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This summer our life changed again. Our son has had ADHD his whole life and has been in therapy and received treatment for it for about six years. Two years ago, we had him tested again because his therapist said she thought there might be something more going on.
Two years and many tests later, we found out she was right. Now as I see the hints of this new diagnosis all around, I wonder why it took so long to figure it out.
Part of it was that the person who tested him at first got him at a very low time in his life and she saw that instead of truly seeing him. When she came back to us with her results and said he didn’t even have ADHD, we were shocked. It didn’t make any sense. His teachers had pointed out his problems with concentration, control, and so on since kindergarten. It seemed impossible that everyone who had ever been around him for long was wrong.
We had to get a second opinion. Our son’s current doctor told us never to listen to someone who doesn’t describe your child when she is supposed to be talking about him!
I don’t want to share too much about the particulars of our son’s condition because he is now a teenager and is way more sensitive to what I say about him.
I will say that he is autistic and the symptoms of it surround us every single day. How could we have missed it?
That’s why I am talking about it and our experience, so others will learn something that might help their children, too.
Autism awareness month is April and World Autism Awareness day is next Tuesday, April 2nd.
WebMD explains that people with autism have common core symptoms in the areas of social interactions and relationships, verbal and nonverbal communication, and limited interests in activities or play. Here are more details from WebMD.
Social interactions and relationships. Symptoms may include:
* Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
* Failure to establish friendships with children the same age.
* Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.
* Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person's feelings, such as pain or sorrow.
Verbal and nonverbal communication. Symptoms may include:
* Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 40% of people with autism never speak.1
* Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun.
* Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia).
* Difficulty understanding their listener's perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.
Limited interests in activities or play. Symptoms may include:
* An unusual focus on pieces. Younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy.
* Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.
* A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.
* Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.
This is just a little information about autism but it’s a start. If it sounds familiar to you, then ask your doctor about it or do a little research yourself. Believe me, it will affect your child’s whole life if he has it and even more if he doesn’t know he does. God Bless!