On May 26th, 2021, my son, Micah was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a global developmental delay at 2.5 years old. I knew ASD was a possible diagnosis, but hearing the doctor actually say it out loud still hit me like a ton of bricks. My immediate thoughts were…What does this mean? Will he live a normal life? Where do I start? I was feeling ALL the feels.
At the time I knew very little about Autism. I had a very narrow view of what it was. The more I read and researched the more I learned that Autism looks different for each person and that the spectrum is quite huge.
We noticed behavior changes in our son shortly after he turned two years old. At the time it was difficult for us to tell if his behavior was because of him being isolated due to COVID-19 or if it was something more. Shortly after his second birthday, we decided to make an appointment with a developmental pediatrician who specializes in ASD and developmental delays. The wait until he was able to be seen was 6 months. During the waiting period, we had him seen by three different pediatricians. All who said they had no suspicions of ASD and that they only thought he had a speech delay.
At his 2.5-year wellness checkups, his pediatrician even told us we could cancel the upcoming appointment we made with the developmental pediatrician.
During this time he started attending a very reputable neurotypical preschool center three days a week. Whenever we would have check-in calls with his teacher she would tell us he is a “typical” 2 year old and doesn’t face any challenges in the classroom. My husband Robert and I were puzzled by this because we were having a lot of difficulty at home.
Because Micah is so young and the fact that he has low support needs his disorder was overlooked as just “the terrible twos” along with some corky behaviors due to being isolated because of COVID-19.
I don’t fault Micah’s previous doctors for their impressions of him. ASD is one of the hardest things to diagnose in young children. This is because there is no medical test, like a blood test to diagnose the disorder.
Even though I was told not to worry and he would grow out of his behaviors, something in my heart still told me to keep the appointment with the developmental pediatrician.
As soon as we got the diagnosis, we immediately started setting him up with all of the services he needs.
Three months prior to his ASD diagnosis he started private speech therapy and had an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) through the county. He started those services at two ½ years old. Since February 2021 we have seen huge strides in his speech as well as his cognitive and social-emotional development.
Robert and I both look forward to sharing Micah’s ASD journey with you all in hopes that we can help other families who have loved ones with ASD. There are a lot of thoughts and feelings around receiving an ASD diagnosis and what to do next. We are here to remind you that whatever you are feeling is okay and that you’re not alone and that life can still be so, so bright!
Robert and I still have hard days, but when we zoom out and look at the big picture there are more good days than bad and through it all, we continue to lean on our faith. We trust in the plan God has made for Micah and for my family. And we are so incredibly proud of how far he has come.
Until next time!