“Well after looking at everything I feel comfortable in diagnosing him as having Asperger’s which is on the Autism spectrum.”
This is what the behavioral doctor said to us after three months of testing. We were not surprised.
This was in 2012 and now they have eliminated Asperger’s as a diagnoses but from what I understand, Drew is grandfathered in and is still considered to have it.
We started to think something was a little off when he was four. He started preschool for the first time and was having a lot of trouble with it.
His older brother had been diagnosed with a developmental delay when he was three. This was something that our world seemed to be revolving around when Drew was born. As he grew and started to talk, I thought he was okay. He was saying more when he turned two then his brother was at four. He had to be okay.
He walked late, at 15 months but that isn’t something to be concerned about. He hit all the milestones he was supposed to.
Before we moved back to the US he had only been in childcare a handful of times. So at first, I thought that was it. He just wasn’t used to being in that setting. Once he got going with it he would be fine. When I brought it up with his regular doctor, that is what she said too. But he wasn’t fine. He didn’t want to do what he was supposed to do. He would get mad when it was time to change from one thing to another. I started to cringe when I would walk into his room to pick him up wondering what he might have done that day.
I started taking him to hourly care on post which was great. The staff there figured out how to work with him a little bit. So if I wanted to go to PWOC or MOPS I would put drew in hourly since I knew they would have less issues with him there. I would also prep him a lot in the car on the way there. We would go over what was expected and how he should act.
It was then I started having this feeling like something was off. We had an almost four-year old and in a lot of ways he was acting like a two-year old. He would act like a kid who was never told no in his life and that clearly wasn’t how we were raising him. It was so frustrating for us. In the back of my head I knew something wasn’t right. Then we talked more with the teachers and knew we should have him be seen.
I have always believed that moms always know. I knew something was going on with Daniel. I have talked to other moms and they just “know” something is going on with their kids. If you think something is off with one of your children, go in and see if you can find out more. What is the worst that could happen? And the sooner you can find out what is going on, the sooner you can help them.
So we started the process in October of 2011 right before he turned five. During the few months we had different appointments and filled out a lot of paperwork. The doctor met with us, heard our concerns. He met with Drew. He had his teachers fill out a lot of paperwork and Ben and I did as well. Then he met with us again. During the months while we waited for the diagnoses I started reading a little bit about Asperger’s. I was drawn to this as the reason my son was acting the way he was. I didn’t know too much about it other than hearing stories from friends. I then read a little bit of Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison. The first chapter talks about how as a child he would hit his friends for “not playing right.” BINGO! That was Drew. He would get so mad if another child didn’t play right.
By the time we went for the diagnosis. I already knew. My son had Asperger’s. My son had Autism. I knew because he had trouble with no. I knew because he had a “list” in his head of how his day should go and anyone who told him differently was mean. I knew because he was different from the other kids. I knew because he liked to talk over and over about Star Wars or Legos or whatever it was in he was into. I knew because one day he played with a Lego car on the stairs all day long. I knew because he liked certain foods a certain way. I knew because he had his chair and didn’t want anyone else to sit in it. I just knew.
And these days, as we work through the issues we need to work through, I can see more and more how Asperger’s affects his life. How it will make it harder for him and how we as his parents have to do things a little differently because of it. He has come a long way from his preschool days. We have worked hard with ABA , at home and with his school. I know we have a lot of challenges ahead but I am thankful for that diagnoses because it helped us know exactly how to help our son do what he needs to do to get through each day.
Do you have an Autistic child? Did you know they were before they were diagnosed?