Wednesday, January 12, 2011

He Shows Signs

WTF does that mean? Aaron had part one of his autism assessment this morning (Last week). We met with a developmental pediatrician. We went through his history, my pregnancy, concerns we had and he had a brief physical exam. This is part one of three.

I asked the pediatrician if he thinks Aaron has autism and he said that he has symptoms on the spectrum. After our first appointment we are still no closer to having a diagnosis or answers. I asked the doctor what we need to be doing as parents and HOW we should parent Aaron and he didn't have answer. The only answer I got was that we will need to learn to see the world through Aaron's eyes. That I can do but how??

I left the appointment angry. I am not angry with Aaron or myself. But the whole fucking process. WHAT doI need to be doing for my son?? I want to know the HOW and the WHAT! We won't have answers until we see the child psychologist and speech therapist the second week of February. I wish that someone could point in a direction. I wish there was a book I could have recommended to me to read about Autism or high functioning autism. On how to parent kids on the spectrum. I hate this and I feel like my hands are tied until I get a diagnosis.

Aaron's daycare has been more informative on this whole process having seeing kids go through this before. I wish there was a parent support group I could go to. I just feel like I have no clue what I am doing and I am failing Aaron as a mom.

He's gaining daily and weekly in his speech, but a lot of it is parroting. So I still don't know what to think. Last night, I took him to McDonald's (Yes we do go there now and then. The play places are free!) With a friend so the boys could play in the play place and he kept saying his friend's name which he hadn't done before. He plays with his friends which is encouraging. He interacts, he socializes. One thing that autism is based on. Socialization. I could go on forever about my thoughts and feelings. But it would be moot.

I am still sick and writing that test while sick didn't bode well for me and I am no longer in the running for that government job.


SciFi Dad said...

It means that even the experts don't know what autism is, and it's often used as a knee-jerk label when they can't map everything into perfect little checkboxes.

Personally, while I believe autism exists, I think it is overdiagnosed.

I have no idea if Aaron is or isn't autistic, but your experience with the assessment process only saddens me; it doesn't shock me.

Ginger said...

I wish that I knew what to tell you. Or where to go. Or what to do. I had it explained to me today that there is the Autism spectrum and then there is Autism. I think the spectrum is much more difficult to diagnose because Aaron's symptoms may be unique to him. It doesn't sound to me like he is Autistic. I think there is a difference. The spectrum is HUGE and covers so many things. I once taught a student who they never had a label for. All they would say is that he is "under the umbrella" of PDD. I know that is frustrating.

Right now you ARE doing what is best for him. You are seeking answers. There may never be a right way to parent him or the "best" thing to do. I know that doesn't help, but you know we are going through a similar situation right now.

There are so many unknowns. Focus on what he can do. Focus on his potential. You are a loving mother. As time goes by you may learn strategies to help him. Right now, your love and support are what he needs. The other parts will fall into place. Hold fast to the positive. Try to stay away from negative feelings and stress.

I know that is hard and I am not always successful at it myself. But kids pick up on those things. Celebrate the good things and take one day at a time. You are NOT failing your son. You are a good mother. And in the end...that is what matters most of all.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry all this is falling on you at once. It so totally sucks. Try to keep your chin up.

S.I.F. said...

I'm sorry you didn't get more answers friend...

statia said...

I agree with Sci-Fi dad. Please don't automatically assume that Aaron has Autism. Do you have someone who can give you a second opinion?

When Mini was diagnosed, it was a gut blow. But, even though I didn't agree with the label, I took it, because it gets him services that he might not otherwise receive. There are TONS of grey areas that can seem like Autism, but aren't. Like Dyspraxia, or Sensory Processing Disorder, or Auditory processing. Sure, they can go hand in hand with Autism, but it doesn't always.

There are some great books you can get. It Takes Two to Talk is a good one, as well as The Out of Synch Child, and The Out of Sync Child has fun (those are for sensory processing). Read about Temple Grandin. I know that things are different in Canada, but find out about private speech therapy. There's so much you can do, and you can email me at anytime statia @ failure to nap

As for the "parroting" (echolalia is the technical term), this is pretty typical for spectrum and processing kids, and we still struggle with it. While the Mini doesn't "echo" in the way that Aaron is right now, he used to. His echoing is more now rote phrases. I equate it to this: I suck at math, it makes absolutely no sense to me. This is how the social constructs of language are to him.

Also realize that he's not even three. I know this sucks. Believe me. I felt like there had to be SOMETHING, anything, I could to. I didn't want to hear that he was too young. But he's going to change so much between three and four, just as he did between two and three. Just keep talking to him, and working with him, language wise. Use the phrase KISS (keep it short and simple, or like I tell myself, keep it simple, stupid :) The fact that he's engaging in "pretend play," is showing signs of imagination, something that is very very limited in Autistic children. The fact that he's taking you by the hand and leading you to places is a great sign.

Seriously, if you ever have questions, email me.

Britt said...

How frustrating! I know very little about Autism. I hope these next specialists can shed a bit more light on the situation for you!