I haven't been blogging much lately. I haven't really known what to say.
The day Mark turned 18 months old, I took him to the doctor and expressed my concerns about his lack of speech. He has picked up one or two words since he was born, and then eventually never used them again. He doesn't say more than "mama" and "dada" and doesn't always use them to address us. It's been frustrating, but we figured it would come with time--he babbled so early that he had to pick it up eventually, right?
Just a few days after I graduated, we had our referral appointment with a local resource center. He was exactly 19 months old and they determined him to be 5 months in expressive speech and 7 months in receptive speech.
More than that, he is only 13 months in fine motor (small movements like grabbing), 15-18 months in gross motor (large movements, like running and jumping), 7 months in cognitive abilities, 12 months in social/emotional skills, and 9-13 months in adaptive/self-help skills. He is likely Autistic but will not be diagnosed until 3.
We have been put into a program called FACES ("Facing Autism's Challenges by Expanding Skills") and ABA Therapy 5 days a week. We're starting out at 1 hour a day but could be upped to 3 if he's comfortable with it and they feel he needs it.
I'm happy that we got him help instead of ignoring it. I'm happy that they referred him when they didn't truly understand the full extent. I'm happy that he has been acknowledged so early and may be able to slide by without ever being diagnosed, should the therapy benefit him enough.
But I'm sad. I don't know why. He's amazing, just as amazing as before the news and I love him with every fiber of my being, but this changes so much. It changes how people see him. It changes how we have to go about things in life. It changes the way he'll be treated in so many different circumstances.
It makes it clear why he is the way he is. Signs that were meaningless to me before are glaringly obvious now. I just hope that they won't be in a few months.
My kid is awesome and so is every other child ever, especially Autistic children. They're amazing and all of you who have been through this with your children are amazing. It's hard. It's not something I ever imagined, or ever wanted to. I'm just taking it one day at a time.
We're working with the best team of people that I could ever imagine, and I'm grateful for that. We're lucky to have the resources that we do, and we're lucky to have each other.