Taking life for granted – how often do we do this? Over the past eighteen years, I have learned a lot about small victories and taking things for granted.
Eighteen years ago my son was born. By the time he was three months old, I knew there was a problem. There were no smiles, no coos, and no eye contact. My son was in a very different world than I was and it tore me apart. As time went by, it occurred to me that there was something wrong with him and I didn’t know how to go about finding out what.
A friend of mine who has a Down’s syndrome son encouraged me to call Early Invention myself and get him evaluated. By the time he was thirteen months old, my son had his evaluation and was found to have the verbal skills of a three-month old. Validation. Validation that yes, my instincts were right. Validation that someone heard me and really listened.
Over the first year of Early Invention, we taught my son sign language. I spent every spare moment I had learning about nonverbal children and sensory issues. As the speech pathologist worked more and more with my son, the word autism came out. I researched and researched. A name for the problem – was it possible?
Autism is such a hard spectrum to diagnosis as every case is different. A neurological disorder from birth affecting speech, sensory, and social skills in these children, yet affecting each one differently. For my son, he was completely nonverbal to over the age of three and his sensory issues were plentiful. Social skills that come naturally to more children had to be grilled into him before he grasped conceptions of acknowledging someone speaking to him, sharing and interacting with his siblings and friends.
The road was set to be a long and hard one. Join me in walking through my son’s journey in coping with Autism over the next few days.