Right now, I’m sitting on the couch questioning if I even have the words to write this post. Not a great starting place, but here goes nothin’!
I’m going to jump right in here……..
Somewhere inside me, I have known Bryce was special for a long time. He is the sweetest kid I’ve ever met, he has always been uncomfortable in crowds (seriously, even as an infant – family gatherings were NOT his forte), he is insanely literal, he is extremely emotional and grows attached to the funniest things, he melts down if anything happens out of ‘order’ (his order), etc. We started him in speech therapy last spring and were recommended to have him evaluated for occupational therapy also. He started that over summer.
Occupational therapy has been a huge eye opener for me. Major. For the first time in Bryce’s life I had someone who saw Bryce’s quirks and was agreeing that this isn’t ‘normal’ or ‘just Bryce being a boy’. She started suggesting things to me that I didn’t want to believe, but when I would do the research couldn’t honestly say that it didn’t sound like my Bryce. Finally I let some family in on the possibility and it was equally shocking to them. We, collectively, decided that it was best for Bryce to be thorough and started the process for a developmental evaluation. (I won’t even bore you with the pain in the ass that was, but dang I’m glad its behind me).
After a six month wait, hours and hours of preparation, countless evaluations, and more tears and lost sleep than I’d like to admit, our appointment is now behind us. My Bryce has ‘Mild/High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder’. Yes. You ARE reading that right. My Bryce. Mine.
While it wasn’t a shock, or even almost a surprise, it felt like a punch in the gut to hear. However, we are now focusing on getting him the support he needs to work through some of his quirks so he can enjoy school like a ‘normal’ kiddo.
Some of the things we have been dealing with are: obsessive behaviors and patterns, overwhelmed with too much verbal direction, very emotional, intolerance to foods and a very limited list of preferred food and actual intake, weight checks, compulsive behaviors, rigidity, difficulty with transitions, difficulty socializing with strangers/kids his age, decreased functional play (he is a toy organizer), walking on his toes (this is becoming more frequent), obsessing over how a task is performed, semi-frequent meltdowns, very literal, constipation, etc. Also, he was referred to the feeding team at the local Children’s Hospital. This eating thing…. or lack of eating thing… isn’t a ‘mom-made’ issue. It is a mental, emotional, physical, real, problem that he CANNOT change. We need more help. And we will get it.
So… Autism. Thank goodness this little word doesn’t change any thing at all about my sweet boy. He is still just as awesome as he was, in fact, I think he is even more awesome now. And there isn’t anything we won’t be able to handle, because we are taking this path with open eyes, open hearts, open arms, and the desire to know better and do better.
That is the point. Know better, do better.