If you have never read the poem Welcome to Holland. I highly recommend it. It is told from the point of view of a mother and her acceptance of having a child with a disability. It always makes me emotional to read. And as I type now, I have tears in my eyes. Please read it and share with someone who needs to hear that message.
There is an increased number of children that are being diagnosed with autism today. It is very important to know the signs of autism. Before you begin to start diagnosing people like me be careful. All children develop differently. Some children are like Leo the Late Bloomer and that is fine. But a mother knows when there is a delay with her child.
The biggest signs for me was when Sydney began to smell her food and pulled out all of hair. Now these signs won’t be the ones you see listed under signs of autism. For me I knew that something “sensory” was going on with her body. Next she stopped talking, making eye contact and responding to her name when we called her. Sydney had difficulty in social situations. She would play by herself at daycare and not interact with the other children. If she did interact it was to take their toy. Because she lost her language. Screaming became her voice.
I thought she was a ballerina because of her tippy toe walking, which was another sign of autism. She never flapped her arms but she would squeal when she was happy and walk on her toes. She had obsessive interests. Too many to name at this time.
After noticing these signs and there are many more because every child is different. I started our journey with our pediatrician. He told me that Harrison was talking for her and not to be alarmed she would talk in time. I fought to have a hearing test done and her hearing was perfect. Next I found The Abilities Center. They would do a full evaluation for me. This was the longest day ever. While I waited in the waiting room. I noticed that all of the children coming in for therapy were just like my Sydney. The moms all looked just as tired as me. For some of the testing I could observe Sydney through the two-way mirror. I cried because I was alone, scared and uncertain how I was going to raise a child with autism, be a wife, work and raise Harrison.
We returned to The Abilities Center to go over the results. Her report was over 50 pages long. After the first paragraph I think I tuned the therapists out. Just tell me she’s autistic so I can get a plan together. But they read every line and at the end made their recommendations. I didn’t get an autism diagnosis. I was told she would need speech, occupational, physical, and sensory therapy. She needed to see a developmental pediatrician, behaviorist and neurologist right away. I left feeling completely numb about to enter a world that was foreign to me.
To Be Continued…..