Matteo

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Matteo

My name is Aracely, and I have two Children with Developmental Delays. However, my two-year-old, Matteo, was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the past six months. I am no stranger to disabilities in children. My three-year-old son Santino was born with Omphalocele, which means his liver and intestines outside of his body covered by membrane, which also affected his lungs. We lived in the NICU his first six months of life (which I knew meant would not be an easy journey post-NICU). Today, he is doing much better, still medically fragile on Oxygen & G-Tube feedings, and still receives services through our insurance health plan, school district, and CCS. We've been familiar with early intervention services as well since my three-year-old was about eight months. As the months went by, Matteo never held his bottles when most typical children were doing those types of things. He was a healthy growing boy, usually in the 95th-97th percentile of boys his age. Still, nothing stood out until after he was a year old when he was not meeting some of the milestones on the physician's questionnaire by his 18-month checkup. Since having Santino, I am not rigid when it comes to milestones because, after all, every child develops at their own speed. Matteo was diagnosed with Developmental Expressive Language Disorder, and I figured that made sense because, at 18 months, he was not saying words or labeling things or even calling for me or interacting with me. The Doctor did not see too many improvements after speaking with his Therapists and based on further evaluation. I know for me, I was relieved to know and understand Matteo's behavior, etc. finally. Matteo has recently started receiving ABA therapy sessions, and even within a few weeks, I've seen some improvement. Both of my boys are non-verbal, so life has been different than when I had a healthy daughter 20+ years ago. She was talking her little heart out and could say, "I love you, mommy." Still, with my boys, we haven't shared something like that; however, I feel their love, and I know they love me just by looking at how they light up and smile when they see me or when Matteo cuddles up to me and puts his arm around me. We both say "Hug," especially when he is seeking some sensory input (he needs deep pressure hugs, etc. to ground him sometimes). I have a different view of life since having my boys and have much respect for all caregivers because, to date, it has been one of my most challenging jobs but also the most rewarding. I have faith Santino & Matteo will thrive, and I am grateful for the treatments available to help the children & families understand Matteo better.