I think we’ve become paranoid. I hope we’ve become paranoid.
It seems like no matter where we look, there is always another reference to autism. A boy I used to babysit is high on the autism spectrum. There are commercials for autism awareness, charities . . . one of our favorite shows, Parenthood, portrays a couple raising a teenage daughter and an autistic son. I’m resenting so much autism awareness.
Does that make me terrible?
I’m resenting autism awareness because now I look at my daughter every day and wonder if she’s showing signs.
We had thought that Tori had said two words around 11 months old, but she hasn’t said them since. Language regression can be a major red flag. I think, however, that Josh and I have talked about it and decided that we only thought she was saying those words. Maybe she was just making sounds but had yet to make the connection. Regardless, here she is at over 15 months old and she has yet to say anything. Instead she points and grunts at everything.
To be fair, I didn’t talk until nearly two years old . . . and until I did talk, my means of communication was pointing and grunting. So . . . maybe that can be explained away.
But she’s also making repetitive movements. She obsessively rocks and bounces her back against the back of the couch. I do mean obsessively. Sometimes her rocking becomes quite intense. I looked at some videos of autistic children stimming – and in some of them I saw the same movements my beautiful daughter makes. That makes me more concerned than anything, I suppose.
Last Thursday Josh and I took Tori to her 15-month appointment. We were certainly hoping that doc would listen to our concerns and then say, “Oh, you’re fine! Kids do that.” Instead he furrowed his brow. He used the words “red flags”. He referred us to TEIS – Tennessee Early Intervention System. We’re supposed to get a call from them sometime this week so that they can do an in-home assessment on Tori.
For now I’m trying to remind myself that autism, a spectrum disorder, can be really mild. There are a lot of autistic people on the lower-end that are more than high functioning – they are intelligent, wonderful, delightful people to be around. I’m trying to remind myself that early intervention is key – that autism, when diagnosed and treated early, can be a bump in the road but nothing more.
I’m also trying to remind myself that I’m likely paranoid from all the images I’m seeing in regards to autism.