May 29,2019 will be a day I remember forever. We had to get up super early due to river flooding and the possibility of the highway closing. We were afraid we would have to take back roads to get to Children’s for Graham’s Autism Evaluation. Luckily the highway was open so our traveling was very easy.
We arrived super early at the clinic. We sat in the car and watched movies and listened to music waiting for our time to go check in for Graham’s appointment. My feelings were everywhere, I thought I was prepared for what the outcome would be. I mean I was the one who pushed to get Graham tested. For me to get that “official” diagnosis to have for those who doubted my mother instinct, for those who I felt were questioning me or interrogating me, just something so I could tell them to shut up. I didn’t think of the fact that once we had a diagnosis that my son would be “labeled” for life.
We enter the clinic to check in, we sat in the waiting area till they called us back. Then I hear “Graham Mills” and my heart started pounding. They took his measurements and we followed them back to a room with toys and a chair where they would evaluate him. He clung to me, he was terrified. It took so much for them to get very little interaction out of him. They asked us question after question as well as looked at his Speech, Occupational, Physical, and Developmental evaluations.
As they finished they took us to an exam room while they calculated the evaluation. We sat and we waited and waited until the psychologist and speech pathologist finally reappeared and confirmed what my mother instinct was telling me, he was in fact autistic. They handed us hand out after hand out as I sat there trying to understand everything they were giving us. I wondered what level he was on the spectrum? I had heard of level 1,2, and 3. What level was my son? But they seemed so confused when I asked that question. The only thing they could tell me was the test says he is severe autistic and is considered non verbal. The two then left the room and we waited for our Developmental Pediatrician to come and speak with us. She entered the room and handed us even more pamphlets and suggested we get him signed up for ABA therapy. So we then proceeded to leave.
We got to the car and got settled to head home. All I could do was sit and cry and say “I wasn’t crazy”. So many family members who we talked to for support but instead got asked question after question, asking us why we thought he was Autistic or what does the doctor see that leads them to believe he’s on the spectrum. I then wondered would my child ever become verbal? Would I ever get to hear “I love you mommy”? I was a mess and just ready to get home. I wanted to process everything in the privacy of my own home.
We arrived home and we go inside and I think ok now it’s time to call family and update them in what we were informed. Every phone call it was like I was hearing it for the first time, his diagnosis. I then tried to read through the pamphlets we were given of “resources” to see what else I needed to do. After that I was done! I put everything away and just cuddled my son.
The next day I got up and started registering for all the websites we were given and requested the free materials they had to send us (yay for more reading). I then called about ABA therapy and they explained he would be put on a waitlist and we would have to wait for a spot to open, usually take 6 months or longer. Once a spot opened they would send a therapist to our house 20-30hrs a week. This would be on top of him attending school m-f. He was 2! My mind started thinking, when would he just get to be a kid?! So we decided not to apply for ABA therapy. We just continued with all the services we were already receiving for the time being.
Bubbles! He’s obsessed with bubbles.