Embracing the Chaos of Autism
Everything I have read on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) speaks to early diagnosis and treatment. That is all well and good, if you know, as a parent, what to look for. When my son, Davin, was 11 months, he had this cute habit of flapping his hands and squealing when he was excited. We used to ask him if he was trying to fly. He used a pacifier, as many kids do, talked 'through' it, so much of his speech was mumbled. He seemed like a normal baby to me. But then again, I had horrible postpartum depression and did not bond with him as I should have (could not get him to nurse and he had terrible allergies to formula).
My labor was 36 painful hours, my marriage was not stable, and my 13 year old daughter did not 'appreciate' our blended family. When Davin was 13 months old, my husband and I divorced. I am sure, during that difficult time, and the months that followed, many early signs of ASD were overlooked.
Davin did not walk until he was 15 months old. He did not talk until he was nearly 3 1/2. It was not until a remarriage (to a wonderful man) and a new baby boy, that I could see the developmental differences clearly. Since then we have been on a waiting list for the local Children's hospital clinic. We were told the wait could be as long as 10 months. So what happened to early diagnosis and treatment if resources are so strapped? I am currently looking for a child psychologist to diagnose my son so we can qualify for treatment and funds.
I lost my position with a large insurance company during yet another reorganization...let's just say after 7 years of service, they were not 'on my side' after all. During the last 5 months at home with my boys, I have struggled with depression, frustration, my own health issues blah blah blah...what I have found is faith, patience, love, respect, laughter, and confidence. My husband tells me daily what a good mother I am. I can see that in my boys.
I have read everything I can get my hands on regarding ASD, ABA therapy, diet, genetics....everything. Our genetic testing was normal, his MRI was normal...so why is my son, not normal? I have to admit, accepting this was not as shocking or as devastating to us (we suspected that Davin would need some extra care) as some parents with children that seem to change overnight (just stop talking, start stimming etc.).
While we are waiting for the 'professionals' to help us, I have been working with my son to get him to speak more clearly, attempting to get his stimming under control (that is the hardest part), trying to teach him to share, getting his aggressive behavior toned down (he can be aggressive with his little brother), teaching him how to carry on a conversation instead of echoing me, getting him potty trained is not even happening, and the temper tantrums are unbelievable. Some days I thought I would lose my mind...ok there are still those moments...but I take each day and break it down into tasks, and whether each task succeeds or fails, I remind myself to embrace the chaos of the moment and put it aside until the next one...coz we all know, there will be another challenging moment coming up!