As my son progressed through Early Intervention, symptoms of Autism became more and more clear to the speech pathologist. She brought in a behavioral specialist to help us learn how to get him out of the corner or the closet and entice him to interact more with us.
As he continued to sign more and more, his frustration level dropped and became more willing to be social. Although, he seemed to think by closing his eyes, he wouldn’t “hear” me speak to him.
Moving through this journey with him, stirred many emotions. At first there was denial that something could be wrong. Then anger. As I went to more and more classes on Autism offered through Early Intervention I learned about the grieving process for the child you had hoped for. As I look back now, I see how blessed I was through each step of this process with my eyes being opened to new possibilities and new obstacles. I saw my daughters react in similar, yet very different ways. My oldest daughter being five years older than my son was very soft hearted towards him. Being more gentle and giving in to him. My middle daughter, however, being only 18 months older then my son decided, “just come on” was her attitude. It didn’t matter that he was autistic, she instructed him on how to play with her. Both ways he responded to, though I must admit from me he responded best to a more militant style.
Sensory therapy before going anywhere, bring along the sensory bag filled with vibrating toys, sensory diet snacks became just a way of life. Was it exhausting? Absolutely. Where there rewards? Absolutely. I saw my son starting to respond more and more. Yes, there were definite times of shut down. Around holidays or any major changes in routine. However, being an advocate for my son and doing the sensory therapy for him allowed not only him to interact with the family, but made it less stressful for the family. It was a win-win situation.
At long last when my son was just turning three, he was given an official diagnosis of PDD-NOS. Pervasive Developmental Disorder, nonspecific. A diagnosis at the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. Once again we had validation.