After a 6-year-long journey, we finally got our Autism diagnosis for our youngest son. He showed many signs of autism as a toddler and in those early years. When he was 5 after discussing it with his teachers, we went to the doctor to discuss getting an autism diagnosis. Our family doctor referred us to a pediatrician.
At our pediatrician appointment, they played with our son and asked him some questions. No forms were filled out. No forms were sent to his teachers. Nothing. After this 15-minute appointment, they told us he did not have autism.
Their reasoning for not giving us an autism diagnosis was that he was able to have a conversation and make eye contact when talking. Now, mind you that conversation was about trains. The very thing my son was obsessed with at the time. They gave us a diagnosis of ADHD.
We went through the past 6 years with that ADHD diagnosis instead of an autism diagnosis getting him whatever help we could get him. Through private insurance, we did get him a psycho-educational assessment.
Between the assessment and what we knew about our son, we were able to create an IEP for him. We were very lucky to have an amazing team at the school who treated his “issues” instead of his diagnosis.
You see my son had many “issues”.
Issues at School
- He is very sensitive to noise so is provided with noise-canceling headphones for assemblies and to use whenever it is too loud in the classroom.
- His clothes have to fit him just so and especially in winter when winter gear was involved this created big problems. He was given extra time for getting dressed and was given his own space so as to not be crowded by other children.
- He does not do well with change. So he was given cues ahead of time as to when they would be changing activities in the classroom.
These were just a few of the many things the school did to help him that were not part of his diagnosis but of who he is as a child.
Issues at Home
- Troubles Sleeping. He would hear sounds when he was supposed to be sleeping and would end up in our bed or on the couch. Eventually, with the help of melatonin and white noise, he started spending more nights (though not all) in his own bed.
- Food textures are a big one as it affects how much he eats. We do not force him to eat anything though. He must try each thing he is served and if need be we will make him a sandwich or break out the fruit to add to his meal.
- Clothing makes this list as well. I have spent so much money on clothing to get home and he hates how it feels or fits. It took me 11 years but I have learned to not buy him clothes unless he is with me to try them on. With shirts, I have more leeway and have learned the materials he likes but I still make sure to keep receipts and have him try them on as soon as I get home.
Another big one that makes both lists is social interactions. This one is a huge struggle for us that we have not yet found a solution for. I am hoping with his Autism diagnosis we can access some programs that will help.
I could go on about his “issues” but this is a blog post, not a novel so I am just sharing some of the issues we have that made us know it was not ADHD.
In a future post, I will share how we finally got our Autism diagnosis and what this means for our family.