Autism: Now what?

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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

My husband agreed we needed to talk with a doctor and at that moment I felt like the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. But at the same time, now I had to figure out “what was wrong” if anything. Maybe our son was just having a really hard time adjusting to this new life? Maybe I was just a really bad stay at home mom and had no business ever having children? Maybe this move ruined our lives forever? Yes this seems a little dramatic but at the time our life was a disaster!

In April 2013, we made a trip back to the States to visit family. He was due for his 18 month vaccines shortly after we arrived in Bangkok but we decided instead of having this vaccination appointment in Bangkok, we would talk with our pediatrician back home. Talking with someone who could actually understand us and help to put our mind at ease is just what we needed to figure out this “problem” we were facing.

At the wellness appointment as we sat in the waiting room for our time to see the doctor, we were given a paper on a clipboard. It was a checklist asking questions about our son’s behavior that they normally give to the parents at the 18 month appointment. This paper was going to be used by the doctor to gauge if there were behaviors to watch out for or if our child is on track developmentally. As I started to read each question, I felt like I might vomit. I keep marking “yes.” Why am I marking “yes” here? My child is beautiful and simply adjusting. He is just misunderstood; there is no way he is delayed.

We are called in by his pediatrician, he was reviewing the paper that I had filled out. His facial expressions were not reassuring as he starts to go down the list and ask further questions. He told us that he is concerned with our son’s development because some of the boxes that were checked tell the doctor that our boy was not developing normally. He suggested we keep a close eye on these select behaviors and agreed with us that we should take our son to a speech therapist due to his regression in speech. He tells us it could be nothing serious and that our son is still adjusting from the big move.

I buckle my son back in the car, look at my husband and start to cry uncontrollably. There was no real solution or answer to why things were going so badly for our son. Instead, we are left with “it could be delays. It might not. Go to a speech therapist.”

Tips from the mom

  1. What stuck out to us that made us what to consult a doctor:
    1. No eye contact with anyone
    2. No affection toward parents
    3. No response to his name to the point where we thought he lost his hearing
    4. Playing with one toy for hours without wanting any human interaction and in silence
    5. Regression of speech
    6. Uncontrollable tantrums and screaming 

 

This will be an ongoing series of articles (see the first installment here) 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 types of therapy used to help him succeed.

I hope you enjoy this 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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