Friday, January 27, 2012

When did you know?

Since starting Autism Pirate a few months ago I have had the privilege of having parents with kids on the spectrum reaching out, asking advice, giving advice (which I LOVE keep it coming) and in general people asking when did you know that your child had autism?  The latter being a very interesting question.

When you first get diagnosed and you are looking for answers you hear a lot of both sides of all the issues.  Diet, medications, therapies, biomedical interventions and what path are you going to take to educate your child?  

I have to tell you at first it was hard for us; we were in denial and hoping that maybe Rye was “just a boy” and possibly behind the curve because some boys, as toddlers develop later than others.  We moved from Colorado to Missouri at a pivotal time.   Rye was three and we were starting to notice that “things just weren’t right.”  Initially we thought he was stressed because of the transition of moving.   He had also attended a home day care, since he was 10 weeks old, where the provider, (Thank You Traci Myers) thought he hung the moon.  We had ups and downs over the next six months and continued to think that maybe things would work out if we just kept working on the basics.  It finally came down to an incident at church in Palmyra (the town where Scott and I grew up.  I have gone to this church my whole life and at the time my seventy-year-old mother had attended her whole life.)  Rye had a melt-down that could rival Mt. Saint Helen’s on its worst day.   I in turn had a melt-down that made Rye’s seem like small potatoes.  We basically drug Rye to the car and my Mother (who would rather cut off her right arm before yelling at him) says “HEY you need to listen to your MOM, I’m her MOMMY and I say you have to listen.”  This calms the situation for a minute.  I cry all the way to Claudie and Cheryl’s house (Scott’s Aunts who have basically raised him since his Mother died.)  Claudie met us at the door, trouble or not Rye has repetitively rung her door bell every time we enter her home since he was old enough to walk.  I remember so vividly looking at Claudie, crying and saying “just take him, I don’t know what I going to do, he is not alright”. 
That is it.  That was my moment.  The moment I knew.  The moment that made me recall every image that had ever worried me before.  The lining up of the toys, the obsession of watching toys that spin, the restrictive range of interests, and the language that I was praying would come and never did.  

It is also the exact moment, I had to dig deep.  REALLY deep.  The moment I had to tell myself, bring it on, I can do this.  It was the moment I said to myself my child has Autism.  

In retrospect it seems like a dream that I have had a thousand times before.  I knew it then, I knew it the exact moment Dr. Kanne told me a year and half later and I know it now.   My child has Autism. 


  1. Shade was 2 when I realized something was wrong.....

  2. Another boy at school had been escaping from his teachers all day long. He finally had a melt down and wound up in the office sitting on the bench waiting for his mother to pick him up. She arrived, sat down, and tried to figure out what was wrong as the little boy hung his head in his hands. At that moment, Rye came in, and without hesitation, kneeled down in front of the little boy and reached his arm out to hug and comfort the little guy. They met eyes and the little boy smiled. Rye looked up at the mom and decided to sit between them. Mom laughed and scooted on over while Rye sidled his way in between them with his arm around still wrapped around the little guy comforting him with soft words and gestures. Rye then looked at the mom and said, "who are you?" The mom told Rye that she was his mother. Rye then said, "Hi, my name is Rye, what's yours?" He thrust his hand out to shake hers. She told him and he proceeded to turn back around to continue comforting his friend in distress. One little guy with autism brought tears to the eyes of every adult in the office at that moment. Moments like that don't come along every day and Rye, all by himself, made that happen. Thanks Rye. You are growing up into a fine young man who will do great things.

  3. Thanks so much Angie! Stories like that keep us going. I'm working on a blog about school too so check back! Thanks for everything you do!