Monday, April 10, 2017

Autism Awareness Month - Day 10 Our Story Part 3

If you are just joining me, please take a moment to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our journey into Autism.
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When last we visited, I had made an appointment with our pediatrician to talk about what was happening to our son. I walked in with a very different child than he had seen the last time. This little boy didn't look at all like what he had declared "healthy, happy, on track developmentally, and advanced in his speech".

We spent a few minutes discussing our concerns. He did a check up (heart, eyes, ears, nose, etc). Then he turned to me and said, "you are pregnant. He's reacting to that. He's jealous of the new baby. It's very common."

I about hit the floor. It's like someone stopped the world and nothing was moving anymore. I couldn't believe what this man was telling me. This man was a Christian, a pediatrician, and someone I had come to trust. I finally started to breathe again and said, "but we haven't told him we are having a baby". I wasn't showing. We hadn't bought so much as a baby wipe for the new little one. The only people we told were called AFTER he went to bed because we wanted to make it a big deal once I was out of the woods, so to speak (this was after a loss of a baby very early). He told me, "he knows, it's jealousy, give him some time and extra attention".

Extra attention? I was a stay-at-home Mom with one single child. If I gave him any extra attention it would require me not sleeping. He was all I gave attention to most of the day. I left completely bewildered. I didn't understand what was happening.

I came home to an anxious husband. He asked what happened once he returned home from work. I told him what the doctor said. His words were, if I recall correctly, "well that's an idiotic thing to say". Sigh. I couldn't disagree with him there.

That's when research me was born. I had to figure out what was happening to our son and I had to figure it out fast. At this point we had put baby gates in all of the windows of our home because he hit them so hard when he ran we were afraid he would either break the glass or pop them out of the pane. My calm, cool, sleeps well, speaks well, knows all his letters and their sounds toddler was gone and I had to figure out why.

I researched any time I wasn't with him. If he napped, I researched. If he slept, I researched. If my husband took him to the park to play, I researched. One day as I was online I got so frustrated and just typed in every single issue he had. I just put it in the search box and hit enter.

That's when my world was rocked to it's core. What came up on the screen was article after article, study after study, and page after page with one common theme ... AUTISM.

The more I read the more I knew this was it. It made me sick. I felt like all the air was sucked out of the room. How could my sweet, smart, funny, lively, talkative little buddy have Autism when he wasn't like this three weeks earlier? It made no sense. But, I couldn't deny what I was reading. It was there in black and white.

I had to tell my husband. When he came home that day I sat him down and said, "(Charlie Brown) has Autism ... I think." He looked at me like I had three heads. He told me I was wrong. He couldn't have Autism because he was smart (oh, how little we knew). He said he wasn't sitting in the corner rocking (how VERY little we knew), and he had done some of these same things as a child (no he hadn't). He was in denial. I was in "let's rock this and fix this" and he was in "not my son". I didn't know what to do.

Finally I gave up trying to convince him and retreated into research Mommy. One day, while our little man was sleeping, I was reading about Autism and found a link that had the standard list of symptoms all in a nice format. I told my husband, "listen to this" but didn't tell him what I was reading. I just started to list off everything on the page. Once I was done he said, very loudly, "that's it!!! That's what (Charlie Brown) has! What is THAT?"

I didn't know what to do, so I turned to look him in the eye and said, "that's the list of symptoms for Autism".

It hit him like a ton of bricks. His mind was racing and I could see the panic in his face. I just kept quiet and waited for him to digest what I had said. Finally he spoke, very quietly, and asked me, "OK, what do we do now?"

What we did now will be my next installment. I hope you will join me.


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