Wildflowers for Jade: Diagnosis: Autism

Friday, August 27, 2010

Diagnosis: Autism

Autism Hope necklace from Etsy
1 in 70 boys are diagnosed with Autism. As of yesterday, Jaden is one of them.
To say that I was expecting it was true and not at all true. I thought that he was Autistic yet thought that I could be wrong, and that he was too difficult to diagnose, the lines too vague, and that as two times before we would walk out with no diagnosis and more questions than answers.
Diagnosis: Autism That’s what was written on the paper. The whole session is already fuzzy in my head, being recorded in my severely sleep-deprived state. To say that I expected that he had Autism did not make the words less of a blow. My stomach hurt like I’d physically been punched. I made it downstairs with Matt and Jaden, made it to the parking garage. Matt put Jaden in his carseat while I stood there slowly turning to stone, and cried. Matt came around and held me. “He’s still our little boy, he’s still our Jaden. He’s still our little ball of sunshine.” On the way home he told me he had expected it, but “Expecting it didn’t make it easier to hear.” The feelings are complex. Relief and grief. Relief because I suspected, or had come to know. Obviously something was wrong, something that didn’t fit or was more than the diagnosises that we’d been given. Grief because no matter what, it’s a terrible thing to have a diagnosis for. Because, as we told each other on the way home, suspecting wasn’t knowing and until then we had doubts. “In doubt there was hope,” Matt said. Exactly. Hope that we were wrong, that it was something else, something elusive that would be grown out of. But Autism. A lifelong diagnosis of struggle and confusion. Last night I finally slept. I don’t know how many days or weeks have passed since the last time I slept more than 4 hours in a night. No, not a night, that’s the problem. I could feel myself degrading yet the sleepiness eluded me. Just me wired up and unable to sleep until 7, 8, 9 in the morning. I felt practically useless at the assessment yesterday, my words staggering and me speaking what I knew were unclear, half sentences. But last night I slept.