We knew she was different. We know our daughter is awesome, quirky, unique, creative and beautiful. Others could see it too. Even at a couple of months old, we would hear, “She’s so alert!” She doesn’t miss a thing! She’s so open and friendly!” Many of her concerning ‘behaviors’ were observable at home at that time. Sleep schedule? That was a foreign concept in our house. Our daughter didn’t sleep! She would sleep for up to 2 hours at a time! This lasted for 2 and a half years. Naps? Not in our house! As she got older, getting to and staying asleep became our nemesis.
In pre-school she was quick, inquisitive and artistically gifted. At home, she moved like a motor that would not and could not turn off. I loved to stand at the door to the playground and watch her run from group to group, activity to activity. What I was seeing at the time? Parallel play.
DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE
Upon entering elementary school, she was a great student, followed the rules, and met all in class behavioral expectations. At home and at school, she was more comfortable around adults. She rarely had a filter and spoke her mind to all. We noticed a resistance, a level of uncertainty towards social interactions with her peers. Her school team did not see the same behaviors at school. We decided it was time for additional support. As a parent, you have an intuition, even if you aren’t sure or not ready to accept what it may be. After receiving an evaluation from a private psychologist, our suspicions were confirmed: Our 6 year old child was a genius! But her ratings on the autism scales were inconclusive.
THE WAITING GAME
As she got older, her difficulty with social interactions became more prominent. She was a literal thinker with a sense of humor well above her age. And the intelligence level to know that she thought differently from her peers. This led to anxiety which resulted in further sleep issues and a general sense of sadness in her disposition. This gave rise to fears (of being alone, of the dark, of death) which in turn led to panic attacks, beginning at the end of 3rd grade. Desperate for answers and support, we searched for professionals who would and could evaluate. We found a psychologist, yet the appointment was 4 months away. FOUR MONTHS! We finally received another evaluation a few months after her 10th birthday. Again our suspicions were confirmed with one new caveat: Our child is a genius! and is on the autism spectrum.
The waiting was the most difficult part. It’s like knowing there’s more to the story, but waiting for the season premier for the answer. A virtual assessment, like As You Are provides, would have been just what we needed at that time. They are a virtual clinic that provides diagnostic evaluations for kids between 16 months and 10 years old.
The official diagnosis our daughter received is Autism Spectrum, Type 1. With the diagnosis, we were able to seek out appropriate in-home and in school support . From social skills groups to support in the art of back and forth communication, she’s a thriving pre-teen, confident in her own skin.
Listen to your gut. You know your child best. Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap.
“So, autism is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. What you read or hear about others may not apply to your child, and that’s OK. What works for some children may not work for yours, and that doesn’t mean anything other than your child is part of a broad spectrum of possibilities.”
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments. You can learn more at AsYouAre.com/MomCollective.