My name is Tarrah. I am 39 years old. I have been married to my amazing husband Jasen for 5 1/2 years and he is truly my soulmate and my “happily ever after”. There are 5 children between us (mine, his and ours). Two of them are my step-children…one of which is an adult, living on their own navigating their way in the world and the other living with their birth mother. Three of them are living in our home…My oldest daughter is a senior in high school and will be leaving for college this fall. My youngest son (the ours) is almost 3 years old and will be starting preschool either this fall or spring. My middle son, the main focus of this blog at this point, is my Dalton. He is 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. Please allow me the opportunity to introduce you to him and give you some background…
Dalton was born in February of 2008. He had a perfect Apgar score and an uneventful birth (except for the grandstand of med assistant students there watching…AWKWARD). The only complication that I had during my pregnancy with him was that I developed gestational diabetes in my 2nd trimester. This was managed through diet alone and no medication was deemed necessary. My life however, during my pregnancy was extremely stressful. My husband (now my ex-husband) was living abroad and the strains of that (financial and emotional) took a heavy toll on me daily. Dalton was a typically developing baby. He was a bit late on some of his milestones but not to the point that his doctors ever felt the need to intervene. He was “just a boy” and boys are later to develop than girls. I made the decision to move our family abroad (Dalton and our daughter and myself) to live as a family with my then husband. We lived abroad for about 6 months. During that time, Dalton had his 15 month vaccinations (one different type than US standard vaccinations) and he sustained a severe head injury from taking a fall down a set of stairs leading up to our flat.
When we returned to the US he continued to develop in what I thought was a typical manner. My marriage dissolved and I reunited with my Jasen after losing him when I was 18. Jasen had experience with identifying signs of Autism from raising his then youngest son that was had this diagnosis. He started seeing signs of Dalton “turning off” and “shutting down”. As I paid more and more attention to the things that he brought into my focus I sought an evaluation which led to and Autism diagnosis for him and the start of early intervention services.
Dalton began EC (Early Childhood) intervention services through his local school district when he was 3 years old. And let me tell you…THAT was some of the roughest, hardest times that we experienced with him. He was combative, violent, aggressive, he barely ate anything at all unless it came from the “Golden Arches”…and his meltdowns would last from anywhere to an hour to two hours straight. MOST of these occurred at school because they were trying to make him do things that were hard for him AND he didn’t like to do things that he didn’t want to do.
Dalton was removed from his home school district at the district’s request because they didn’t feel that they had the appropriate level of services that he needed to be successful. Years of IEP meetings (which were the WORST kind of hell that I had ever known), in-school and private therapy sessions had yielded little to no improvement. So he began school in an “Autism Classroom” at a different school, in a different community through the coordination of our home school district and our “Special Services” center in our county. After 3 years in that school he graduated into an “Autism/Asperger’s Classroom” at another school in a different community. Which brings us close to the present.
Dalton’s first 6 months in his “new school” was great! There were little to no bad reports home, no huge behavioral or disciplinary issues, grades were fantastic (first time ever to receive REAL grades and REAL academically challenging work). But at the turn of the new semester, work started to get harder, expectations were more demanding and things started to change. He started to become combative and aggressive again…we increased his meds level to try and balance it out again…we started changing up our Essential Oil regiments with him…we gave it time…we tried new methods of discipline…NOTHING was changing anything. And then I started thinking about a program that my mom had pointed out to me last year called Brain Balance…One of the nurses in my doctors office had mentioned to me about the program and how much it had helped her nephew…so I talked it over with my Jasen and we decided to have him evaluated for the program. Dalton being enrolled in this program is what has spurred my want to create this blog. I want to be able to share about his journey (good and bad) and hopefully help some other parents and children out there along the way! I can’t promise that it will all be sunshine and rainbows…and I can’t always promise that there will be “clean language” (I cuss like a sailor…it’s fucking ridiculous…HA!). But I DO promise to be honest and forthcoming and will answer ANY questions posed honestly and openly. I look forward to sharing our journey with you!!