When you go to the doctor they always ask, “Is your child meeting milestones?” There are milestones each child should meet at different ages. The doctor will ask “Is he or she rolling over? Is he or she crawling? Is he or she talking?” The list goes on.
I was the parent who always had to let the doctor know my son was not meeting them.
My son, Kash, was a late crawler, walker, etc. He did say a few words like “ma, da, hi, bye,” at seven months, but those words disappeared at ten months.
I always brought my concerns to my son’s doctors, but it seemed no one really listened. I always got told he was just a late bloomer, that he was a boy and would grow out of it. Nope, that was not the case. I just knew better.
My mom gut told me differently. Here I am, a first-time mother. My one-year old son was not talking. He would not make eye contact. He just wanted to be left alone. He would always flap his arms. He would not respond to his name.
The list of concerns continued. I knew I had to do something. I had to continue to push for my son to get answers.
I am his mother. I am his advocate. I know him the best. I was not going to take no any longer. I researched and found a resource for early intervention. This service provided early intervention for children from the ages of birth to three years old. He was able to receive speech and occupational therapy through this service.
They both came into our home once a week. Here I am, a very emotional mother. I would always confide in the therapist about my concerns. They were only able to give me professional input from their background. I remember always asking “Does he have autism?” They never could give me an answer. They always told me to follow up with his doctor. Deep down I believe they knew. I knew in my heart my son had autism.
June 7th, 2017 was the day my son was evaluated for autism. It was the day my family’s life changed forever. It was the day we got the official diagnosis. It was the day our world would be flipped upside down. This diagnosis did not take me by surprise, because in my heart I just knew.
Hearing the official words from a professional just really sank deep in my heart. The doctor provided important resources for our family. She mentioned the different therapies provided for children/adults with autism. I still remember her telling my husband and I that this will take time to process. It really did take a lot of time to process everything.
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I had to begin to pull myself together. I knew I needed to help my son. I can’t help him if all I am doing is crying. I had to begin to research different therapies to help my son. I had to continue looking for the best doctors to help him.
I am his mother and advocate. I researched a therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It was one of the resources my son’s doctor discussed with us, but I had never heard of it. I did my research and saw how impactful this type of therapy was for individuals with autism. My husband, Kash, and I began to take tours of different ABA centers.
We visited five different centers, and out of those five there was only one where Kash did not cry. We knew the center he did not cry at was the one: the one that would forever changed my son’s life. In just the two short years my son has been at this center he has made huge progress. He makes eye contact. He communicates through American Sign Language. He interacts with peers. He is more engaged. He responds to his name. He grows more and more.
I can’t stress enough to parents how beneficial early intervention is in a young child’s life. Early intervention has truly changed my son’s life. He is a whole new person. This has offered him a better, more positive quality of life. He is still young, so his brain is still forming. I always say a young child’s brain is like putty.
It still can be squished around and formed into how it should be. Never be scared to ask professionals if you have concerns. If they do not listen continue to push. Push for answers. Remember you are your child’s biggest advocate.
This article was featured in Issue 100 – Best Tools And Strategies For Autism