Autism And Gideon’s Diagnosis

As many of you know Gideon (our nearly 2 year-old) receives speech therapy each week.  Recently his teacher mentioned that he may be “at risk for an autism diagnosis” because he “has many of the markers for an at risk for autism diagnosis”…

I immediately thought, ok if he is on the autism spectrum we need to know, for sure.  So I asked the therapist how to obtain a diagnosis and they recommended taking Gideon in to see a neurologist.

It took just over two weeks to go from that day to actually seeing a neurologist.  In the mean time a special education teacher that specializes in autism spectrum disorders came to do an evaluation that “identifies the likelihood a child will be at risk for an autism diagnosis”. Hmmm….

Of the 12 focus points in this test. Gideon only passed a couple.

Giddo and special ed teacher Giddo n monkey Birth to Three assesment

His final score was 3.5 with 2.5-4.0 placing children in the “at risk for an autism diagnosis”.

Sheesh.  This all was too much.  It felt like parental torture.

Does Gideon have a disorder?  If it’s not autism what is it? Sensory integration disorder?  What does this all mean?

The days ticked by TOO SLOWLY.  We prayed and agreed to keep our mouths shut about all this until we knew more firmly what we were facing.

August 9th, 2012 we met with Dr. Joseph a neurologist at Valley Medical Center.  The appointment went very long.  We asked lots of questions.  The neurologist asked us a lot too.

“Does he have tantrums?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Sigh of relief

“Does he eat a variety of foods?”

“Yes.”

“List them.”

“Ham chunks, string cheese, pizza, apples, bananas, cottage cheese, Cheerios…”

“Good”

Sigh of relief

“How’s his sleep?”

“He sleeps great.  Naps well too.  I think he actually has higher sleep needs than his brother.”

“Good”

Wew.

“How is he with touch?”

“He is a big snuggler.  He loves to be held.”

“Good”

🙂

At one point we were told children with autism often excell in numbers and letters while maintaining a language delay.

I asked the neurologist, “Gideon knows the alphabet, the letter sounds and can count forward and backward 1-10.  Either he’s autistic or he’s a prodigy.  What do you think?”

Giddo by hippo Giddo n daddy Giddo on the hippo Giddo pressing buttons

After some simple behavioral tests, the neurologist said, “I really don’t think your son has autism.  If you have any concerns in four months come back.  Otherwise, keep with the speech therapy for his language delay.  Try play groups.  The more language the better.”

Well, Giddo, looks like that leaves “Prodigy” as your diagnosis. 😉

Gideon who has almost all the risk factors for “a risk of an autism diagnosis”, doesn’t have autism.  Or any disorder, just a speech delay.

I learned that children who are premature can present with “red flags” that aren’t actual indicators at all but just mean the child was premature.

What a whirlwind of emotion.  It was so weird to go through this without telling so many people and asking for support.

I hope others might read this and learn that if your child is ever considered at risk for autism diagnosis, to pursue a diagnosis from someone who is a specialist and is qualified to diagnose your child.

Gideon has a speech and language delay, that’s all.  But another kiddo with all the “risk factors” might actually have autism or another disorder.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your provision through this growth experience.  Thank you for guiding us to investigate further and not remain in an undiagnosed state out of fear.  You are mighty and we are totally dependant on you.  Thank you for being so good.  Amen.

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One thought on “Autism And Gideon’s Diagnosis

  1. Ah – Erica – that is so well communicated. What parent doesn’t wonder, worry, and try to do all they can for their child. Gideon will be loved as he is and he would have been loved if he had autism. But, more importantly – as his Grams – I am so joyful that his Mommy and Daddy investigate, address, and do all they can to make sure our little guy’s needs are provided for. xxoo

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