Sunday, April 14, 2013

Autism Understanding & Acceptance 2013 Day 8: First Steps

Sort of a play on words here with this picture...but as stated in an earlier post, First Steps is Indiana's early intervention program. These programs provide therapies for childre...n birth-3 years who show developmental delays. Every state has one, and can be accessed through your pedicatrician or even self-referral. Dr. Schechter referred us when Thomas was 15 months old because he was not saying "mama" or "dada" yet, had his Half-Ass crawl and was not yet walking.

I fully admit that I was just along for the ride at this point. I did not see that anything was truly amiss. I had my worries here & there, but what mom doesn't? There was enough info out there saying that boys talk later than girls - why worry? And even though the book which I flipped off on Saturday really made me nervous at times, I really went into this First Steps time just humoring the therapists. I even remember saying to them, "He'll get some help and be fine by 5 or 6, right?"

Sometimes I wonder about the definition of denial. Does it mean that you have an inkling that something is wrong but you don't want to see it, or does it mean that you truly just have NO idea what you are staring down?

He had five therapy sessions per week: 2 speech therapy, 2 physical therapy (which quickly moved to occupational therapy), and 1 developmental therapy. Wonderful therapists came to our home, took notes, and month after month, did not discharge him. This is when I started to hate those checklists: does he kick a ball? Does he play peek-a-boo?

Picture becomes clearer as I write this, but I just didn't see it at the time. Not yet. Everything is more clear when you see if from the outside, I suppose.

And when I first heard one of the therapists use the word autism, the only way to describe my reaction was blindsided - and for the first time, I knew what it felt like to have the world fall out from under you. And I flipped out. That's the only way to describe it.

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