Problems Home and Away

thomasquietLooking back there were a few other odd things Thomas did as a baby/young toddler.  He was incredibly fearful of being left alone in a different bedroom. Even at his beloved Aunt Tee Tee’s house in Ohio, a different crib in a different room example would send him into a complete panic, even though he had been there 50 times before. If I would eventually get him to sleep from complete exhaustion, he would wake up screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night waking the entire house. I remember one time, I had been planning on leaving to go back to Virginia the next day and he woke up in the middle of the night screaming in a total panic. I tried and tried to get him to go back to sleep to no avail. So at 4:00 in the morning I loaded the car with our things and the other boys and headed back to Virginia. Sleep wasn’t going to happen for me that night so I figured I might as well just get on the road. In fifteen minutes he was fast asleep in the car seat. His car seat.
So, trying to go anywhere with Thomas became an anxiety-ridden struggle.
Seeking help
At age 3, when Thomas still couldn’t speak, we went to seek help. We first went through the school system to Child Find where they assessed Thomas and determined he had little or no expressive or receptive language. He started half-day services that fall, through an early intervention program in Loudoun County Public Schools. His diagnosis at the time was “developmental delay.” I attributed all his quirks to his lack of language, but worried it could be something else. By the age of 4, the quirks were still there even though the language was improving. He was incredibly anxious about anything that was different in his day.
Next he began cutting out foods he used to love to eat. Finding things for Thomas to eat was a challenge in itself. I knew there was something else going on. We decided to have him evaluated at Children’s Hospital where they observed him a few times. Several people who were familiar with Thomas filled out extensive paperwork about him. And that was when we received the official diagnosis – that is was indeed autism. He was 4-years-old and even though I think we knew, hearing it from a specialist still felt like someone shot me in the gut.
Let me hear your story
When did you first know your child was not typical or perhaps had a disability? Was it difficult for you to hear? Do you feel like you knew in your gut, before the official diagnosis was made by a specialist? Please feel free to comment in the comment section below. I would love to hear your stories.