Nicholas James Gillespie Jr.
I think that this picture really shows the personality of my sweet, little Nicholas. Nicholas is 5 years old and will be starting Kindergarten in the Fall. From the moment he was born on March 19, 2005, I knew he was going to be special. He was such an easy baby. Nicholas was a VERY early talker. He started talking at a year old and could say complete sentences at the age of 20 months. I remember sitting in his room and him saying his first sentence, "I have a nightlight in my room, Mommy". After my initial shock of this long sentence I said, "Yes, you do!" Also, at the age of 20 months he could say his ABC's and he wasn't shy in the least. I remember taking him to my mom's school before Carter was born and he sang the ABC song to the whole 4th grade class (I wish I would have gotten it on tape like I was told to). He never ceases to amaze me. At around the age of 2 I started to notice some differences in him and an "average developing 2 year old." I had noticed things earlier, but my doctor told me not to worry because every child develops at his own pace. Nicholas did not crawl normal until a year (before that it was the most adorable army crawl). He didn't walk until he was 16 months (before that it was the most adorable walking on his knees walk). He was not fully potty trained until right before he started Pre-School (he still has to wear a Pull-Up to bed). Nicholas struggled to make friends and if things did not go EXACTLY his way he would have MAJOR meltdowns. My college degree was in Special Education and therefore I saw these signs as things that needed to be dealt with immediately because I knew that early intervention was the key to helping him. I talked with Nick about the possibility of Nicholas having Asperger's Syndrome (a form of Autism). At first Nick was totally against us having him tested, but eventually decided that it was the best thing for Nicholas. In the Fall of 2009, we had Nicholas tested by a developmental pediatrician and it was determined that he has Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I will have a post that is dedicated to this disorder in the next few weeks. I am still not completely certain that he does not have Asperger's Syndrome, but concentrating on strategies to help him overcome his SID is a start. It has been somewhat like a grieving process for us, especially me. Everyone envisions their child as the "All-American" boy or girl. I don't know if Nicholas will ever be that, but he will always be my brilliant baby boy whom I love and adore. I think the hardest part for me is when strangers see how he acts sometimes and they look at me as this awful parent because to them he looks so "normal". Or when family compares my two boys and picks favorites, which is always Carter. It hurts so bad. I try not to let it bother me, but it does. Nicholas is one the most amazing boys you will ever meet and I am so lucky to have him as my son. I am continually looking for ways to help him. I am his greatest fan and advocate and that will never change. I love you Nicholas James Gillespie Jr. You are one special boy!