Characters: Mi Familia

20 Jan

Mi Familia

In 1996, the Dalton family officially began when I, Dick, took Jane as my lawfully wedded wife. This blog is not about our relationship but we do have our differences. My undergraduate degree was in agriculture education, but by the time I met Jane, I was half way through my master’s program. We were married almost as soon as I finished it. She has a degree in early childhood education but decided not to teach right after her student teaching. She was working at a doctor’s office when we met. After we married, she went back to school and got her LPN license which has never been used since she was pregnant as soon as she graduated.

The pregnancy was normal in every way. It was with the birth that things started. Thomas spent the first few days of his life in the Newborn ICU due to a pneumothorax…a tiny hole in his lung. With oxygen, this did heal up and we brought him home. A few weeks later, he was back in the ICU because it was suspected he had gotten some fluid in his lungs. But he was okay and we brought him home again. At 8 months old, he had a series of grand mal siezures. These were stabilized with Phenobarbital, but the phenobarb probably contributed to Thomas’ developmental delays. He has been seizure free ever since.

Thomas did not speak until he was 3 1/2. He was in the early intervention program and also participated in a communication research study.

I was the one who suggested to his neurologist that Thomas might have autism. The neurologist agreed, sort of, and Thomas was diagnoses with PDD-NOS. Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Thomas learned to communicate through pictures, then signs and finally with spoken words. In between, he got a voice output communication device through the study and his language really did take off. Now he talks constantly. He does have behavior and social issues which we can discuss later.

A few years later, Percy was born. Jane was on some sort of bed rest almost the entire pregnancy, but the birth and delivery were normal. Easy, compared to Thomas. Percy has progressed normally, pretty much, except for a few language and fine motor issues. We just had his first IEP a few months ago as he did qualify as significantly developmentally delayed. I’m not sure about that, but he is getting some services so I’m okay with it for now. While he does talk, he is pretty shy around his peers. Jane is a lot like that, so hopefully it is just a personality thing.

The closest relative is Jane’s mother who lives 350 miles away and who isn’t in that good of health. My parents, siblings and her parents and siblings live more like 1,000 miles away. So support is in short supply, at least in the way of family help. We sometimes find ourselves very much alone. The church does provide some assistance to us, but we are very proud, self-reliant people. And we do a good job, for the most part.


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