At last, a diagnosis for Samuel by Claire

[advert:mpu] Well, it’s finally official. Last week, my 3 and half year old little boy got a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder so now I have two children on the spectrum. That means that I have had two children diagnosed with ASD in less than a year.

At the end of the diagnostic interview, when the paediatrician and the Specialist Speech and Language Therapist were giving me the verbal feedback, they asked me how I felt about Samuel getting a diagnosis. I have to admit that my overriding feeling at that moment was one of relief! I’d been right all along! There is something not quite right about my little boy! I’m not just a whining, moaning, over-anxious, neurotic parent! The doctor says so!

I think it may have come a little harder for my husband (ex – we are still married but not together any more). They had asked specifically that the two of us should be there and I was dreading it, frankly. We have never been able to agree on anything important and the thought of spending two hours in close confines with him worried me. I was afraid that we would start to argue about the finer details of what Samuel can and can’t do… as it turned out, the best advocate was Samuel himself, who delighted us, as he always does, with his précis, repetitive language and behaviour and who can sit “ for periods of time that you wouldn’t expect from a 6 year old” occupying himself with the same game, over and over again.

My husband found it difficult to believe that Samuel had a ‘speech and language disorder’ let alone autism and always got very upset when I would say to people that he was autistic. I eventually learnt to counter this by telling people that he was ‘under investigation’ for ASD and my ex couldn’t really argue with that. The fact that Iain was involved in the diagnostic process was important for him to believe and accept that Samuel has special needs that make him different from other children.

On the upside, we got a diagnosis early for Samuel and for that I am grateful. We were prioritised within the clinic because we already had a child in the family with a diagnosis; Jack, my eldest, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of ASD. It took over 6 years to get a diagnosis for Jack; 6 years of to-ing and fro-ing to the Health Visitor and the GP insisting that something was not quite right, that his behaviour was not normal, but my concerns were ignored. He was finally picked up by his class teacher (to whom I am eternally grateful) at the age of 5 and the long process began and ended with a diagnosis a few months before his 8th birthday. At 3 years and 8 months, we will be able to start to put things in place for Samuel to prepare him for his reception class next January and I can tap into the various early intervention programmes to help him to learn appropriate interactions and behaviours.

Of course, there are feeling of sadness and grief and loss, hopelessness and guilt. I accept all of these as part of the process I must go through in my journey of parenting a child(ren) with ASD. I try not to dwell too much on the negative, but I accept that rational fears and worries for Samuel (and Jack’s) future are there and part of the process.

At least I have somewhere to come to let off steam!! Thank you Supernanny!

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