Fair warning, this will be a long post. This post will explain the process we went through in getting our son’s diagnosis. Our son was a 6 wk preemie who honestly thrived at first with his milestones. He rolled over, crawled, could sit up, and walked all pretty much around the time he should’ve hit those milestones. But when we went for his 15 month check up his pediatrician as she asked about words.
All we could say was no he babbles but he doesn’t actually say any words. She then informed me that at 15 months he should be saying 3 words and by 18 months he should be up to 10 words. She also asked if he pointed at objects, or waved, or played appropriately with toys. The answer was no. But what concerned me was he arm flapped all the time. Well the words never came, so when then began the process to get him evaluated for speech therapy.
My goodness what a mess that was! Calling and bugging to get an appointment scheduled for his evaluation, come to find out first we had to get approval from Medicaid in order to do the evaluation. Finally received approval to go for a speech and developmental evaluation where they then determined he needed to have an occupational and physical evaluation. We were informed about a week later that he qualified to attend the developmental program and would receive speech therapy. Also that they would perform the physical and occupational evaluation while he was at school. So we scheduled a day to go and fill out everything to get him started in the program.
I’ll never forget picking up his speech and developmental evaluations to read the results and seeing how much of a delay he had but feeling so lost and confused with no explanation from the therapists, I was just handed the evaluations. I read them and I cried. I wondered if I was doing enough to help him with his development. Was there something I could’ve done that I hadn’t?
So at the age of 19 months or so he started attending this program. During all this we were waiting for a referral to see a developmental pediatrician to have him evaluated for Autism. His pediatrician saw some concern with everything I had been telling her and I was also advocating for it because I just had that mom feeling. So we went for an initial consult where we were asked several questions and the doctor informed us we had done everything she would have asked us to do before they would perform the evaluation. The only thing left was to wait till he had been receiving therapy for 6 months to make sure it wasn’t just a delay, as she said they like to give the child the benefit of doubt before they officially diagnose our child, putting a label on him for the rest of his life.
I never wanted to put a label on my child, my goal was to just make sure he was receiving all the services he needed and deserved. So fast forward 6 months, Graham had just tuned 2. So we returned for his evaluation, performed by a psychologist, speech pathologist, and developmental pediatrician. A few hours later we were informed that Graham’s evaluation had him as a severe autistic and was considered non verbal as well.