My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Autism in Our Home, Part 1 - The Diagnosis

This sweet boy, after a lot of evaluations, doctor visits, and tests, has been officially diagnosed with autism. As many of you know, autism is an enormous spectrum. I am going to blog once a week about autism in OUR home. As you read these posts, please don't expect that others who have autism will be the same. All autistic people are so incredibly different. This blog, and these posts, will journal what autism is like in OUR home, and with OUR child ONLY. I also want to say that ALL doctors, therapists, school personnel, and psychologists are in complete agreement with this diagnosis. Although it is a bit of a punch in the stomach to us because we had been going off of a false diagnosis of ADHD for two years, we are so thankful that he now has an accurate diagnosis and we can move forward with the resources we need. ***** Autism is something that normally begins to show symptoms and characteristics in infancy and toddler years. Looking back, the signs were there, I just didn't know that they were signs. I was so focused on Kaydon's health and being a single mom of four boys that I didn't think that they were "signs" at all. For instance, I had Colton's hearing checked twice while he was a toddler. I was deeply concerned that he had hearing impairment. I was told that his hearing was fine and that he must just have selective hearing. I went with that and moved forward. Also, looking back on many pictures of Colton as an infant and toddler, he rarely smiled, and when he did it was a very uncomfortable smile. These, in fact, were characteristics of autism. ADHD symptoms and characteristics are also often times seen in autistic people. Therefore, we are not the only family who has had a misdiagnosis. And, in fact, Colton is remaining on the medication that was prescribed to him for ADHD. These medications help to stabilize his mood and help him to function at a higher level. Colton is considered semi-high functioning autistic at this point. Colton is communicative, as opposed to autistic people who are completely non-communicative. However, Colton's communication is very inappropriate, and is far below age-appropriate. I will be discussing his communication in future posts. As we move forward with this diagnosis, Colton will receive the resources he needs in school through a new IEP. He will also be seeing a new therapist outside of school who specializes in autism. Colton has been told what his diagnosis is, although he doesn't seem to understand what it is or what it means for him. This is to be expected, however. And so the journey begins, or continues...

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