I know no one ever thinks their child is anything less then perfect. I have always felt that about my child Ingrid. When she was born, with all that hair, and her soft skin, and feet that were the length of ski’s she was perfect.
As she got older, and the hair got longer, she was still perfect. It took her a little longer to roll over and sit up but it didn’t matter. She smiled and laughed, and cried and pooped and she was still perfect.
She turned one and was still perfect. She wasn’t walking yet and she just learned how to pull her self up but her chubby little legs, wobbling under her was still perfect too me.
Right around one and a half she really started to walk. A late starter I suppose but she picked it up real quick. She didn’t say anything but she remembered some signs her daddy and I would use on occasion. We decided to use more signing with her. She really picked that up. She didn’t say “momma” but she said “dada” and “cat” really well. I believe she might have been saying “puppy” too.
I started to notice how she would play with her hair pretties as I was brushing her hair. She would take all the similar ones and line them up in a row. I started to notice her doing this with some of her tows as well. For me, it made perfect sense. I was like that. I have two colors of plates and when I put them away they MUST be alternate colors. I have an obsession with odd number so in my art work or how I decorate my home things are in odd numbers. I actually do not like symmetry but I like to find patterns and use that. So my kid arranging things a certain way proves to me she is from my stock.
It was just before her second birthday that the word AUTISM was uttered. My older sister said she had done some research and some of the behaviors that Ingrid does that I think are normal are signs of Autism. I freaked out. It was a month before her 2 year old check up but I called and got her in to see the doctor right away.
The doctor didn’t think much of it but did state the delay in speaking was a concern so we were set up with speech therapy. It was about six months later that our doctor called to have us come back in to discuss the speech therapy. I thought things were going good. However, the speech therapist had contacted our doctor to state that Ingrid showed moderate signs of Autism. My heart broke.
Next thing I knew we were setting up to have her assessed. It would be 6 weeks before we could get her in. I found myself analyzing everything she did. I as researching everything I could. Days I would think to myself that she was Autistic, other days I thought it was impossible. I struggled with feeling inadequate as a parent. How could I not see there was an issue sooner? Through the school I attend I sought out help to get myself tested for learning disabilities. I went through a month of tests and as I write this still await my results.
I started to think that my own mental health issues caused this in my beautiful child. Is my child so much like me that she took on my mental health issues as well?
The night before the assessment I just could not stop thinking about how I somehow made her predestined to this. I sat in her room and rocked with her like I do every night but tonight I was crying. I was crying because I did not know what to expect. I feared not being able to give her the best therapy to give her the best chance of success in life.
Assessment day came and after tons of questions and hours of observations it was determined that my child was PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay Not Otherwise Specified). It was explained that she had behaviors that are similar to classic autism and Aspergers but does not have enough behaviors to classify her as either one or the other.
I was relieved to know for sure and that there was therapy to help her. When we left, I had a very calming, relaxed, positive outlook for her future and ours as a family. We were given a packet of items and what our next steps were and even though the packet was overwhelming I still felt great about everything.