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Monday, April 21, 2008

Autism Pie

Well, we don't have to sit around and wonder anymore, and I can stop telling people, "I suspect autism." The university team agreed with me, and since they have better degrees for that sort of thing, they're not guessing at symptoms based on crap they read on the Internet.
It's autism. Their impression was autism disorder and general developmental delay. The first I expected but didn't want to hear, and the second is making me feel a little punched in the stomach. I suppose you never really want your suspicions confirmed on this sort of thing (unless you're a total whackjob). And really, he's not meeting a lot of milestones at this point, so of course he has a general developmental delay.
I still love my son. He's very mellow. He doesn't (knock on a giant block of wood) have behaviors that are super problematic. He doesn't bang his head on hard things or hit people. He shows affection. He's generally happy. He's pleased when he gets something right, and you can tell from the look on his face that he knows he's done well when he remembers to use his words.
Sadly, "his words" are still single words and sporadic. We've done fairly well showing him signs to go with words, because he doesn't pronounce most words well enough to understand, and the signs really help out. The team would like to see us work more on functional communication, so he can better ask for his needs and wants.
He loves numbers. He can count to at least twenty, although I bet he could go higher. He can sign to twenty. He can recognize the numbers if he just sees random numbers anywhere (Motel 8 ad on TV, F keys on keyboards, Uno deck). I think I might add some more visual prompts to his daily routine to see if we can get him to recognize more words. And I'll see about adding letters. Yeah, I know that letters don't count as "functional communication," but if he's more interested in counting and lists, I want to play to his strengths. I think learning begets learning.