I’m all out of good introductions so I’m just going to come out and say that we are going to start the assessment process for Damien Angelo.
It’s not like his communication delays are a shock to me, neither are his odd behaviours, but there is no denying that hearing these same things from a doctor’s mouth bring a level of reality to the whole situation that both validates your concerns and scares the crap out of you.
Yesterday Damien and I had the privilege of working with a great team of doctors, therapists and students as they became familiar with an ADOS test for young toddlers. The ADOS test is one of the many available tools to help screen for autism. It’s essentially about an hour of guided play, so Damien had a ball with it!
Because Xander, Damien and I are always together it can be hard for me to tell what behaviours D is copying from X and what are behaviours he does on his own. Watching him yesterday gave me a pretty clear picture of some of the quirks D is showing all on his own without his big brother’s influence. It was eye opening, enlightening and pretty emotional.
At the end of the session the doctor sat with me and we talked about their observations. Damien is still so very young at 20 months and while the doctor said he didn’t see enough signs to say “ASD” right then and there he strongly encouraged us to get early intervention involved and gave me a contact number to get some assessments done on D’s behaviour and his near-lack of communication skills.
Overall it was an awesome experience. I can’t stop thinking how lucky we are to have met the people we have on this journey. Learning that Damien is going to need some extra support in his development is something that I would prefer to learn sooner rather than later, and that is something that I honestly need to remind myself when things are difficult.
So now I get to draw up a game plan for Damien. First steps are to get early intervention involved and to complete the assessments that the doc recommended. As always we are on high alert to watch for any signs of a regression, because that will change our course completely. After these assessments are done we will need to see if pursuing an autism diagnosis is in the cards for us.
You know, I never in a million years thought that I would be sitting here at my desk talking about getting an autism diagnosis for my second son. It’s amazing the places life takes you. There is no denying that this road is tough, and most days I tell myself that my kids picked the wrong Mama. It’s true. But you know, if I was given a choice I would choose to raise these kids again and again and again.
Maybe with more coffee. There is never enough coffee.