Once upon a time, I left the hospital with a normal, healthy baby boy, or so I thought. He was a fussy, clingy baby who loved routine. He cried when the vacuum cleaner ran, or if the door was open when the grass was being cut. He met his physical milestones, but not the verbal ones. Maybe if he hadn't been our first, we would have realized it sooner, but there was definitely something wrong, language wise. Yet, there were also lots of signs of definite intelligence. He started receiving speech therapy at 2 1/2 and a special ed preschool teacher came to his daycare a couple of days a week to work with him when he was three and four. After a rough start, he thrived in an inclusion kindergarten class in a wonderful public school, and his teacher told me he was the best reader she'd seen in the ten years she'd taught kindergarten. He was diagnosed with ADHD and continued to receive some special ed services in first and second grade, but he also made the honor roll. Then came third grade, changing classes and more structured work--and behavior problems. I took him to another pediatrician for advice/consultation and after speaking to my son for a few minutes, told me he had Asperger's syndrome, that it was the diagnosis of the week, and that all they could do was treat the symptoms. I went home, looked it up and saw the A word, Autism. I knew autistic kids, he was in school with them and played with them, and I had to admit, had some things in common with them--but those kids couldn't do what he could, those kids had been diagnosed years before, and my son hadn't. Was the pediatrician right?
After a full work-up by a center known for treating autistic kids, it was determined that his proper diagnosis was PDD-NOS, since he had language issues as well as social ones. However, one thing the pediatrician said proved to be true--we've treated the symptoms to the best of our ability, but there is no miracle medication or therapy that makes it go away.
Do you have an autistic child? Tell us about your diagnosis experience. Either do it in a comment here, or by a post on your blog. Link your post (even if it is an old one, already written) to Mr. Linky below. Do you know an autistic child, or the parents of an autistic child? What did you think when you heard about the child's diagnosis? How did the parents react?