The moment of truth! I had mixed feelings about receiving John’s diagnosis. Although I had my suspicions as to what the outcome would be, I still had a constant denial inside that there was anything wrong with him.
John’s diagnosis came after consultation with a Paediatrician, referred by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator in his school. Referred because of his increasing strange gestures and erratic emotional outbursts. Full medical and family histories were taken by the Paediatrician. Of course, one of her questions was if there was a history of Autism in our family. Sadly, there is – a nephew who, earlier, was also diagnosed with severe Autism. She noted this and conducted a series of cognitive tests on my son.
The result was a “normal to above average” IQ (Intelligence Quotient); and normal hearing.
She then referred him to a Speech and Language Therapist and a Play Therapist. This was due to his not responding to speech and not engaging play. He simply stared at the object concerned and did not hold an eye to eye contact with the Therapist, who is trying to engage him.
Both findings were indicative of Autism.
Although the relief to finally have a diagnosis was great, the impact of this diagnosis was quite devastating. I told myself that this could not be happening! Not us! Not my beautiful son.
I wanted to deny the fact that at the tender age of 5, my boy was diagnosed with ASD.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a term used to describe a number of symptoms and behaviours which affect the way in which a group of people understand and react to the world around them. It is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the person’s ability to communicate, socially interact and behave with other people.
A recent research study has found that brain scans may soon diagnose boys early with autism. The Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center recently had a study that measuring a set of proteins in the blood may enable earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
For those who know or fear the pain of such a diagnosis, I have included a video below. I invite you to watch this heart-warming film, not only because it highlights the impact an autistic child has in the family and/or community, but because it perfectly shows the lifelong journey of struggles, hardships and triumphs along the way. I think you will find it encouraging and well worth viewing.
I sincerely hope these insights have helped in some way, and welcome your questions should there be any.