I have been noticing off and on for about a year and a half now, that my daughter, Sam, has trouble communicating with myself, her dad, and her peers. Although she is only three years old, I can tell that something is not right. I work in the special education department at our local high school and one of the children that I work with has communication trouble just like my daughter. He has autism. As I show up at Sam’s pediatricians’ office I am praying that she does not have autism as well.
Sam is looking at the pictures in a book as we wait for the nurse to call us into an exam room. My heart is beating fast and I am starting to sweat just thinking about how much our lives will change if the doctor diagnosis’ her with autism. Finally we get called back into the room. The nurse is taking Sam’s vitals when the doctor walks in. At this point I started to shake. With all my experience working with children with special needs, I knew what he was going to tell me.
I explain to the doctor that Sam has been having difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and play activities. He starts to get closer to me and tells me that he has noticed some of the same things when my husband or I have brought Sam in for her other doctors’ visits. He gets even closer as he starts to tell me that he thinks Sam has autism. I almost passed out right there. I started to cry uncontrollably. He tells me all of the signs to look for over the next few weeks, months, and years. He also told me that this is not a definitive diagnosis and that we will continue to watch Sam over time.
I drove home in a daze. It was no wonder that I did not get in a car accident. I called my husband after I had gotten Sam settled down for a nap. I did not want her to see me cry anymore. My husband came home right away to talk about the information that the doctor had given me. We went over what to watch for and when to be...