The Diagnosis We Received, Even Though I Already Knew

I have discussed my son Aj for quite some time now. Aj has been without any form of medications since January 20, 2014. Aj had been on some form of medications consistently since about age 4, he is now 7 years of age. These past couple of months have opened up a whole new child and a whole new opinion on what I felt was going on with  my son. I firmly believed Aj was showing more autism signs than anything else in the past coupe of months and we received confirmation from a psychiatrist that stated Aj is indeed Autism Spectrum – High Functioning. What does this mean? Well I am still researching it all but honestly it just means that now there is a better idea of how to work with the public school system for him because in all reality he is the same child I’ve been raising for 7 years, nothing has changed for us at home.

In the past autism had come up, but Aj wasn’t having “enough” signs for anyone to really look into it back then. Now that I’ve had this meeting with the pysch I am realizing there were more signs than we may have even been aware of, starting way back as a baby. For example, as a baby Aj never liked affection, he wasn’t that cuddly soft baby who enjoyed being swaddled nor snuggled. Aj was that baby who breastfed and when done eating was ready to be out of your arms. Aj also potty trained extremely late. Aj also had slight delays in speech. There are some things with Aj that he was delayed in but we found health reasons for the delay and the pysch said that is probably why no one really paid any attention, the variable of having a health reason made sense so no one questioned autism. Wow, what en eye opener.

One thing I have noticed, without anyone telling me, is that maybe most of Aj’s violent rages were not stemming from bipolar, as previously thought. Bipolar made sense, that is what Aj was having going on or so it seemed. Now that I have been observing Aj and working to adapt my parenting routine to the way his brain works, I haven’t had any outbursts from him in the ways of the past. I firmly believe that Aj’s violent rages or what appeared to be major mood fluctuations were actually pertaining to him not being able to verbalize what was going on in his own mind and me not understanding his dire need for a very routine, structured environment. Now that his home environment has been adapted to Aj’s needs, he is thriving and happy nearly all of the time! Aj now interacts with his siblings, he shows a strong family bond, something I hadn’t seen before. Prior years, Aj was closest to me, his Mama, but lacked that full emotional connection with his siblings or others that were a primary part of his world. As I’ve started to work with Aj these past couple of months, I have seen his emotional connections with those who he trusts grow!

Recent Autism DX For my Son

I must admit, when the pysch said out-loud that Aj is indeed “Autism Spectrum – High Functioning” I felt very blank. Even though I knew that was going to be the diagnosis, or at least had assumed and sort of hoped for because it was the only thing that made sense, I still felt blank. I felt sad. I wanted to scream and cry. Why? Well because this is now reality. This is now something I have to work with the public school system for student supports that he will require as time goes on. Right now, Aj isn’t suffering too badly from the way the school works but as each day passes I do see new things that really are signs he could go downhill if we don’t get a team together and figure a way to adapt his school days to the way his mind works.

In all honesty, I am having home school scream at me, but right now I must go through the steps in hopes that the public school system works for him because I don’t have a passion for home schooling my child. I am certainly the right fit Mama to home school my son if the need arises, and I always make decisions based on what my maternal instinct says is best for my children but I am not there yet. I will go through the steps with the school system and fight hard to see what can be done to support my son. As Aj gets older we are going to see more and more social issues with him; he never has been good with social ques, ever. Aj isn’t a child who gets into the emotional responses of people, to him it’s more about tones. So if someone has a steady, normal tone, then he doesn’t pick up much, if any, emotion behind it. If someone raises their voice, and that tone is more of a yelling it can send my son into tears.

As a parent it has been difficult to be aware of my tone and ensure that tone is proper but I think I am getting the hang of it. A firm, steady voice always works for Aj. A structured daily life, always works for Aj. I was even able to get him to attend a couple of school functions with his brother and me, something he never ever would have even attempted in the past. This shows me that whatever I am doing to work with my autistic son is actually working to better him, not make him spiral downward.

This is another journey to walk, but I am thankful right now it is a journey that is med free for my son!

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  1. Good-luck with this challenge. Just make sure you never stop advocating for his needs, because you are his best champion, sometimes the “system” needs a little push (read kick in the butt!).

  2. I think having an official diagnosis puts some ease to things. We’re trying to figure out what, if any, learning disability my daughter has. It’s so hard.

  3. I understand the feeling of blank when something happens that you anticipated but the confirmation of it makes it a reality.

    I’m glad you’re able to move forward now though, and learn all you can about what might work best for him.

  4. The good thing is now you know the path to continue on. I hope things work out and that school will be okay. That’s great that no medications are needed.

  5. When my son got his official diagnosis, it did help us with the school system. There are times when I’m not positive that the diagnosis is 100% correct, but he’s still the same kid, no matter what.

  6. I don’t think it’s ever an easy thing to hear a diagnosis no matter how prepared you are that it’s coming. It sounds like with the mama instincts and your research that you’ll be a fabulous advocate for AJ and help get him into his groove.

  7. Even thought you already knew, to get an official diagnosis has must have been a relief for you and your family. Much easier to make decisions from here on out, with doctors, teachers, etc.

  8. I’m glad you received the official diagnosis and now have a better understanding of how to proceed. Wishing you the best of luck on this journey!

  9. I worked with several kids who were high function autistic’s at the child care facility I worked at. I never had any problems with them as long as I kept to the schedule that we had. I had no problem with this and they were some of my favorite kids to teach 🙂

  10. You have now reached the point where you can begin getting help for your son while he’s in school. Definitely a step in the right direction!!

  11. Sometimes we tend to ignore some problems until it touches our lives in a very personal way. I know it might be tough to handle such news and the challenges that come with it; I know that you are a strong person. Just always be there for your child. You are his number hero. Always remember that. 🙂

  12. Sometimes just having a clear diagnosis and documented medical history can make all the difference in the world. I am so happy that your family got their affirmation and you can move forward.

  13. It is good you finally have an official diagnosis. I hope you get the help you need from the schools and your support system. You seem like an amazing mom!

  14. My son has add and was having rage issues. It’s so hard to know what is the right thing to do for your children. Good for you for standing up for him.

  15. It’s such a relief when you finally have the answers you need so you can come up with the best plan to move forward. I hope you find the support that you need in the school. It’s so helpful when you have a great team working towards the same goals. Best of luck to you!

  16. YAY for being Med free!! <3 My god-daughter has Autism and is one of the smartest little ones I know. Her mother got her the help she needed for school and such and it's been an amazing change in her. She's incredible. <3 Hope for everything to go smooth for your son!

  17. Getting the official diagnosis is such a big step. I think you should head over to MatthewsPuzzle and connect with her, she is a great woman and is a very big autism advocate with a lot of information.

  18. I understand the blank feeling, and even though you knew, it is still shocking to really know. But, with official diagnosis, the school will help. The should help you get him the services he needs at school. Now, I am not sure where you live, but I am in TN, and my sis-in-law in TX and now SC have had dealings with the schools. My nephew was diagnosed at first autistic and now asberger’s. She has had trouble with his schools, and she gave me the best advice that I would like to share. First, the school should have an IEP meeting, where you, your son’s teacher, the principal and other school officials will attend to all create an IEP – Individual Education Plan. They have certain guidelines they have t legally follow, and certain forms and paperwork to go over and will have you sign. They must follow the plan that it made. They will also give you contact information if you have any complaints. You will have one of these meetings at a minimum of each year. My SIL told me to get a box, binder, something and make sure you keep every single piece of paper and all the info they provide you with. Take notes. Keep all letters that come home. If you need to dispute or fight for your son, you will need all of these things. Unfortunately, she learned this the hard way, as her son’s school in Houston and the other in Myrtle Beach really failed my nephew. Now, I on the other hand, have a daughter who heeded some speech special education, and her school here in TN has been FANTASTIC! But I had issues with getting her help back in Houston. I don’t want to scare you at all, but I do hope all of this helps you a bit. It is your right to make sure your son gets every bit of an education from his school, and it is the law that they provide it to him, so Good Luck, and I truly hope you have none of these issues with his school. He deserves an education just like every other child.

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