Yesterday I made an appointment for D11 at The Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. We can't get in until April. A little discouraging, but it gives me time to explore other options.
We've lived and accepted D11's little quirks, social abnormalities and weirdness with food. He has always done well academically and we are not a very social, outgoing family. Our preference is to be home and spend time with each other or ourselves. It's been easy to not worry about him or think something was amiss.
It took a conversation with D11's teacher, about a month into this school year to open our eyes to the possibility that there was more than just some odd quirks.
We immediately saw the pediatrician who made a referral to a local psychologist. We filled out the paperwork and had the initial consultation (which took about two months). Both my husband and I really didn't like the doctor and felt it wasn't the right place for us.
I just happened to tell our speech therapist (J15 is finishing up speech therapy) about D11 the day after she attended a conference on autism and heard about The Marcus Center.
It took me two weeks to cancel the evaluation with the original psychologist and set up an appointment in Atlanta. Wrapping my head around this seems to be a large part of the process.
Both the pediatrician and the local psychologist have suggested possible Asperger's Syndrome or some type of social disorder.
It's a long, tedious process and I really haven't even begun.
He's such a wonderful kid. If we do receive a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome or end up somewhere else on the autism spectrum, I'm sure it will be in the highly functioning area. There are so many symptoms that he does not have. We may not be on the spectrum at all.
Whatever I find out I'm hoping to receive some help and guidance for him so that he can live the best, fullest life possible.
You may be wondering why the hell I haven't done something about this earlier. I've spent some time wondering that myself. He's such a great kid. It's only been the last few years that he's withdrawn a bit into himself. It's only been the last year or so that I've started to notice the development and maturity of his classmates and that he wasn't keeping up.
The hardest thing I do every day is drop him off at school. I've been in the lobby before school, where all the kids are waiting for assembly to start, sitting in groups and talking, interacting. There sits D11 alone, or at the outside of a group. Just not connecting. It is the most heart breaking thing.
He's been in school with most of these kids since first grade. He's become the weird kid, the slow kid (not academically, just in line, to move to the next thing). He's become the really fat kid (we've been referred to the feeding program in Atlanta as well as the developmental program).
I remember feeling isolated and alone as a child. It's about a million times more painful to watch your own kid go through it.
Actually, it's not. It's painful to watch, but he's the one experiencing it.
How much have my own issues with anxiety and depression fueled D11's issues? If I wasn't spending so much mental and emotional energy dealing with my crap, would I have sought help for D11 years ago?
That's a really dangerous road to go down. Once I start thinking about that the panic, the horror, the guilt come crashing in.
I'm much less frustrated with him then I have been in the past. Much more patient. I'm trying to view his behavior through the possibility of a developmental challenge, more than just him not getting it. Whatever "it" is at the moment.
So we take it a day at a time. I'm educating myself, being open to new ways to relate to him, praying for answers, and a push in the right direction. Enjoying the present moment, even as we hope for a better future.