Friday, August 14, 2009

Welcome to Autismland, Part 1

Roughly three years ago, while pregnant with my daughter, my world was relatively typical. All things considered, life was pretty good. My 2 year old son wasn't talking as much as all the books said he should be, but most folks I mentioned it to seemed to think I was overreacting. Most days, I agreed with them. My husband and I are fairly quirky people, so it shouldn't be surprising that my son had his quirks, too.

After delivering my daughter, amidst all the papers the hospital gave us, was information through our area's school system on receiving free developmental screenings. When I called, I mentioned that I knew this was available for my daughter, but was wondering if they could come take a look at my son. That wasn't a problem.

During that first visit, I kept waiting for this professional to laugh and confirm that I'm overeacting. That didn't happen. She was very pleasant, but felt very strongly that he needed to be seen by more professionals on staff. After multiple visits from multiple specialists, we were referred for an MET (multidisciplinary evaluation team) exam and a kind-hearted therapist mentioned that I should start preparing myself to hear the word "autism".

Autism? Like Rain Man?!? After the panic attack wound down, I did what I always do when I don't understand something. I went to the library and checked out every book on the subject, then started researching online. The mad frenzy to soak in as much knowledge as possible had begun. I kept thinking that I would find some kind of proof that this was wrong, or find a different solution.

It is extremely disturbing to keep finding lists of my son's quirks repeated in book after book, about a lifelong condition with no known cure.

Posted with LifeCast


Anne said...

Love reading your blog, Michelle, and I started thinking what a blessing the Internet can be, especially when you feel alone, like when you received the Autism diagnosis. I hope other moms of children on the Autism spectrum will find your writing right at the perfect time.

Michelle said...

Thank you, Anne. I went ahead and added to this one. It was already pretty long, so I split it up into 3 posts. I got to thinking about what I would want to tell someone who is going through this. What would I say if we were face to face with them?

I hope this would be meaningful to someone trying to cope, especially for that first year. Each parent that's gone through it that I've talked to has confirmed that the first year is the absolute worst.

Anne said...

I can just imagine about the first year being the worst. I'm going to have to share this with other moms and autism educators.

Michelle said...

Very cool, thank you lady!

Anne said...

Well, thank you for sharing!

Welcome To Steps For Michelle

About marriage, motherhood, dealing with autism, figuring out the path before you, and whatever right-brain thoughts happen to pop in along the way.

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