Our sweet Colton was diagnosed just right before his 5th birthday. It was recommended we have him evaluated at out local Child Find by his preschool teacher when he was 2. When it was suggested we do so I was so confused as to why. I didn’t have any experience with autism and because of that I had a list of “false assumptions” in my head.
Colton was highly intelligent and started speaking clearly at 10 months. Even though he was slightly delayed with crawling and walking he was always very gifted in my eyes. He has a memory like no other. Sure, we noticed some quirks but we always had reasoning behind them. He talked to adults but not children his age, but of course he didn’t, he was an only child. He flapped his hands when he was excited and we all thought it was so cute…and we still do. He repeated everything we said but he talked so well and to us that’s was how he was learning to speak. We later found out that was called echolalia. Child Find evaluated him and could not give him a diagnosis but agreed he did show some characteristics of autism.
From this point forward I became consumed, consumed with watching EVERY behavior he did. I stopped enjoying him and just became obsessed with over analyzing him. I HATED that, my husband did too. I cried myself to sleep thinking about it and reading everything I could. I felt confused because based on what I was reading I didn’t understand how he didn’t get the diagnosis. He portrayed so many symptoms of Asperger’s, a diagnosis they don’t give any more. A couple years went by and I set out for a second opinion, my husband said it was okay with him but after it was over he didn’t want to speak of this ever again, I agreed that was a fair deal and went forth with an evaluation at Kennedy Krieger.
A couple weeks later we went back for our results meeting and Colton indeed got a diagnosis of autism and Stereotypic Movement Disorder. My husband had a hard time because he says he was in denial for so long. I on the other hand, felt relief. I felt like I understood Colton so much clearer. We have been very lucky, even though this is a life long thing, Colton has been making great improvement with help of OT weekly and speech lessons to help with pragmatic speech. I know this diagnosis does not define him and I’m sure he will do amazing things when he’s older. His attention for detail, his memory, and his love for teaching us about his interests will take him far. We love you Colton!! You’re truly amazing!