Monday, August 1, 2016

A Rainbow Baby and A Child on "The Spectrum"

Life has been very busy for our family since the last time Ashley posted on the blog. I graduated dental school, we moved to Northern Virginia to live with my parents and I have been working as an associate at my father's dental practice. In May of 2016, we welcomed our second daughter, Felicity Jane Stringham. Ever since we lost our sweet Rose Marie, we have anticipated the arrival of a future "rainbow baby" to follow the storm of loss. We miss Rose but are overjoyed at the addition of Felicity to our family. We look forward to sharing more about Felicity on our blog in the future.

Another recent development with our son Will has been a long time coming and is one we would like to start sharing as well. Over the past few months, we have had Will screened by the Child Find program here in Fairfax County. This came about as we came to realize that Will (who turns 4 this month) has been lagging far behind his peers socially, and also through the encouragement of loved ones. Although Will is a very bright child (he started reading before he turned 2) and is generally quite happy, he doesn't seem interested in playing with other kids and it is nearly impossible to have a conversation with him. He also often gets frustrated with others and seems to have a hard time expressing his frustrations verbally.

After completing a questionnaire and an interview over the phone, we had our first in-person screening for Will on May 3rd (which ended up being the day before Felicity was born). Several additional screenings, parent questionnaires, interviews, evaluations, and appointments took place over the next two months. Throughout the process Ashley and I started to get a better idea of what Will's strengths and weaknesses were. We also began to realize on our own that in certain ways he is very different from other kids his age. The team of child psychologists, audiologists, speech and language pathologists, and social workers were all very professional and informative. We had gone into this experience with open minds and grew even more confident that these professionals would be able to tell us what Will needed to help him thrive.

A few weeks ago we sat down with members of Will's evaluation team and they reviewed with us their observations, combined with our own and the results of the questionnaires we had filled out. They listed Will's strengths and weaknesses and the child psychologist explained that based on her observations and all the information, she has diagnosed Will with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Ashley and I have both experienced many different emotions since we heard Will's diagnosis, including sadness, relief, anxiety, guilt, loss, and encouragement. I expect that we will continue to experience all these emotions and many more as we continue on our journey as Will's parents. We know from our experience with losing Rose that by sharing what we were going through, it helped us find love and support from many people, including those who had experienced the same thing.

Moving forward, we hope to do the same as we share more about the joys and challenges of raising our beautiful rainbow baby and our smart, funny, caring child on the autism spectrum.


  1. I am sorry for the emotional roller-coaster y'all have been on the last year plus. I know you're excellent parents and each of your children is privileged to grow up in your loving home. We'll be praying that your emotions can settle into a comfortable place and you'll be able to feel empowered in your quest to educate yourselves about Will's development. We love y'all! Love, the Waters

  2. Thanks for writing this....Cindy and I were talking just last week and hoped you guys would start this blog up again in light of the news. Will will thrive....he is Gods son and loved by all. WE count ourselves luck to part of his family. And I personally look forward to be part of his "people"

  3. Will could not have better parents and you could not live in a better place to support him as he grows up. Thank you for sharing your news, and I hope you feel the love and support of your many friends.