I sit here preparing to write this blog, allowing myself to go back in time to when my son was an infant and this journey began, and it is difficult. It was a lonely time for me, even though I had two other children. A time where hurt, anger and yes, even resentment at times filled me.
This journey started as an unknown trek through uncharted territories. I knew there was something wrong with my son by the time he was three months old. I would lay him down on a blanket to play and he would just stare into space. No reaction to his sisters on the floor with him with baby toys trying to get his attention. When he wasn’t staring into space, he was crying. The crying really got to me. A crying baby I can handle, but one that cries harder when he is held? It started wearing on my confidence as a mom. The feelings of “what am I doing wrong?” and “what kind of a mother am I if I can’t console my child” filled me.
My sister would call from out of state and would hear the baby crying, and her first reaction was always “oh, he’s crying, I will talk with you later”. I would beg her not to hang up and to talk to me as I locked myself in the bathroom to try and find some peace.
As my son started crawling, his favorite place to head to was the family room closet. It was a closet that was pretty much empty. He would crawl to the side corner and sit in there and rock for hours. My feeling was that he’s a strange child, but he’s not crying.
At thirteen months, after violent hitting and biting whenever someone touched him, I called Early Intervention. As I said before, when they arrived and did the evaluation, he was evaluated to have verbal skills of a three month old. Validation broke me. I sat there with tears streaming down my face thinking it’s not me. There is something wrong.
By this point, as far as I could see, my son wouldn’t interact with his sisters very much – on occasion, but a lot of staring into space was still going on and he never made noises with the exception of crying. Speech delay, okay I could handle that.
Stay tuned for part III of our Journey Through Autism.