A Saturday in May of this year I sat on my couch bored. Rickey was at work and both of the boys were gone, a rarity, so I figured I would look up HBO Docs on demand. I love HBO documentaries!! I saw Autism: The Musical on the list and hit play.
I worked in pediatrics for years, saw a few autistic children here and there, but my experience with the disorder was quite limited. When I was 18 and just had Lyric I actually wanted to go to school to do music therapy with autistic children but it was in Orange County and that wasn’t going to work. So I stayed in San Diego and went into nursing.
Anyway the point of that rambling was that I really had no clue about how wide the autism spectrum was.
Back to biz…I hit play, and after about 20 min my heart went to my stomach, I sat there and thought Oh my God, I see so much of Diego in these children!Could he be autistic…no…no way….but wait….maybe??
I watched the rest of the documentary and when it was over I cried, alone, in my living room for a very long time. How could I not have seen it?? I mean I always knew he was “quirky” and had/has behavior issues, but really?? It took a documentary on television for me to even get the idea??? Talk about Mom FAIL! I felt so awful, so guilty, like a horrible mom.
The guilt has become a constant and unwelcome companion. One of the moms in Diego’s social skills group says I shouldn’t feel guilty because Diego is verbal, and when our children can speak, it is hard to tell.
I still feel like I should have known.
I’m his MOTHER 😦
Back to that Saturday morning. I sat on the couch and finished the bulk of my crying episode, then I thought about everything from the time I got pregnant until that point. It all made so much sense now!! The noise issues, the swaddling until he was nearly a year old, the tantrums, the slight delay in speech (which we all attributed to dual language), the rigidity, the way he played (or didn’t), his allergies, his stomach issues. I sat there numb with fear and disappointment for a few hours. Once I was able to get up I went to the computer and started my research. The boys had their physical coming up and I wanted to be armed with as much knowledge as possible when I presented this to our pediatrician.
When I approached our pediatrician in her office with it, she had her aha! moment, because of Diego’s father’s insurance Diego had not been her patient the first year and a half of his life (she has been Lyric’s pediatrician since Lyric was two weeks old.), so I don’t blame her for not catching the signs, hell I lived with him everyday and didn’t know!! The doctor and I went over my list and she said it was very concerning for Asperger’s Syndrome.
Confirmation of my worries=heart back in stomach.
Our journey since then is pretty well documented in this blog.
I am very thankful to Coach Elaine, Wyatt, Adam, Henry, Neal, Lexi, their families, and the crew for making this documentary. It is beautifully made and very real, but more than anything it opened my eyes to what was happening with my baby. For that I am forever grateful.