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Does My Child Have Autism?
April 2020 | blog article by an Imagine A Way dad
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My name is Bruce. Well it’s not really. I changed it for the purpose of a false sense of anonymity it might give my family and I. I’m not sure where or how to start this other than to tell you a brief summary of my life up until the birth of my son Peter. (Again not his real name, though my wife did like that name as well.)
I was born to overwhelmed parents as the seventh of nine children, seven boys and two girls. Not at all relevant most people just find that fact interesting. I had a strict religious upbringing and was by far the most misbehaved and rebellious of the group. I was bright and did well in school when I applied myself. In my twenties my path got lost and I wandered aimlessly with no definite direction as to where my life was headed, nor did I have any idea that I was lost at all. That was until I met her.
She was beautiful, funny and feisty. I did not like her at all. What happened next has the makings of a romantic comedy and though very cute and funny and heartbreaking at times, I’m holding out so I can sell the rights to Nicholas Sparks
for his next book. Sufficient to say she became my world, my life had direction and as long as she was there I thought everything would turn out happily ever after.
Peter was doing great. He was an early crawler and was walking at ten months, running at a year. Around this time we started to notice that Peter would not respond to his name. He made very little babbling noises and though our pediatrician said it was fine and not to worry, we began to worry about the possibility of Autism.
What happens from here on out is our gut-wrenching tale of heartache and our path to peace. It is the reason I writing this today in hopes that other parents in similar situations will read this and find the comfort we have without the self-inflicted agony we brought upon ourselves.
Our pediatrician had told us not to worry and we did. We did the responsible thing and researched it.
Then the hammer dropped.
The evaluators came back with their conclusions. Peter was delayed in all areas except for one. They came back with significant delays in every category except for motor skills. They informed us that though they were not qualified to make a formal diagnosis, they felt that Peter displayed several Autistic tendencies.
Looking back at this, it frustrates me that this is the system. The evaluators got nothing more than a 35 minute snap shot of Peter and on top of that they ignored things that we knew he could do because we had seen him do it, but
because he had not shown those skills during the evaluation they were marked as delays. I felt that our opinions and input were grossly ignored during this process as they quickly and casually dealt out a judgment that could potentially
devastate a family.
Looking at my wife, it reaffirms my belief in a higher power. This beautiful dedicated woman (who I somehow managed to convince that I was her best option) was meant to be our children’s Mom. She did not go down the rabbit’s hole; instead she spoke to our therapist who sees Tony on a regular basis while doing therapy with Peter. She was able to calm our fears and better explained what they were looking for as far as labeling skills as delays. My wife then doubled her efforts working with both children on different skill sets all the while educating me on what I need to do to ensure I continue the work when I get home.
Life is messy and unpredictable, things will always go wrong and there will sometimes be heartache. How we handle these situations when they are thrust upon become the defining moments in our life.
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