What To Do When You Get The Autism Diagnosis
What To Do When You Get The Autism Diagnosis
Breathe. This is what helped me deal with the autism diagnosis that felt like came out of nowhere. My first child, Juju (now 5) was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder just before his 3rd birthday. Keep reading to learn about the events that led up to his diagnosis and how we dealt with the after effects of it.
How We Got Here
When Juju was a baby, he was a happy, normal baby. He laughed, ate well, played. Looking back, I remember my little sister bringing up that he wasn’t making eye contact or tracking objects when he was very small, probably under 6 months old. Little things like this always come back to me. I brushed it off.
Juju was our first child. As we went to his pediatric checkups, we learned that we wasn’t meeting his milestones. Things like pointing, eye contact, looking our direction when we called his name. He wasn’t doing those things. He was my first child, I’ve said that a million times already, but I keep bringing it up because I think if I had other children before him, I would’ve known right away.
So, after not meeting milestones after a handful of checkups, we were referred to Easter Seals, which is an early intervention program here in Texas. We met with a number of nice ladies before getting our early intervention teacher, who would come to our home 2-3 times a week and play with Juju.
She was a really awesome teacher. During the time we were with her, from around 18months to 3 yrs old, she didn’t mention autism at all. We did bring on a speech teacher halfway through as Juju’s speech was very slow to start. Near the end, we were recommended behavior therapy as well but we declined, as we were already having a teacher and therapist out to our home 3-4 times a week.
When Juju Aged Out of The Program
When he turned 3, he aged out of the program and we went to our school district for an assessment to see if he needed any special services at school, like speech, for example.
We had a few meetings and then, the call.
They diagnosed Juju with autism spectrum disorder.
My heart dropped.
Prior to that call, they did alert us that he wasn’t meeting milestones for his age group and some of his behaviors were consistent with autism spectrum disorder. I thought he might (MIGHT) get a diagnosis on the spectrum, but I was thinking it would be on the milder end (Asberger’s).
When were were told he had moderate to severe autism, it was shocking.
I’m always the phone talker and I remember being silent as my husband drove the conversation with the school district, asking questions, ask I listened.
I didn’t cry then.
I didn’t cry for a while.
As weeks passed, I began to cope with the fact that my dear baby had ASD (autism spectrum disorder). The shock wore off and we started taking steps to help him in any way we could.
We got him set up with speech at school. He started school at age 3, to get a head start on improving his development, learning, developing his motor skills more, etc.
We got referrals for occupational, speech, and behavior therapies outside school and he started those.
What’s Life Like Today
That was almost 3 years ago. Today, we know our little guy has autism. He has some challenges that other kiddos his age don’t have but he’s super smart, funny, caring, loving, and a great little boy. We have made changes to help him including putting him on special diet, giving him nutrition supplements, and starting medication to help his aggression.
I know there is a long road ahead and things will only get more challenging from here but I’m fully prepared to deal with what lies ahead. Having a support system helps. My friends and family around us are a huge help. From being that ear to listen to our struggles with his behavior to having him sleep over so hubby and I can enjoy vacation together, family and friends are everything.
My Advice When You Get the Autism Diagnosis
Breathe. It can be easy to hold your breath as a natural reaction. Take it in. Ask questions. Talk to someone. Lean on family and friends. From that point that you learn about the diagnosis, it will get easier.
If you are living with someone with ASD or have someone close to you with autism, this blog is for you. I’ll be sharing my family’s personal journey, along with tips, helpful techniques,therapies, and other tools and resources that have helped us. Comment below to say hey and share your story!