My son has autism. But despite suspecting this for a long time, nothing can prepare you for how it feels when it is confirmed by a medical professional.
Monday started out like any other day, Max went off to school and I did some cleaning at home. I collected Max from school at 11:45am, we had some lunch and then heading over to Children’s Centre for this appointment.
We told Max that he would get to play with some toys and play some games at the appointment so that the doctors could see how clever he is. He was absolutely fine with this and didn’t question it.
We weren’t waiting for long before we were called into a room. Me and my husband sat down with four other people; a pediatrician, a speech and language therapist, a psychologist and a trainee psychologist.
Max sat down at a separate table and played with the toys. He was completely unphased by the whole thing.
The speech and language lady sat with Max and played with him/watched him as he played. I think she was trying to get an idea of how he plays and how he interacts.
We were asked a few questions by the doctor and then the psychologist began asking questions, SO MANY QUESTIONS! I expected some questions but I wasn’t quite prepared for that many.
We were asked questions about how he was as a baby, which I really hadn’t expected and it’s actually really hard to remember that far back. Especially since we’ve had another baby since then.
Was he a smiley baby?
Was he a good sleeper?
When did he get his first words?
Was he happy to be around other people?
Did he play baby games?
What baby noises did he make? Did it sound like he was trying to communicate with you?
Did he try to get peoples attention and interact with them?
Being asked these sorts of questions made me realise that maybe there were early signs there that I just didn’t pick up on. But then he was my first baby, I didn’t really know what was normal behavior for a baby and what wasn’t.
She asked a lot of questions that made a lot of things so much clearer in a way. I can see now that he’s always struggled to communicate, despite having the ability too. Around the age of two I remember he would just cry and cry when there was something wrong, rather than just ask for help. Even now, if for example he’s drawing a picture and it’s not going to plan, he will just get frustrated and angry rather than ask someone to help.
I felt really sad at this point, it must be so hard for him not being able to control his emotions and not being able to communicate properly. My poor boy.
After we were finished with all the questions we were asked to go back out into the waiting room, while they had a chat and came to a decision.
We met back in the room about 10 minutes later and we were told that yes, they believe that Max does have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I knew it was coming, but it still hit me and I had to try hard not to burst into tears. It’s hard to describe exactly how I felt, obviously I was sad but yet relieved at the same time.
We were then given some feedback but to be honest by this point I was struggling to take anything else in. What I do remember is being told that it’s a good thing that he’s been diagnosed at such a young age and that we can now start helping him to deal with things a little better than he does at the moment.
I’m relieved that it’s out of the way and we now know for definite the reason why he behaves like he does. But at the end of the day, this doesn’t really fix anything. I just hope it means that us and Max can get the help we need, when we need it.
In my next blog post I plan to talk about what happens next and where we go from here.
Thanks for reading.