Autism: Evaluation time

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Follow a story of a family whose little boy was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and the steps they took to overcome this diagnosis.

This story is a personal one and should not be taken for any medical advice. This is simply parental advice. If you are questioning the behavior your child is exhibiting please talk to a medical professional to attain a diagnosis through an evaluation.

 

By Becky Horace

Well as you can imagine, I didn’t “figure it out” on my own very well like the specialist had recommended. What a load of crap that caused a lot of frustration and mommy guilt that I couldn’t help my son on my own. After trying for a while, I couldn’t take anymore and talked with my husband about moving forward in the next phase of our son’s development.

Being that I am not a speech therapist or a teacher, I started to look for another option but really it just kind of fell into my lap. I ran into a lady at the market that I met when I first moved to Bangkok. She asked me how my son was doing and in the middle of the market I started to cry and unload everything that was happening. I just couldn’t take it anymore and felt so alone. She asked me if I had heard of the REED Institute and that’s what started it all.

I went home and sent an email to meet with the director at REED. He had us in pretty quickly and I told him about everything that was going on from the time we set foot in this country until the present day. I explained how our son had been speaking with us then completely stopped once we arrived here, our disgruntled helper that had negatively affected everyone in the family, the new helper that was in our life and was so kind to my son, and the little progress I thought I saw since implementing what the specialist from the hospital told me to do.

Friends and family were quick to tell me that all kids are different and some don’t speak until much later. They thought I was overreacting and worrying over nothing. After talking with the director, he confirmed what I already knew in my gut. He explained a two year old that isn’t talking isn’t a big deal. It’s the two year old that was talking and then there was a clear regression in development and speech that is a cause for concern.

After our meeting I agreed to go forward with the evaluation, which is typically used to diagnose autism. I am reassured that we are not here to label my son but we just need to do everything that we can to figure out what is going on. This was probably the best decision I have made in my life. Instead of the twenty minute evaluation in the hospital, the director at REED explained that this evaluation would be a two week process, five days a week for two to three hours a day, during which time my son would play and he would observe.

During our first day of the evaluation I was reassured. My son seemed happy. He was playing a little and instead of hearing the Thai doctor from the hospital say “ooooo no good” with a big smile and nothing further, I heard something very positive “ooo that’s good! Did you see what he did just then?” followed by an explanation of what was happening.

As we were leaving from our first day the director looks at me and says “Your son is a very clever boy, he is persistent and a problem solver. I am confident we will see massive improvements before December.” I promised I would read, study, watch and do anything it would take to help my son succeed in this and I meant it. This was my new found calling in life, my new full time job, our next big adventure.

Tips from the mom

  1. Listen to your gut instinct. Stop listening to family and friends, they have no idea what you or your child are going through on a daily basis unless they live in the house with you. If you believe something is wrong go seek help.
  2. Having an evaluation done is key. If you have had an evaluation that was completed in less than 30 minutes I would recommend searching out a second opinion to have a longer evaluation completed. Your child can be moody, cranky, or hungry state that could throw off an evaluation which is short but with a longer evaluation a proper physician will be able to tell the difference.
  3. As the parent make a commitment to the child and yourself to do whatever it takes to help them through this difficult journey. If your child is diagnosed with delays of any sort please do not assume that a doctor will be able to fix it in one or two sessions. This is now a life long process you will have to learn to navigate together. COMMIT!

 

This will be an ongoing series of articles of our story through an evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and the end results during our son’s last two years of therapy. I will share with you from a parent’s perspective what we have learned and in layman’s terms explain our son’s diagnosis and the type of therapy used to help him succeed.

I hope you enjoy this read and please know no matter how bleak it may seem you are not alone when you are going through this. Parents around the world are in your same shoes looking for support and love; you just have to be open to talk about it.  

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