! These three things are big steps for Tallie and I am so proud of her. Can't wait to see what else the school year brings!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

1st Day of Pre-School

I have been dreading this day for a long time. I'm just not ready to send my baby to school yet. I thought I'd have another year with her at home. On the flip side a part of me is excited because I know that this is what Tallie really needs. I think that the consistency alone that she will get from being at school five days a week will be incredible. Her teacher seems very nice and experienced. I have heard nothing but good things about her and she won the Buffet award last year, so really what more could I ask for! There are a total of 12 kids in her class, 6 boys and 6 girls. There is only 1 other child that has Autism. There are 2 peer models that have excellent communication and social skills. The rest of the kids have some form of language delay or disability or both. There are also two teacher's aides that are in the classroom the whole time. And today, one of the speech pathologist that had been working with Tallie also was at school to help Tallie transition her first day.
I thought for sure I would cry when I dropped Tallie off this morning, but somehow I managed not to. Tallie didn't cry either and that completely surprised me, in a good way. We took her things and put them in her locker and then went into the classroom, grabbed a puzzle and found Tallie's mat. Her symbol is a heart, kind of like at TAP class her color was pink. Her symbol is on her locker, her mat, her place setting and her chair so she always knows where to go. As soon as we sat down Tallie started working on her puzzle. There were two other girls having a much harder time than Tallie was. One was having a little meltdown on the floor and the other was jumping up and down screaming. I had been fully prepared that Tallie would be the one in meltdown mode so although I felt bad for those girls, I was happy that Tallie seemed to be transitioning okay. I also realized that she may very well be the one doing the screaming tomorrow or the next day or the next day or even right after I left. You just never know what the day is going to bring with a two year old and that goes for any two year old! So Tallie was working on her puzzle and the teacher came over and started working on it with her so I gave her a kiss goodbye and left.
When I came and picked her up when class was over they said that she did great! She didn't cry when I left, but she did a little towards the end. They thought she was just getting a little tired. The teacher said they had gone outside for a little while and Tallie rolled the ball back and forth to her a few times. She said that we could meet again in a few weeks and talk about some of the goals that we have for Tallie. I got a little teary eyed on the way home, I think just because I was so proud of her. She really amazes me every day. I love her so much! My little preschooler! All in all it was a pretty good day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Graduating from TAP

Tallie graduated from her TAP class last week and I am so proud of her! I will miss taking her. I feel like she got so much out of the class and so did I. I didn’t realize how much I relied on going every week until it was over. I gained so much knowledge and had someone right there to answer my questions. Not only that, but I was essentially going to a support group twice a week. Sitting with all the other moms and talking about our kids helped so much! I will really miss all of them. I have become extremely close to a few of the moms however and I know we will stay in touch and hopefully still have playdates together every once in awhile.
Although I am very excited for Tallie to start the next chapter in her life, I have been left worried that we are missing something. I keep wondering if there is more that we should be doing for Tallie. We did recently start her on Probiotics twice a day which is supposed to help her digestive system and yeast overgrowth. I really do feel that this has helped. Without getting too graphic, her stools are a lot more normal now and the constant diaper rash she seemed to have has drastically decreased. There were a few days I forgot to give it to her and the diaper rash showed up right away. So I am happy with the results of the probiotics, however I have been wondering if we should be giving her more therapy in addition to going to a special education preschool class.
Right when I was really starting to lose my mind over this I got an email from Tallie’s old Speech Therapist that used to come out to our house every week. Let me just say how lucky I am to have her in our lives! Here are a few inserts from our email conversations:

Subject: Thinking of you
To: Karen

I thought of you sending Tallie to preschool next Th. I hope you feel good about Tallie being in school. She has a phenomenal teacher and staff who will work with her..She is going to make even more progress than she has been-that's exciting! I miss you guys. Keep me posted on how things go and know that Tallie and all of you are one of those families I will always have a special place for in my heart .

Karen Sachs wrote:

So great to hear from you! We miss you too! I feel like I am on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster right now. I am excited for Tallie to start school and I know that it will be so great for her but I am also sad. I feel a little bit robbed of having time alone with her while Morgan's at school. I'm also feeling anxious and unsure that I am doing everything I need to be doing. I feel like I am missing something. I keep wondering about if I should look into a special diet, if I should get her tested for high mercury and yeast levels. I've thought about additional therapy, just all kinds of stuff. I've seen such great progress with Tallie, but her language is not where I thought it would be at this point and she seems to be having more melt downs lately especially in public. It's probably just this in between time from TAP to preschool that's got me all worked up so I'm trying to keep that in mind. We do go meet with her teacher tomorrow for a conference so I bet that will answer a lot of my questions. We went and visited the classroom and met Faith last week and it seemed great. I was really impressed with the school and liked that they had a lot of similar things that TAP has. I guess my concerns are that this class is not specifically for children with Autism, so I think that's what's leaving me worried that we should be doing something else in addition to this.
Sorry to write you a novel! I guess you can say you wrote me at a good time and I kind of needed someone to talk to about this! :)
Thank you so much for writing and I'll make sure to send you some first day at school pics of Tallie!

Subject: Thinking of you
To: Karen

You may voice your worries/concerns to me ANYTIME!!! Know this-you are a great mom and follow your gut with Tallie. I think you are right about why you are so emotional now. I totally get the "feeling robbed" part. Do remember that now Tallie will be with kids who have stronger communication skills - especially the peer models. I feel it's a great opportunity for Tallie to be with a wider variety of peers. At TAP all she had to model from were other kids on the spectrum. It's a great program but I really think you will appreciate Tallie having a more "typical" preschool experience. You are doing so much for Tallie now by following through with things at home and most of all by loving Tallie for who she is. I look forward to any pictures you take of her first day and again, stay in touch and you can even call if you ever need to talk.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Celebrating The Little Moments

There is a quote about Autism that goes something like this... "If you've met one child with've met one child with Autism." This is soooo true. I have now met several children with Autism and talked to their moms about their struggles and their abilities and one thing is consistent...that they are all very different. Some kids have severe sensory issues, some hardly like to eat anything except for a few differnt types of foods, some do not liked to be touched, some have health problems and some have troubles sleeping. I'm very fortunate to say that Tallie does not seem to struggle in any of these areas.

Tallie's main struggles are language delay, having a hard time controlling her emotions, lack of eye contact, lack of joint attention and possibly a few minor digestive issues. Tallie also engages in activites that are not considered "normal" in society. Some of these are hand flapping, making hand puppets, spinning in circles, holding matching objects in each hand, talking to herself and obsessively looking at herself in not just a mirror but anywhere she can find her reflection (the TV, the stove, the dishwasher, ect.). To me, most of these things are pretty cute. I mean a 2 year old spinning around in circles really is not that weird and making little hand puppets and having them talk to each other is kinda cute. The thing is that if she is still doing this at age 5 and at age 10 they are going to become less and less cute and more and more "abnormal". That's why intervention is so important and getting her help this young is so important for her success in life.

As her mom, I worry almost constantly about Tallie. I am trying very hard to take it one day at a time and not to think to far into the future. I have no idea what to expect and sometimes it's really scary to think what the reality could be. I am however extremely hopeful. I think as long as we keep getting Tallie help and working with her at home, the sky is the limit for her. I am learning to really focus on just celebrating all the little moments in her life. She is such an amazing little girl!

Tasks and Picture Schedule

Tallie has tasks that she works on every week. They are made out of pop flats, Tupperware containers and toys. The purpose of these tasks is to help Tallie follow direction, to get used to a classroom structure and to learn new skills. These tasks are not Tallie strong point. She struggles with wanting to do what she wants to do with the toys and not what we are trying to teach her to do. It can get a little frustrating working with her. She gets pretty mad when she doesn't get to do what she wants and she is very persistent. It's also hard to get her to focus and to "teach" her what she is supposed to do. We are making this a focus these days and are really trying to work on it.

We also just recently started using a picture schedule in our home. Basically it's a list of all the things that Tallie is going to do during her day, just in picture form. Some of the things on her schedule are: take a nap, car ride, go outside, pool, snack time, play time and so on. This is meant to help Tallie understand what is going on and what's coming next. The idea is to help ease with transitions. It's hard for kids to stop doing something they like especially if they have no warning and if they don't know what's coming next. My older daughter Morgan has problems with this and it helps to say, "Okay we have 5 more minutes outside and then we have to go inside and eat dinner". Since Tallie would not understand that, we are going to start using pictures in place of that. I am hopeful that this will help to cut down on the tantrums that she has. Since she can't express what she wants or how she is feeling she doesn't know what else to do, but to break down and cry. This will help to reduce that frustration.

Tallie's Special Gift

Many children with Autism have a special gift. The first thing I think of is in Rain man when he can count cards or the number of matches that spilled on the ground. Tallie I believe has a special gift when it comes to music. Before she could barely say a word she was singing her ABC's just as well as her older sister could. She sings "Twinkle twinkle little star", "the goodbye song" she sings in her TAP class, she sings "Patty Cake", "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", and now she is singing a song from the movie Happy Feet.

It completely amazes me that she can remember and sing these songs when she struggles with communicating by just talking. We are trying to play off of this talent and have now started making up songs for every little thing that we do. We have a good morning song, a potty song and pretty much make up a song for anything we are doing. I truly believe that someday Tallie is going to be an amazing musician in some form and is going to completely blow our minds with her talent!

Amazing Progress

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote on this blog. Tallie now has a baby brother which is the biggest reason why I have not had time to take a minute to collect my thoughts and write them down these days.

Tallie has completely amazed us over the last few months and continues to every single day. When I last wrote about what Tallie was going through she had just started going to TAP. She is now almost done and will soon start going to school 5 days a week at Standing Bear elementary.

TAP has done amazing things for Tallie. To start her eye contact has increased dramatically. It used to be a struggle to get Tallie to look at me even for a second, now she will look at me for minutes at a time. She responds to her name a lot more these days, she also is a lot more aware of her environment. She will go to look and see who just walked in the front door when someone comes over; a few months ago she would barely even notice that someone else had walked in the room. When she walks out of class and sees me she gets a big smile on her face, just a month ago I would have to work to get her attention and then I would rarely get a smile or a reaction that showed me that she was happy to see me. Her joint attention has improved a lot as well. She has begun to say several words. Now a days it seems like she says a new word almost every day! She said her first full sentence... "I wanna drink it" when she really wanted a juice box! It was a huge moment in our lives. She has pointed to her brother and said "baby", she said "hi momma", “daddy”, "more", “jump”, "swing" and so many more words I can hardly remember them all. She has made so many improvements, it amazes me to sit here and think about it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


TAP class has been wonderful for Tallie. She is very stubborn and has her momments, but overall I can tell she really likes it. It is a very structured class room setting were they do a lot of picture/word associations. Everyday that I bring her they meet her outside of the classroom with a picture of a backpack and then walk her to her little cubby hole so she can hang up her coat and back pack. Then they go straight to the music area where they sing the hello song and play with musical instruments. There is a house area that she loves. This is where they work on the pretend play. The school is attached to a day care facility, so everyday they take a walk over to what's called educare and they go down a slide and do other fun activities that are modeled by children in the daycare facility that have excellent communication skills. They then come back to the classroom and have a snack. Each child has their own color, Tallie's is pink. Her cubby hole is pink and so is her place mat for snack time. It helps them know where they are supposed to go. There is also a 1on1 teach area where they sit down with the kids and practice following directions and playing with toys appropriately. One of the things with Autism is that normally difficult tasks can come very easily, but the simpiler tasks can be much harder to accomplish. This helps to make sure they cover all grounds.

One of the great things about TAP for me, is that while Tallie is in the classroom I get to sit in a room along with the other moms and Lori, a speak pathologist, and talk about what we are going through and ask questions about the things we don't understand. We can also peek into the classroom at any time and see how our kids are doing.

All together there are only 5 kids in the class, Tallie being the only girl. The first day of class however, there was only Tallie and one other little boy. It was both their first day. I felt for the other mom, she was really emotional and having a hard time holding back tears. I wanted to tell her to just let it all out, I would totally understand. It was her only child and it brought back memories of how I had felt dropping Morgan off at school for the first time last year. I felt really anxious but also really excited that Tallie was getting this help and couldn't wait to hear about how the program worked.

My mom came with me with was nice to have a support system there. The three of us sat there and listened to Lori talk about the program and answer some questions we had. We occasionally peaked in to see how the two were doing. For it being their first day, they seemed to be doing really well. There were a few crys from the little boy, but Tallie mostly just whined in protest on occasion. Have I mentioned that she is very stubborn! I was holding it together just fine until the other mom asked what caused Autism and if there was something during birth that might have happened to cause this. Lori just looked at her and said, "You did not cause this." Everyone in the room started crying at the point except for Lori.

I guess I had a lot of guilt built up that I hadn't dealt with. Anyone that knows Tallie would probably say that she would be in the running for the easiest baby award. She was always so content and laid back and happy. I think because of this I felt as though a lot of my focus over the past 2 years had been on my older daughter Morgan. Morgan thrives on attention and will do just about anything to get as much as she can. I love that she has such an outgoing personality, but I guess I had been feeling guilty about not giving Tallie as much attention. I knew that I hadn't caused Tallie to have Autism, but at this point I was convinced that it was just a language delay and I thought that maybe if I had spent more time with Tallie that maybe she wouldn't be having these problems.


I think this whole time I was in total denial of the whole thing. I thought it was crazy that they could diagnose a 2 year old with autism. How could they tell the difference between goofy things that normal 2 year olds do and things that would be signs of having autism. To me they all seems pretty similar. I never denied the fact that Tallie had a language delay, but I truly believed that was all it was. Up until I started taking Tallie to her TAP class and sat with other moms and talked about things their kids do that were the same kinds of things that Tallie does. I started reflecting a lot about how could I have missed all these signs. Shouldn't I as her mother have been the first one to have concerns about her, not the last one. I guess the only conclusion that I came to was that being around Tallie all the time, her little goofy things she did just became "normal" to me. Or it was just her personality and I think I made excuses for everything.

Most of the things she did that ended up being signs of autism were the things that I thought were so cute that she did. One thing in particular is that she always likes to have 2 of the same thing in each hand. A lot of the time it was little people or baby dolls. She would hold one in each hand and act like they were talking to each other and have them give each other kisses. I found out later that it's a way of making her feel safe in her environment, holding something in each hand. This can actually prevent her from learning how to play with toys appropriately. If she always has something in each hand, it's hard to pretend how to just take care of one baby doll. To feed it, to rock it and take it for a ride in a stroller. Things that she never does.

There were so many things that were pointed out to me that she does that are signs of autism that I finally realized that this was it. She really was autistic and I as her mother needed to snap out of denying it and start facing reality, making sure I was doing everything I could to help her overcome some of the hurdles she was facing.

The diagnosis

The official diagnosis came in the form of 4 ladies coming out to my house to talk to me about how Tallie did with the evaluation. There was the school psychologist, the speech pathologist, a special education teacher and a lady who is in charge of the autism program for the Omaha Public School system.
They all came into my home and sat down and proceeded to talk to me about the signs that Tallie displayed that made them believe that she falls on the autism spectrum. Some of the things that they pointed out were that she walked on her tip toes, she doesn't point to things she wants or is interested in, there is a lack of eye contact, she has a speech delay, she doesn't follow a two step command, she doesn't display joint attention and so on. Some of these I thought were a little crazy, for example, the walking on her tip toes one. My oldest daughter did that when she was Tallie's age a lot more then Tallie has ever done. So I asked them about that. They told me that it wasn't just one of the things, it was the combination of all of the things she was doing that made her fall on the autism spectrum.

That's the other thing that I have learned. There is a whole autism spectrum and there are no two kids that are exactly alike. Some kids are more highly functioning than others and some have issues that others don't have at all. There are also several different types of autism. It has been mentioned that Tallie is highly functioning, but no one will go into that much detail about it. I think partly because of her age and also because this is an educational diagnosis, not a medical diagnosis which I learned more about later.

So from here they recommended that Tallie be enrolled in a Toddler Autism Program (TAP). This is a school setting that meets on Monday and Wednesday mornings for 1 1/2 hours. This goes through the summer and then in the fall she can start preschool that will go 5 days a week for 2 1/2 hours long.

I was on board, sign us up. I wanted to do anything I could to help Tallie start talking. I think at this point I just wanted her to start talking and prove everyone wrong. That she wasn't autistic, she just had a language delay.

The Evaluation

The evaluation consisted of two different visits. The first visit was with a school psychologist who came out with an assessment that had a long list of questions that she asked Jeff and I about Tallie. You think you know your child pretty well until someone starts asking you all kinds of questions. It's hard to come up with all of the words that Tallie has ever said on the spot like that. It's hard to know how to answer the question, "How does Tallie let you know when she wants something to drink?" I don't know, I'm her mom, I just know.

At the end of the evaluation she asked if we had any questions and I asked her what her initial thoughts were from just our answers. She said that she did have some initial concerns, but that she'd be able to have a better feel for things after the second visit.

The second visit was with the same school psychologist and a helper. They brought out a backpack of toys to test Tallie with. They were testing to see how she would react and interact with the toys. She started off well, I thought, but I wasn't exactly sure what they were looking for. Then they started asking her to do more "pretend play" with a baby doll and having a birthday party. She wasn't really doing anything they wanted her to and that theme seemed to continue throughout the rest of the visit. It was so frustrating to watch. I wanted so badly to step in and try and help her, so that she would "pass the test". I had a bad feeling and was choking back tears when I asked at the end of the visit how she thought it went. She told me that she would have to wait to give me an official diagnosis after all the scoring was done, but that she found it very likely that Tallie would fall on the autism spectrum.

Speech Therapy

I’ll admit I was not on board with this from the beginning. I didn’t really think it was necessary. I just figured Tallie would start talking when she was ready and that it was not a big deal that at 18 months she had said only a few words. I was trying to be a “good mom” though and half heartedly went along with it. The first teacher that we were assigned to was very nice, but all of the things she wanted me to do seemed so forced and unnatural. I found it very hard to remember to do them when she wasn’t there. She wanted me to put a one word association with everything Tallie did or touched. So anytime she picked up a ball, I was supposed to look at her and say “ball”. If I was pushing her on the swing set, I was supposed to say “swing”. It was hard for me not to say, “Tallie, do you have a ball?” Or “Tallie is this fun swinging?” I had to try and use only one word instead of just talk to her like I normally would. I was also supposed to use the word “more” as a question and wait to get some type of response from Tallie before I could give her what she wanted. This was very hard to do. I do not like to see my kids cry and this activity made Tallie furious. How was I supposed to keep my cool knowing that I was upsetting my daughter, which by the way was unnecessary right? She would figure it out on her own eventually so why was I putting her and myself through this. So that’s when I decided to take the summer off.

At the end of the summer a different teacher called me and said she was assigned to my area now. So I reluctantly agreed to set up a time for her to come. I found that I connected with this lady a lot more than the first teacher and didn’t necessarily mind having her come over. She wasn’t as forceful as I felt the first teacher had been and she would constantly says how great and beautiful Tallie is, what mother doesn’t want to hear that about their child? She continued to come about every week or every other week until about a month after I found out I was pregnant. I was pretty sick and had to cancel on her quite a bit because I just didn’t feel up to having someone come over to my house. When I finally started feeling better we resumed our visits on a weekly or biweekly basis. About this time, I started thinking about Tallie and now that she was almost 2 ½, I started becoming a little concerned that she still wasn’t saying much. When all this started, I had thought for sure that by the time she was 2, I would see a big improvement. I talked to my mom about it and she also seemed a little concerned so I decided to mention it to her teacher. She almost sounded relieved that I had brought it up and she kind of blurted out that if I wanted we could re-test her for Autism. I was really surprised by this. I wasn’t saying that I was concerned that she was Autistic, hadn’t we already determined that she wasn’t? I was just concerned that her language was delayed. I decided to go along with a second evaluation, again just to rule it out.

The first mention of Autism

I was at the pediatrician’s office for Tallie’s 18 month well visit check up. We had been waiting in the examination room for just about an hour, it was almost lunch time and my girls were acting like they were about ready to lose their mind. Their doctor finally comes in and starts complaining about the previous appointment. He acted very irritated and was even rolling his eyes about it. I was annoyed that he didn’t even apologize to us for keeping us waiting for so long and thought it was unprofessional of him to be talking about another patient's visit like that.

Within 10 minutes of being in the room he basically wanted to diagnose Tallie with Autism. It started with him asking questions about her language. Up to this point Tallie hadn’t said a whole lot, but I really hadn't been that concerned. I thought it was actually pretty normal with her having an older sister who was very outgoing and demanded a lot of attention.

So the doctor started asking me questions like, does she get really upset by loud noises or different textures. I said, no she doesn’t. He asked if she waves good-bye or responds to her name and I said, no she doesn’t. He asked if she would follow a two step command, like if I threw a ball and told her to go get it and bring it back to me would she. I thought to myself, well she’s not a dog I guess I haven’t tried playing fetch with her. He then proceeded to throw a toy and asked her to go get it. Not surprisingly, she fell to the floor and started throwing a tantrum. I thought that was pretty normal that an 18 month old would be irritated after spending over an hour in a small room and probably getting pretty hungry at this point. Her doctor however thought it was very concerning that she wasn’t looking at us to see if we cared that she was throwing a fit. It was at this point where he said that he had definite concerns about Tallie showing signs of Autism. He said, hopefully I’m completely wrong in a couple of years and we can look back and laugh at this. Meanwhile I am doing everything I can not to completely loose it and start bawling like my 18 month old was. He told me to contact the school’s special education department and to have her evaluated and then he left the room. After that I had to hold back the tears for another 5 minutes while Tallie got two shots. As soon as that was over with, I grabbed my things and my girls as fast as I could and felt the tears forming as I pretty much ran out of there. I remember calling Jeff and calling my mom on the way home, trying to explain what happened while completely sobbing over what had just happened. I was in such a state of shock. I thought I was just taking my 18 month old in for a well visit and I left with the mention of Autism from a doctor who obviously failed the course on how to use good bedside manner when delivering shocking news to a family.

Over the next few weeks I spoke to several family members and friends who knew Tallie very well. All of them said they thought it was crazy. They hadn’t noticed any behaviors from Tallie that would make them think that she might be Autistic. They all thought it wasn’t a big deal that she wasn’t saying a whole lot yet. Many of them talked about how much she likes other people, how she loves to cuddle and how happy and laid back she is. This made me feel a lot better. I needed reassurance that I, as her mother, hadn’t completely missed all the signs that were so apparent to her doctor during the visit.

I did want to be 100% positive about it though. So I called the school and had them come out and do an initial evaluation on Tallie. They said they didn’t have any concerns about Autism but thought she was behind in her communication skills and recommended starting her on speech therapy. This kind of took me by surprise, just because she was so young. I just wasn’t sure it was necessary, but I also knew it wouldn’t hurt. So I did decide to start doing that. I also took her to Children’s hospital and got her hearing checked, that checked out fine as well. Mostly I was just happy that it seemed that autism was not an issue.

Oh and I found a new pediatrician for my kids as well. I am very grateful to have found Dr. Krenzer. She has been such a positive change and a great support through all of this.