Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Building life, love, relationships and parenting on experience learning and communication by Bryan Hogan

I am engaged to a wonderful woman who has a son from a previous marriage. He is my soon to be stepson that is the most fantastic person on earth. As a parent I am sure you understand the love that I have for him and her both. There are no words to describe how I feel. If I were an elegant writer I would ramble on for chapters on how much they both mean to me, however, of course, I am not.

My step-son was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS. This is an Autism disorder that can not be classified. He is a very intelligent and loving kid and exhibits Autism like characteristics. Stepping into a shattered life from a divorce, especially when there is a child involved is daunting. I have learned a lot in this last year, but each day I realize how much more there is to learn.

If only there were a manual or a class I could take, maybe that would make it easier, of course, there is not and we have to learn by experience. Experience learning is often times very painful and straining on relationships. Each parent pulls from their past experiences and tries to parent the best they can by what they learned when they were raised.

Often the parents disagree on what they believe to be in the best interest for the child and their relationship with one another. This of course can be attributed to the different parenting styles and life paths they took before coming together. With a child with a development disorder, it is infinitely more difficult to come to agreement and figure out what is best for everyone. These parents must forget what they have learned in the past and how they were raised. Each child is unique and it takes teamwork to survive.

Building a relationship based upon communication and teamwork is tough. Our days are filled with snxiety, stress, and exhaustion. Whether it be that we are driving an hour and half to work in bumper to bumper traffic, racing across town to get to an appointment, buying a house and creating a home, or worry about loosing a job and how to pay the bills, there are many emotions that keep you on a roller coaster ride from the time you wake up to the time you collapse at night.

With the exhaustion and frustration of the day, coming home at night to our loved ones is all that matters. Even though you both are exhausted, you must come together and talk. The never ending task of building your relationship and growing your love for each other is a high priority. Very few people like to be alone, and especially when you find that special someone, your only concern is growing that love, respect and relationship with them.

Because communication breaks down over the emotions of the day, it is hard to find the time to connect with one another and talk, even though it is of upmost importance. Each of us have our own way of dealing with our stressors, some like to read gossip on their computer or play with MySpace, and others need quiet time with a book or a movie.

Alone time is important, but you must find the time for each other and reconnect or else the other will feel that an effort is not being made and love is lost. It is very important to be open and communicate with each other. It is important to find true relaxation and inner peace in each other, if not the relationship may become strained and the stressors of the day get heavier and eventually explode. You need someone to listen and love.

No matter how much you put forth into your relationship and being a parent, you are always going to make a mistake. I have made many and unfortunately because I am not perfect I will make more. Relationships will be strained and miscommunication will happen. It is important that you find the time and reconnect. It is also important to let the other person know what is on your mind and what is driving your actions.

Without an open and communicative relationship it is difficult to build your love, respect for one another and your relationship. You’re building a family, a home, a career, a balance sheet and a life together. So stay in contact with one another and let them know how you feel. It takes more than one person to live life. It takes teamwork. It takes love and above all else it takes communication and understanding.

Spend some time with your loved ones today, forget about the stressors of the day and continue your journey together. Only your team will succeed. It is important to us that our son has everything he needs, our love, our affection, our strength and our family. These are all built on communication and love.

Today, I am going home to my beautiful fiancé and my soon to be step-son. I will have forgotten the stressors of the day and I will be open with them and make sure they know how much they mean to me. I will ask my fiancé for forgiveness for not knowing it all yet, and for making mistakes. I will tell her that I love her without question and until the end of time. I will promise to her that each day I will work to become a better man for her and our son. They deserve it, especially my little buddy.

I will take our son in my arms and give him a big Spiderman hug. We will fly like Batman and we will sit together watching Buzz Light Year save the galaxy 5 times. I will make sure he knows that I am there for him and I will make sure he feels the love I have for him and his mother.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Diagnosis

September 11, 2008

3rd Step to a Diagnosis - The ADOS

August 27, 2008

Today, we have the ADOS scheduled with the psychiatrist, Dr. Cho. ADOS stands for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and is considered the "gold standard for assessing and diagnosing autism and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) across ages, developmental levels and language skills," (Western Phsychological Services, 2008). The test consists of 4 modules with only one module being given based on a person's expressive and chronological age. The test helps observe how a person socializes and communicates during different activities.

As with the 1st appointment, I was impressed with how well Joey did.

In progress...

Western Psycholgical Services. (2008). ADOS.,70384&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

2nd Step to a Diagnosis - Behavioral Pediatrician Appointment

August 18, 2008

Today was our 1st appointment at the Melmed Center. We met with Dr. Deocampo who is a behavioral pediatrician.

In progress...

1st Step to a Diagnosis - Pediatrician Appointment

July 31, 2008

Over the last few months, both my Mom and I have noticed a change in Joey's behavior. He has pulled away from my parents, who he has known since birth; he no longer runs to me when I pick him up from school; he doesn't want me to leave him anywhere; he doesn't want to see his Dad at all; and he's started to go back into his shell at school. It's time to get a medical opinion.

I made an appointment with his primary pediatrician who he's known since he was born and who I adore. I even refused to find a new doctor when they dropped my insurance company and pay cash now just so I can continue to see the same doctor. She felt that it was best to get another opinion and referred me to the Melmed Center, which is the best place to go in Phoenix. She advised me to call right away because I may have to wait 6 months for an appointment.

I called that very day and left a message regarding an appointment. Then, my Mom and I went looking at Churches for my upcoming wedding. She knelt down and prayed while we were in the Church and afterwards, she told me that she prayed to her father (who passed away in 1972) to watch over Joey. The next day, I got a call from someone at the Melmed Center. They said they had an opening for an appointment on August 18th. I didn't have to wait 6 months after all! The interesting thing is...August 18th is the anniversary of my Grandfather's death. I guess he was watching over Joey after all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Zoo Walk for Autism Research

Joey, Bryan and I have formed a team to walk at the Phoenix Zoo Walk for Autism Research on October 18, 2008. The name of our team is Joey D's Crew. Our team goal is $1000. If you would like to donate to this great cause, please click on the link below. It would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.