Sunday, August 31, 2008

A few things I've realized lately...

My son is on the autism spectrum. This is a relatively new development in our lives. I've always known something was not right. I've pushed and pushed for some kind of diagnosis, not "oh he's a little adhd" or "he's a little OCD"... fact of the matter is he's not a little bit of those things.. and every doctor we've seen has always just commented on things seperately, not put everything together. Several weeks ago, I was sitting in the psychiatrists office for a med check with him, just like I have every month or so since January, and I was giving her the same lists of complaints I gave her each time. She stops me and says "well we've talked about him having aspergers before". It was a slap in the face. Ummm no, you haven't talked to me about it, nor has the psychologist we see either. She suggested we do some research on aspergers and get back to her. So I ordered some books.

Fast forward, I decide we need to see someone else because I honestly didn't care much for her from the get go. We go see another psychiatrist and he was amazing. He agreed that Connor is on the autism spectrum for sure. He talked to me about how everything we have concerns about all falls under this diagnosis. The OCD tendencies, the ADHD symptoms, the social and behavioral issues he has, everything! Suddenly everything makes sense with him. No, I'm not a shitty parent like some of my so called friends seem to think. No, he's not a spoiled brat who needs to be spanked or disciplined better like some people seem to think.

Suddenly I feel guilty. I feel like I've failed him in some ways. I have pushed him to play with people or act a certain way, when he really can't help it. I've disciplined him for things that he can't help. I've totally had to rethink the way I do things and I'm finally finding things that work.

As bad as this may sound, I'm glad we finally have this diagnosis. This opens up so many more doors for him. He can get ABA therapy, which will help him immensely with his social and behavioral issues. It will help us recognize what triggers him and give us ways to help him deal with the situations that make him uncomfortable. We can get him into a social skills group now, which would be a huge help for him as well. He just doesn't get social boundaries and other social related things that you or I would automatically realize. Even with constant reminders, he still doesn't understand it. I'm getting involved with our local chapter of the autism society, there are so many knowledgable people there that can help us navigate the next part of our lives.

I'm really anxious for the new school year to start. He's incredibly smart, but he worries so much about his work and he doesn't believe he's as smart as he really is. He's got an amazing teacher this year and I hope she can help him understand his true potential.

I feel like this is a new beginning for us. I hope we can now start to help him even more so his life can continue to improve!

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