I have the greatest two boys. I’m not kidding, people tell me that all the time. They don’t fight. They are funny, smart, loving, and I could go on and on. My youngest is especially sweet. He makes my heart melt. I have always thought he was a special gift from God.
In preschool they used to tell me that he didn’t speak, he wouldn’t sit in a group, he covered his ears and turned his head while they were reading. I knew he didn’t really like looking at people. No one mentioned autism. They mentioned ADD. In Kindergarten and first we saw similar behaviors. That is when we figured out the sensory integration issues. I could handle those. They made sense. The doctor also thought he had social anxiety. I can understand that. That is workable.
After 2nd grade we went for more indepth testing. They informed us that he had PDD, pervasive development disorder. As they explained it, he has some autistic like symptoms, but not enough to be diagnosed with autism. In the last two years I’ve learned a lot about PDD. I help lead a support group for parents that have children on the autism spectrum. I educate his teachers. Heck, I educate the teachers in my own school.
In the last month or so I’ve realized something I am just NOW accepting the fact that my baby (Ok, so he’s 10) is truly on the autism spectrum. He is different than his peers. He does have difficulty communicating. His brain works differently.
The hard part here is that I didn’t realize that I hadn’t accepted his diagnosis. Even though I would say he had PDD, I always followed up with autism-like symptoms, and quick to point out that he is extremely high functioning. I would also say that most people don’t even realize that he is “different.” I emailed his teacher a few weeks ago, and asked her if she thought his behavior was obvious in the classroom. I’m thankful that she was honest and tactful, but I didn’t get the answer I expected or wanted. She told me yes. I didn’t really believe her, but I spent a day at school with him this week. It wasn’t until I sat in his classroom and observed that it really hit me in the face. It made me cry.
I know he is still the same lovely little boy. I know he still has a great future ahead of him. However, it will be harder and different from what I wanted for him. A friend of mine has a son that was diagnosed at 2 with autism and he is 15 now. She and I have spoken a lot this week. She told me the hardest part was coming to terms and accepting it. I think I have finally done that. We will just keep going from here, as we always have.