What do I do with that? How can something be so true to me, yet go unseen by a professional?
My husband and I have gone through the entire DSM 5 guidelines for Autism and my son meets every criteria. This process only proved to create more frustration as we questioned how it wasn’t diagnosed the first time.
I’ve read time and time again that Asperger’s, now referred to as autism or ASD, is hard to diagnose in high functioning kids. I’ve read that they’re often misdiagnosed, or simply considered gifted, that is until years later when it becomes more apparent.
How can we avoid this wasted time? How can we get the help he needs today? How can I be sure that on Monday the doctor will see what so many others have seen. From relatives to close friends, even strangers, all have expressed their sense that my son is on the spectrum.
Just this past Sunday I spied on my son after he ran out of service 10 minutes in. I found him where I always find him, he was outside playing video games in his head. As I watched him, I saw his rhymetic pattern, jumping over invisible walls and entering into new levels in his mental “video game”. It was a ritualistic dance, one I now refer to as mental stimming. When my husband approached him my son informed my husband that he was now up to 9,312 points! He was alone, isolated from everyone and was as happy as could be. As I stood there, enjoying his dance, an elder from the church approached me. As an usher, he’s had the pleasure of watching my son play outside every Sunday. Today was the first time he spoke to me. He looked over my shoulder to where my son played and said, “Have you ever seen the TV show Parenthood?” I replied, “Yes, I love that show,” knowing full well where he was headed with his innocent question. He smiled and said, “You know the character Max, the boy with Asperger’s?” With another smile I said, “Yes,” and pointed to my son who was jumping to the next level and said, “does it look familiar?” He only smiled and gave me a look of acknowledgment before he walked away.
This by no means is an indicator that my son is on the spectrum, I have lists of behaviors, 504 plan and interviews with family and teachers to support that, however this simple exchange reminded me that there is something there that people see. It is real, whether or not the doctor sees it, it is real.