Friday, May 10, 2013

The Game Changer

I can’t think of a good way to start this post off, so I’m going to be honest and start it off the way it played out in my head. I’ll go ahead and briefly apologize for my lack of entries the last few weeks, but my dad was in the hospital for a very long time; it involved a lot of back-and-forth on my part and disruption of our family schedule, which Ethan – well, okay, none of us tolerated it well. But my dad is home now and getting better, so I’ll be doing my best at regular postings from now on. So, down to business with an update.

Let me start off by saying that about three and a half weeks ago, we experienced a Game Changer.

What I mean by this is that three and a half weeks ago, we had Ethan’s psychological evaluation at the Regional Center. This was the big one, to see if he qualified for ABA (behavioral intervention). Normally with a diagnosis of PDD-NOS or even Aspergers, kids are not considered “autistic enough” to qualify for treatment. This, however, was not the case with us.

The interview was quick, maybe 30-45 minutes. Ethan did not engage in any imaginative play. He was able to put together puzzles very quickly. He held onto a green plastic ring from a baby ring stacker that he had found in the doctor’s toy box for the entire interview. He repeatedly came to me and said “Hi, Mommy!” seeking reassurance. He made some eye contact with the doctor, but did not acknowledge him as a stranger or display any kind of nervousness around him. He had trouble transitioning from activity to activity, although there has been tremendous improvement with this since he started school a few months ago.

The doctor fired questions at me left and right, not giving me much time to think about them, which I think was good –it probably would have given me a way to “get out of” answering truthfully. At the end of the interview, the doctor sat back and watched Ethan intently for a bit. He then looked at me and said that he thought Ethan was a very nice boy and that I was very poised and handle him very well, for which I thanked him. Then he asked me “The Question.”

“So, Mom, what do you think?”

“I think he’s autistic.”

“I do, too. I’m recommending full services.”

And there it was. That word, the "A" word. This is what we’ve wanted and needed since we started this process almost a year ago: a diagnosis. So why am I still so sad? 

Because now, my child is not just on the Spectrum.

Now he’s autistic.

But I still love him with every fiber of my being, and I will still fight with – and for - him, every minute, every hour, every day, until my last dying breath. He is still my little boy, my everything. And I will always be his mother. Many things in life are Game Changers, but Autism will never change that.

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