At 7-Eleven with Auntie

At 7-Eleven with Auntie

Jonathan’s neurologist, after diagnosing him with ASD scheduled several tests to see why he wasn’t talking. The primary test was one to check his hearing. I tell you medical technology is a wonder. My blissful ignorance began to morph into knowledge. That knowledge equipped me more and more to help him.

I thought that when he went for the hearing test, that there would be a doctor with a bunch of tuning forks to strike on his own elbow and put behind Jonathan’s ear. Don’t laugh, you probably thought that, too. But along with one of my daughters we went to a specialist and my daughter was directed to sit in a room that was just great for little children, with all the books, toys and stuffed animals to keep them happy. Jonathan was nervous so he just sat on my daughter’s lap. The test was simply a sound was piped into the room and when the child would hear the sound, they would look in the direction of that sound. Jonathan aced that test. Every time he heard the sound, he turned in that direction. His hearing was fine. WHEW!

The next test was a CAT Scan I believe. Because he was so young, he had to be put to sleep to complete it. Goompa and Jonathan’s Dad went into the room with him. I stayed in the waiting room looking at decorating books. There again, the professionals put him to sleep with a mask over his face before starting an IV in his little foot to keep him asleep for the remainder of the test. I wish they would do that with me before inserting an IV. The scan was normal. So, his neurologist had the school district to come out and evaluate him. They were like a lifeline to a drowning person. These two women were great. In fact, they put my mind at ease so much that I felt for the first time I could help him. They told me that the first thing they wanted to do was put him in preschool. He was a month from being 3 years old and still wasn’t potty trained. But they said he would benefit from preschool. He did. I was the one who was having the anxiety attacks and separation anxiety. I imagined him in a corner of the classroom huddling and shaking and crying for me. He came home that first day and nothing changed. I got better as I dropped him off and picked him up. Still no change. But I continued to get better with the idea of him being in a classroom setting.

I don’t remember when it was, but two significant events happened. The day he actually turned 3 years old, we had a party for him at the bowling alley. From that day to this day, without ever having an accident, he potty trained. Joy, joy! No more pullups! The next thing that happened was he came home from preschool one day and I said something like, “Jonathan, pick up your toys.” I heard in a loud clear voice, ‘NO! STOP!’ I was shocked. It was music to my ears. He had spoken for the first time. The tears formed in my eyes. More tomorrow.



             3-year-old Jonathan in preschool

I shared with you yesterday that we legally became my grandson’s ‘parents’ when he was seven months old. He walked at 12 months, on his tip-toes’. I found out later that it was a red flag for ASD. I did notice that he even stood still on his tip toes. It wasn’t a concern to me at all. What concerned me was that he never said a word. He never spoke, even when prompted. That sent my antennas up, not the toe walking. I was ignorant of toe walking, but I knew that he should have said a little something by the time he was 24 months old. (One thing that he could do well was cry). I waited another six months until he was 30 months old – 2 1/2 years old and told  his pediatrician my concern. I love professionals who help out. He was the best pediatrician Jonathan ever had. He wrote a phone number for me to call: Early On.  

Early On Family Services is the primary provider of developmental assessments and evaluations for all children birth to three in your County.   Eight different areas of development are assessed:  

     1) gross motor-large muscles  2) fine motor (how a child uses their               fingers and hands)  3) cognitive  4) speech 5) self care-eating and             sleeping  6)emotions  7) interactions with others  8) coping skills 

I called them and the tiniest little woman came to our place to assess Jonathan.  She and I talked about decorating for a few minutes and then I called to Jonathan. He came out of the bedroom smiling happily. The moment she saw him she remarked: “He walks on his tip toes.” That’s a sign of possible developmental concerns. I was shocked and let her know that from the moment he began walking he had always walked that way. She smiled at  me. Her smile made my pounding heart slow down. She then told Jonathan to play with her. She hopped on one foot, and asked him to do the same. Several other body exercises later and she was finished with her brief assessment. She told me to make an appointment with a child neurologist. I can see her face even as I type this post. She saw my anxiety and kindly told me that her only son had Aspergers and about the challenges he faced. She calmed me down. I appreciate her even now. Her kind and understanding way of talking with me gave me strength to continue on Jonathan’s Way. I called and got the name of a child neurologist. I wasted no time in making an appointment.

Don’t be afraid of reality. Face it head on. You’ll be stronger for it. More tomorrow.




I want to begin today a series on my autistic grandson. There are many who are challenged with ASD and my grandson is one of them. The journey has been difficult for him and for me, but the rewards have been just as numerous. Please, join me as I travel Jonathan’s Way.


Circumstances lead to my husband and I raising our only grandchild. We had already raised six children – four girls and two boys. They were all grown or a year from it, and we found ourselves as empty nesters. I was so happy about it. I would joke with some of our friends that since we were alone in our home, that we’d get a motorcycle and travel the country. (That sounds good right now). Well, when one day we found we were going to be grandparents, it was novel. At the ripe age of two weeks old we saw our grandson and the feeling went from novel to wonderful. We were truly transformed into grandparents, and I vowed to spoil him. That wasn’t to be. 

Without going into a long story, we wound up with him just for his protection when he was two months old and officially since he was seven months old. So, I put the motorcycle trip on the back burner and said, “Oh Well” and began raising another child when I was 52 years old.

At 12 months old, exactly 1-year-old, he walked. He began walking the day he turned a year old. I noticed at that time that he started walking on his tip toes. I didn’t think anything of it at that time. “A dysfunctional vestibular system, a common problem in autism, may be responsible for toe walking.”  

As far as I knew, it was cute. In fact I never knew anything was wrong with his toe walking until he was 2-1/2 years old. That’s when I began to travel Jonathan’s Way.

More tomorrow, but please share with me the way you have taken with any special needs person you know and love.

(Online reference:


A Few More Memories

Talk about memories:  My eldest daughter is 38 years old.  But once she was 5 years old and she was watching a cartoon on T.V.  She came and asked, “Mom, can I have a Ahhple (apple)?  I got one for her and washed and wiped it. I told her, “Whatever parts you don’t eat, bring them back to me,” (I was expecting that she’d bring me the inside, seeds, and the core).  Well, when the cartoon was over and she came back to me, she handed me the little stem, that was all.  I looked at her and asked was there anymore. She said, “No”.  So, I said, “Oh”.  Apparently, it didn’t do her any harm, because she grew up to be a great business woman.

5-year old apple core eater Erika           38-year old Business Woman Erika

Before you think that you can’t write a book, just gather those childhood memories. You’ll find out you’ve got a wonderful and heartfelt book in you.  Just put it on paper and then send it to me when you’re finished.  I’m here for you.

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