Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I feel so horrible, Down syndrome came into our lives, and totally steamrolled autism to the back of our lives. I'm not sure why, maybe because Jax is so time consuming, but I wanted to do a post on autism for my Tanner. How he was diagnosed, and how he is now, 10 years old!

We started worrying about Tanner because at 2 years old, he didn't have a single word. Nothing. We checked his hearing, it was fine. So we started having a speech therapist come out once a week to work with him. She was the one that brought up what she called autistic tenancies. He would take a bucket of hot wheels, roll one in front of his face, drop it on the couch, and do that for hours and hours. He would also turn a car over, and spin the wheels in front of his face. When this suspicion was brought up to me, I noticed a lot of other things, even from birth. He was always such a good baby. Never, ever cried. Never played with other children, always played alone. Developmentally he was quite behind as well.
When he was officially diagnosed, we didn't really panic. Kind of the same thing with Jax diagnosis. We said ok, and moved right along with what we needed to do. We went on vacation a few weeks after he was diagnosed, and man, that was an eye opener! He screamed the whole time we were at the beach because he wouldn't touch the sand. Ray had to take him out of the Bugs life show, because the sound and lights had him totally overstimulated.
At 4 he got into an autism preschool at the Carmen B Pingree school for autism. That was what made the biggest difference for him. He started school with only a few words, and came out with full sentences. He wasn't fully potty trained until he was 6 years old. He was mainstreamed into a typical classroom with resource classes because he was so far behind, and for a couple years, he did ok.

In 3rd grade, I think because the teacher he had was not very good, it was a fight to get him to school every day. If it wasn't for his resource teacher, we would not have survived the year. I was ready to re apply for the autism school for him. The next year, his resource teacher made sure he had a great teacher, and that year was much better, and we avoided the autism school.

As Tanner has gotten older, its not really that he avoids people and eye contact. He can actually be quite social. The things I notice are, he doesn't understand sarcasm, he is very literal. You can't joke with him, because he won't understand it. Because he is so literal, he has no filter on his little mouth. This is the hardest part about his autism now. He will walk right up to you and tell you those pants don't match that shirt. He doesn't understand its not nice to say that!
Also he's had really bad anxiety. So much that we had to break down and start medication. If it rains, or is windy, you won't get him out of the house. If it lightening and thunders, sheer panic sets in. I can't get him out of the house if there are clouds in the sky. Because that means a chance of rain, or thunder.
He still likes routine. He gets cranky if we are out running errands for a long time. He also still plays alone, and if his brothers bring friends over, he generally doesn't get along with them. He doesn't have a lot of friends. He's had a couple in the last few years, but thats about it.

The funniest thing....Tanner is a fantastic dancer, and a little actor! You know they say a lot of great actors and performers are not social and probably have autism. I believe it. They are so bright and creative. He LOVES Michael Jackson, and can do all of his dances.

What bothers me is when people say, "are you sure he's autistic?" Oh that annoys me more than anything.
Yes, I'm sure!
He is teeny tiny. Carter outweighs him by 10 pounds, and is about an inch taller. I did notice that when he stood in line with his class, that they are all at least a head taller than him. That really worries me for junior high. We are also quite concerned with his weight. He has fallen off the growth chart, and I'm actually worried that he may have lost some weight in the last few months. He has dark circles under his eyes, and needs a sleep study. My ped said its common for autistic kids to not sleep good at night. I know he grinds his teeth, and even talks in his sleep.

I have no worries that Tanner won't do good as an adult. Sure, it takes him a long time to learn. He is still quite far behind his peers. But I have no doubt he will live on his own, and probably get married some day. He will always have his little quirks, who doesn't? I even see college in his future, if he doesn't get a job acting that is!!
Me and Ray have made it a goal to start attending more autism functions, Tanner knows he's autistic, and I want him to be proud, and meet other kids that do to!

*If you haven't, please consider making a donation to bring Sophia home. They have been working for so long, and I have noticed her account go up a bit since I posted about it. Thank you for that. I made my donation today!


Zoey's mom, Heather said...

Tanner is one incredible kid and I can say that with all the certainty in the world because I have been lucky enough to spend time with him. He is funny and caring and loving and so, so smart and he holds a very special place in my heart.

Jake just saw Tanner's Jack Skellington jacket and said he wants it, badly!

Rochelle said...

What a great post on Tanner and autism. He is so adorable.

Line-Marie said...

I love Megan and her daughter Sophia.

I will donate again this week for sure

Thanks for sharing about her on your blog :)

Simply, Sarah said...

Thank you for the eye-opening post. I have been wondering what could be "off" with one of my children for some time, and some of your experiences with Tanner are exactly the same.
I think I'll be discussing what we should do next, next time we're in Seattle for A's treatment.
I think your whole family is and does so great! Thank you for sharing.

Becca said...

Wow, this is a really great post, Lacey. I know you'd mentioned Tanner having autism before, but it's really nice to get to know even more about him, and about your discovery of his diagnosis. He is so adorable! So glad school's been better. :-)

Not a Perfect Mom said...

I knew Tanner was autistic, but I enjoyed this post...learning more about him...
and I think you're right, he's going to do fine as an adult!

Heather said...

Very informative, Lacey. :) BTW - are all your littles blonde except for Jax? I always thought Jax has the prettiest eyes, but so do all of your boys AND your princess! Lovely family you have! :)

Christine said...

Very interesting. thank you for sharing.

The VW's said...

What a great kid! And, handsome too! : )

EN said...

Tanner is so handsome and charismatic in those photos. It sounds like he has so much potential and he will undountedly do amazing things with his life!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post on autism and your son Tanner.

I have only read your November 8th post so I do not know if you have looked into this. But since he is underweight have you had him checked for gluten issues. If he has Celiacs that would definitely effect his autism. I am not saying he would be cured but if he does have Celiacs that would effect his ability to absorb nutrients.

Also if he does have Celiacs then three main nutrients he could be deficient in are vit b12, vit d, and iron.

Michelle said...

Such a cute little guy~ He was born into the perfect family!! PS- the support program I've attended, most of the parents are parents to kids with autism, and all of them talked a lot about having their kids take melatonin supplements. One lady swore by it for her two kiddos. Thanks for sharing about Tanner.

Lindsay Marie said...

Thank you for this post! I'm always interested in learning more about autism from people who have children with autism or from people who have autism themselves.