Timothy was born on Aug. 19, 2004 in Olympia, Washington. We adopted him at birth. Timothy had good Apgar scores, but did have tremors for the first 48 hours of life. The first issue that we noticed was that it took Timothy a very long time to finish a bottle. Poor suction is a symptom of Dup 15q. Timothy was a very easy baby, sleeping 6 hours straight by 2 weeks old and through the night at an early age. The first warning sign that we saw for Autism was at 4 months old he would spin things non-stop for a very long time. Timothy was meeting milestones on schedule, but always on the long end of normal. As he got older he slipped further behind his peers. He started walking at about 16 ½ months, but could not stand up in the middle of the room without something to pull up on until almost 2 and he fell a lot until he was 2 ½. When he started walking his sensory issues started to appear. Suddenly he was bothered by noise, lots of activity, and swinging terrified him. He could not climb as well as other kids his age and used a scooping motion to pick up things. He would not wave. He was evaluated at CDRC in Eugene when he was 2 ½. They felt that he was probably Autistic. He started Early Intervention right before his 3rd Birthday. Timothy was tested when he was 3 ½ for genetic disorders. That is when we found out that he had Dup15q. (See www.dup15q.org for more info).
Timothy has a hard time waiting and transitioning to new activities, though that has improved. When he started Early Intervention he had a very hard time being in the main class with the other kids. They used to have to play his favorite DVD (Letter Factory) in the background. They gradually covered the TV with a sheet and slowly turned down the volume to wean him off of it. They gradually worked him in to the main classroom. He always needed 1:1 in school. In grade school they started using a Rifton chair with him. What we found out later is that instead of just using it for seat work they were using it for everything including going down the halls instead of working with him on walking in the halls. When we found this out we told him that we wanted to wean him out of the chair. This was when he was in third grade. Half way through the school year they discovered that they were violating restraint laws and called an emergency meeting with us to create a behavior plan. The transition did not go well, and we had to have several meetings to get things straightened out. This past summer Timothy started showing more interest in his peers, before that he was more interested in adults. At the beginning of this school year I asked his teacher to focus on more social interaction and more work on going to other parts of the school. He has made great progress in this area. He has been able to sit at a desk for 70 minutes in the main classroom, he is walking down halls independently with staff with him, but not holding his hands. He walks to the office to visit the principle a couple times a day. At first he was afraid to go in to the main office and now he makes it all the way in to the principal’s office. He has gone to the school library and loves it. He has a favorite classmate and will sit on the couch with that friend and be read to.
Some of our biggest challenges with Timothy is that he climbs EVERYTHING and has no danger awareness. He also does not like to wear clothes. I have become quite creative at adapting clothing and “Timothy Proofing” our home.
Timothy has a great sense of humor and likes to make people smile and laugh. He can do the voices of all of his favorite Veggie tales characters. He can quote his Veggie tales, Letter Factory, Talking Word Factory, & Code Word Caper from Memory. He gained a lot of new words from watching Signing Time and knows all of the songs, and tries to sign the words. Timothy is very affectionate. He loves deep pressure hugs and kisses from Mom & Dad. He likes to make us kiss each other, then kiss him in a kiss sandwich. He has been known to try to make other people kiss each other at times too. He loves to sing songs and I make up songs for different activities to help him do what he needs to do. He sings songs to calm himself. I also sing to him when he is having a meltdown. Reading his favorite books and leaving the last word off of a sentence also helps get him out of a full meltdown. His need to finish the sentence causes his brain to switch from melting down to finishing the sentence. Timothy can be very challenging, but he can also be very charming and has a way of melting people’s hearts. He is hard not to fall in love with.