Who is this kid, and what have they done with my child??
After a short lunch break we were brought in to hear the “results”. Now keep in mind that 9 months before he had been diagnosed with a SEVERE repetitive expressive speech delay, and two doctors (his pediatrician, and the PH.D at the speech and hearing) gave tentative autism diagnosis because at that time he fit the criteria.
The results: He does not display ANY signs of autism! I was told that his speech has grown in leaps and bounds (which it really has he has picked up so many words in the past month or two that it is really amazing), and that because of how social he was (playing with the psychologist) there was no way that he meets the autism criteria any longer. They determined that any issue he may be having now is behavioral and indicated that maybe parenting classes or instruction on discipline may be helpful!
My disclosure here is that they were all very nice and extremely respectful at all times. But—the results were the same. I was told that autistic children cannot simply have a good day, or ever pass as non-autistic NOT EVEN FOR A FEW HOURS! And—that he was interactive with her, and autistic children are not social. I tried not to explode, there was no use in arguing the stupidity of these statements but I was rattled to the bone.
Here I am, spending the last year observing my child, seeing all the similarities between him and myself, and my other children, and what? He grew out of the diagnostic criteria? One does not grow out of autism, so the other explanation is that I was wrong, his pediatrician was wrong as was speech and hearing OT.
Should I be happy?
Here is the thing…this should be cause for celebration, right? I should be happy that they say he no longer displays any signs of autism save for the fact that I don’t really trust that. Something gnaws at me every time I think about it…a big something.
I’ve been there, done this, and lived through it! Part of the diagnostic criteria states when discussing the SOCIAL skills of the child or adult that social difficulties may not be apparent until later WHEN SOCIAL DEMANDS OUTWEIGHT CAPABILTIES. In other words, the social demands of a child in a one-on-one setting being engaged with toys and things that he WANTS to do, may not yet outweigh his social capabilities. The other myth that I was fed is that autistic children do not display the desire to be social as mine did—BUT I DID! I do. I WANT to be social, I want to interact, and I want to share especially in a one-on-one setting!
The idea that autistic children do not have an interest is other people is ridiculous!
The other problem is that I was told his verbal skills have grown in leaps and bounds, and the autistic children that they see do not display this rapid growth in their verbal abilities. He is still behind—delayed, but no-where near as delayed as he was 9 months ago, and THAT IS GREAT NEWS. But as we all know, many autistic children INCLUDING MYSELF are verbal. They said that they look for difficulties with verbal communications.
Now here is the thing…I can overlook the he is too verbal stupidity, but the social things is really getting to me. I pick the Tot up from daycare every day to find him off in a corner somewhere lining up toys, or blocks across the floor while the rest of the kids play in a group somewhere else. I know that they let him do his own thing and that is how he has good days there. At no time did I EVER walk in and see him sitting with the rest of the kids. He would be aside flipping through a book, while the others kids sat in a circle looking at them, or following one of his teachers around the room who were cleaning up. He consistently stays, when allowed, with the adults away from the children.
He does the same on the playground—he wants to play with us, or his grandma or grandpa—not with the other children unless it is to snatch a toy from their hands. In Barnes & Nobles, he loves to play with Thomas the Train, and does not share with the other kids. Sometimes he will tolerate them at the table with him, but if there are too many he leaves and explores the toys and books on the shelves in the children’s section without acknowledging the other kids around him. Interaction with adults or caregivers IS NOT THE PROBLEM.