One more diagnosis, but the same sweet little Abram...After Abram made three visits to Children's Autism Center for testing, Brandon and I met with Abram's Clinical Psychologist there yesterday, who confirmed that Abram does have Autistic Disorder. Since 40% of the kid's with West Syndrome develop Autism due to the seizures, Brandon and I knew that this was a big possibility, so it was not a big surprise.
For those that are not very familiar with Autism, a diagnosis of Autism is made when a child displays at least 6 of 12 symptoms across the three areas of: social interaction, communication, and behavior. According to Children's, Abram tested evenly in all three of these areas.
In addition to the diagnosis, the Psychologist at Children's spent nearly an hour talking through her recommendations for Abram, answering questions that I had, and explaining the two large resource books that she gave to Brandon and I.
In some ways, Autism seems like an easier thing to rap my head around than epilepsy. There aren't any Frankenstein size brainwaves like hypsarrhythmia that threaten to fry the brain, and the number one treatment for Autism is not also the leading cause of a high death rate (as it is for West Syndrome).
For now, the main focus is getting Abram to engage more, and learn more skills. His psychologist said that after he works on that for the next 18months, they would like to do another assessment, and check on his progress. One thing that she mentioned is that Autistic children are usually harder to motivate to learn, as they are typically incentivized by concrete things, and food (not by social motivation). It makes perfect sense that Abram's newfound freedom to eat whatever he wants has inspired a desire in him to communicate, and interact with others more.
Abram has been babbling a lot, plus he is using sounds in addition to hand-overhand communication. "Ba ba" means bath, "wa wa" for water, "mmmm" for more, etc. He still uses the few signs that he knows as well, but I have been working on getting him to try to use actual speaking to communicate too. He definitely seems to have his own unique talents, and intelligence. He notices things, and figures out things that even my older kid's have trouble with. Abram can whistle, snap his fingers, and move just about any object in order to get into mischief.
Much thanks to all of you for your support and prayers as we trek down a new road. It is much appreciated.