Yesterday, we got Caiden's official autism diagnosis (on paper). For a kid who just turned two a few months ago, he now has a pretty lengthy list of issues, and we're still waiting on several things to know if we'll be adding more. To date, he has been diagnosed with:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Global Cerebral Atrophy
Its taken almost an entire year to get ASD put on the list, and nearly as long for the rest. It's been tremendously exhausting, and we're not even finished yet.
Our appointment yesterday was a follow up from June with the developmental pediatrician. We went over test results, and she wanted to see how therapy has helped, along with discussing our concerns. Top of my list was autism.
I was worried she was going to be resistant to diagnosing him, and I was right.
It wasn't until we were getting ready to leave that she decided to have me fill out a few questionnaires because his behavior "didn't make sense" to her. He "kind of" fit has some behaviors she wasn't sure about, so she didn't want to diagnose him. Big surprise, he scored very low, even among kids like him, in all areas, so she went ahead and finally put it on paper for us.
We discussed medication. Caiden is still a bit young for anything, but if his meltdowns become much worse we were told to consider it. He's large enough (33lbs and 39in) that he would be able to take it if need be. We're hoping to stay away from medications as long as possible, but its reassuring to know we'll have it as an option if it comes down to it.
I admit, though we've known for a while that he's autistic, I teared up a bit when she told me she was finally going to go ahead and diagnose him. On one hand, I'm relieved we were finally taken seriously, hopefully now we'll be able to get him more services and things will get better. But, part of me still hoped we were wrong, that it was just a development issue.
Getting confirmation that your child is disabled is hard. I have a lump in the back of my throat that just won't budge. Things might get better, but this isn't going away, no matter how much therapy he gets. The rest of our lives will be spent fighting for services and worrying about bullies and what's going to happen to him when we can't care for him anymore. We're going to have to be his voice. We have to throw away the future we envisioned him having (again), and try to imagine a new one with autism.
Regardless of whatever additional diagnoses he ends up with, he's still Caiden. He's still the same giggly little boy, and we still love him the same. If anything we'll hug him tighter now, we'll appreciate the little things he does and stand in awe over the progress he makes.
We'll learn to live in the moment and not by the milestones. And with this cutie pie to share them with, that's alright with me.