Sunday, September 14, 2008


Sometimes the fool who rushes in gets the job done. - Al Bernstein.

Before I delve into where we have been, what we have seen, and what we are doing now, I feel it is my duty to ensure that anyone with developmental concerns about a young child calls their local Early Intervention office ASAP.

I really can not impress that enough.

No doubt if you have searched the Internet vigorously enough to have found this post, you have read about the importance of Early Intervention. And, if you have read enough about Autism, I am sure that you have read that early detection and early intervention can dramatically improve the prognosis of those affected. I am here to reiterate and amplify that the first step for parents of young children with developmental concerns is to CALL EARLY INTERVENTION, NOW.

Later, I intend to go into great detail about the "developmental concerns" we had which caused us to call. We called when our little man was just under 2 and a half and only after we were clubbed over the head with it. But for now, if you find your self saying things like..."he just needs more time..." or "maybe its just a second child thing" ... or "my cousin had a son who didn't do that until after he was 3..." my vote is that you call EARLY INTERVENTION, NOW.

Why? It is an all reward, no risk endeavor. You get a team of qualified individuals to come to your house, play with your child in a manner that enables them to evaluate your child's development, and then tell you what they think. Best case scenario, you are an overly diligent parent of a child with no developmental delays. Worst case scenario, you are an overly diligent parent who caught developmental delays at the earliest point.

It is literally a no brainer. If you have any developmental concerns, you should CALL EARLY INTERVENTION, NOW!

Spread the word.

Friday, September 12, 2008

D-DAY (The Day of Diagnosis)

…but names will never hurt me..

Well, it is official. Autism. No bells. No whistles. No "not otherwise specifieds." Just Autism. An official name to label some of the -ISMS that we have seen in our spectacularly unique little boy. The net effect? At least we don't have to preface our discussions with the obligatory "…we'll we don't have an official diagnosis yet, but…"

Amazingly and thankfully, this D-Day was an unsurprising and anticlimactic event. My, how far we have come. Over a year ago, when it became clear that this A-word was a real possibility, we felt overwhelmed by the great unknown. We feverously searched the Internet, bought books, called everyone we knew, and in a panicked frenzy gathered as much information as possible. We had conversations in the middle of the night discussing strengths, weaknesses, and the future. But, thanks to the many, many people who were there for us, from our Early Intervention providers, to other families of similar children, to our family and friends, we now feel so encouraged and empowered that the day of the official diagnosis provided to us nothing but a name. Not an end, not a beginning, just a name.

And onward we go!

Friday, September 5, 2008


Life is a tale told by an idiot
Full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

I used that quote to start this post-- not because I believe it (because I do not), but to segue into what I believe to be the meaning of the term “Autism Spectrum Disorders,” often abbreviated (ASD): full of sound and fury-- signifying nothing. I have read books, surfed the Internet ad nauseam, and talked to many people to try to get the best understanding as to what that term means-- and depending on who you read, an academic, a parent, a doctor, a journalist, the answer can be quite evasive.

The best definition I found for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was in the book More Than Words, by Fern Sussman, which stated the following:

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term that is currently being used by many professionals to describe children who have difficulties in social interaction, play and communication. ...ASD isn't a medical term. But it is a convenient way of describing a large a diverse group of children who have similarities in the way they process information and understand the world.

Go back and read that again. ASD in not a medical term, but is a convenient way of describing a large and diverse group of children.

The purpose of this post is not to minimalize a diagnosis of ASD, nor is it meant to provide insight into the any of the many diverse diagnoses which fall under that large umbrella. Rather, it is posted as a reminder to me and to you that this “ASD” we are trying to get our arms around is not susceptible to a “one size fits all” definition. Symptoms of one child are not shared by all. Remedies which benefit one child, will not benefit all.

The diversity of the affected children make it clear that while one thought, idea, treatment or strategy may work for one child or family, it may not work for another. The importance is getting the most information out there to ensure that each family is aware of the all of the different options and can evaluate the ones that may work best in each individual situation.