Thursday, April 26, 2012

Parents' Journey to Autism Diagnosis

By Amy Markoff Johnson on Huffington Post.

Some parents have baby books documenting the early years of their children's lives. My husband and I have manila file folders with labels like "Developmental Delays: Tests and Evaluations," "Speech Therapy Research" and "Early Intervention IFSP." These were the keepsakes we carefully preserved, our own special needs version of bronzed baby shoes: enough medical evaluations, referrals, notes and diagnostic information to fill half a file drawer. But rather than encasing the memory of a baby's first faltering steps, they are the record of a two-year-long journey stumbling toward an autism diagnosis.
Near the front of the drawer, in a folder labeled "Developmental Delays: Notes," is a sheet of paper with a list of words printed in black ballpoint pen: Cookie (ka), Stick (ka), Fish (ka), Car (ka), Dark (ka), Light (ka), Bunny (buh), Book (buh), Banana (buh)... The list of words goes on, a handful of mysterious single-syllables in parentheses next to each one. These are the words my son could say when we first began to worry enough to start taking notes, along with his pronunciation of each.

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