I’ve been asked a couple of times when I recall the regression started with Courtney. I only wish I can pinpoint the exact time, but I can only give an estimate. What I can recall is one day she was standing at the top of her little slide singing “Let it Go” and now I don’t hear the word “go”. One day she was at her grandma’s house walking on the stepping-stones with numbers on it and counting backwards from 5, pretty clearly and now I think we have heard a couple times something that sounds like 1,2,3. One day we could take a picture of her and all we had to say is “say cheese” and she would look at us and say “cheese”. Today, she doesn’t respond to her name let alone, “say cheese”. Heck, she doesn’t even sit still to take the picture. I shared my concerns with many people that I was worried about her language development. Most friends and family told me not to worry because children develop at different rates and I really wanted to believe that so I kept delaying doing anything. I started talking about my concerns with a close friend and one of my sisters, both of which have a background in speech/language therapy. They too tried to keep me from worrying but the more I talked to them the more they encouraged me to get her evaluated. With my background in Autism, I started to wonder. My friend and sister tried to keep me from jumping to conclusions but again, as time went on, I could tell by our conversations that they too were thinking the same thing. Especially my sister who had been down this same road.
Then came the end of August when I went back to school. It was the hardest two weeks with little Courtney. My happy little girl became a very unhappy, almost colic like, little girl. Her grandparents would report when I picked her up that she cried on and off all day. Evenings were just the same. The only thing that calmed her were, me holding her, walks in her stroller or car rides. I was 7 months pregnant so these weren’t all easy tasks. It was heartbreaking. After a couple of days it became apparent that she was constipated. After a lot of miralax on a regular basis, the happy Courtney returned, but the skills she had lost did not.
Without a doubt, she qualified for speech/language therapy and occupational therapy. We also finally had her 2 year check up. I told her doctor some main concerns…regression, no words, and doesn’t respond to her name. She immediately recommended that I go for a medical diagnosis by a developmental pediatrician. I knew what that meant right then and there that she was thinking the same thing I was…Courtney was showing characteristics of Autism. Little did I know though that the process to go see a developmental pediatrician was long. How long?
Fast forward a little bit. Somewhere during that fast forward I nearly died giving birth to Alyssa, got Courtney evaluated through Early Intervention, had several months of therapy including (OT, ST, PT, and DT) to tonight. Tomorrow we are finally seeing the developmental pediatrician. A 6 month wait!
I have spent 10 years teaching preschoolers with Autism. I’ve taken many courses, attended many workshops, and even lead workshops on how to work with children with Autism so I’m pretty knowledgable on the subject. When it comes to my own child though…I feel clueless and helpless.
So…i suck as a writer, and I’m not sure I really have the time to do this but I thought I would keep a blog on the journey of being a “special needs” mother. Let the journey begin!