It’s an extremely early morning in March 7 years ago and my husband, two young children and I are rushing to an appointment that’s a good 2 hours from home. Anyone who has children, has an emotional image of that morning. Your blood pressures up, your short tempered, and anything that could go wrong, does! To add assault to injury, this wasn’t your everyday checkup, no, this was an evaluation for my youngest, my son. He had been exhibiting some concerning behaviors for his age (he was almost 3) and after consistently bringing up his speech (or lack thereof) and hyperactivity to his pediatrician, we finally were referred to a child psychologist.
As I mentioned, this morning was a hectic one. Upon arrival, it was clear that the doctor was annoyed by our tardiness which is completely understandable. What I didn’t understand was the lack of patience for my son and his situation. She called us back in the tone of an over worked school mum which is very unwelcoming. My son had just endured a long car ride, so he was a bit overactive. The doctor hardly started the evaluation process when she rudely said those dreaded words “He has Autism!” Actually, the diagnosis she gave was Autism Spectrum Disorder Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (ASD PDD – NOS).
Confusing right? Not understanding how she came to that conclusion, or what this even means for us or my son when there was supposed to be several hours of testing. I was shocked and full of questions and excuses. All she did was tell us where to sign out and handed us stacks upon stacks of packages with therapy listings, descriptions of Autism, and other things I can hardly remember. I left that place feeling hopeless, lost, and sad for my son.
For those who do not know what Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is… allow me to inform. Autism is a social spectrum disorder. No two children are alike. There are extreme and mild cases. Children are nonverbal and a lot of them have sensory issues with light, sounds, and so on. Most children can be diagnosed as early as 2 years old. Autism affects 1 in 68 children worldwide and is the fastest growing social disorder to date.
Of course, being a mother, I expected the worse and also over researching made me compare him to others so it put me in a form of denial. We did what we felt he needed by signing him up for every therapy available. Which was overwhelming for him. He was 2 and had over 20 hrs. of therapy a week. I’m talking occupational, physical, speech, early intervention school, Wrap Around service at the house. All the therapy didn’t help at all! It actually increased his hyperactivity and tantrums due to being over worked. This could’ve been prevented with a social worker or someone qualified to not only point us in the right direction, but help emotionally so I wouldn’t act so erratic.
This story is one that needs told. We live and breathe our children. When given news of this nature, I feel the parents should be handled with care and there should be more workshops available for parents with a newly diagnosed child. Being that Autism is the fastest growing development disorder affecting 1-68 children worldwide. There should be workshops for Autism parents offered immediately after diagnosis to talk about hopes, fears, or whatever crosses their minds. An Autism diagnosis can mean a lot of things because it is a Spectrum Disorder. I obsessed and read everything from horror stories to extremely hopeful stories.
Needless to say, I had a lot of sleepless nights. Offering workshops or specialized therapy for parents would save people from unnecessary grief. Our experience also put me in denial because he was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified Autism Spectrum Disorder. To someone uneducated that sounds like he “kind of” has Autism but not really. That delayed our understanding of the tribulations he will face. To my knowledge, they no longer give this specific long-winded diagnosis and for that I’m extremely grateful.
The emotional state of a parent that is told their child has autism is hard to explain. You worry about their struggle, how the world will receive them, education, and so on. Of course, there are groups and one can chose to talk to your therapist, but specialized care would help immensely. Today my son and our family are doing well. I needed to tell our story because I’m sure a lot of parents can relate and to maybe help a family about to embark on this journey called Autism.
Nita Z (Juanita Zeigler)
Hey. How is everyone? I hope all is well. My name is Juanita Zeigler, but in my virtual life, I prefer Nita Z or just Nita. I’m a SAHM (stay at home mommy) who has been for too long, with that being said, I am packing up all my ambition, passion, and skill that’s been stored away, to set off on a blogging/writing adventure (wish me luck)! I am married and have been for all of 13 years this April (Cheers). Together we have 3 wonderful kids, one girl age 12 and two boys ages 10yrs and 11 months (never a dull moment here).
I enjoy writing (obviously lol), music, and cooking. I attended The Art Institute for Culinary Arts Associates program some years back. Didn’t have opportunity to finish but had a great time and learned a lot on the way. I am in the beginning stages of having my own personal lifestyle/opinion/advice blog (www.nitastruth.com). It is currently under construction and should be up and running in the near future.
My ultimate goal is to not only inform, but to have a voice for those who don’t, help others, and gain experience for other opportunities. I honestly don’t care about monetizing so much (though it would be nice). If I reach out and only help one person, my vision will have been realized. Well that’s my introduction, I hope you enjoy my article and become loyal readers in the future.
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You may or may not agree with the views, and opinions of the author. However, it doesn’t represent the sentiments of Chesz Dylan and its entirety. The author has all the liability for errors and omissions including the copyright claims and intellectual property rights of this article.