I’ve been grappling with something.
Does my four year-old son really have autism?
It’s not an easy question to answer. The umbrella seems rather wide, and my son has just squeaked his way under it. He can’t always find protection from the rain; part of him is perpetually sticking out.
There are moments when his imaginative play is creative and his language so articulate, I find myself scoffing at the diagnosis.
Then he licks the restaurant table.
There are moments when he shows intense empathy for his younger brother, and a true desire to play with him.
Then he knocks him off the couch.
There are moments when he gets so excited about a play date with a friend, he’s literally jumping up and down.
Then he spends the time playing by himself.
Just a few days ago, he was snuggled next to me on the couch watching TV. Then, suddenly, he was jumping on me, clawing and biting.
What is this?
Is it autism? Is it sensory-processing disorder? Is he simply an active aggressive child?
Does it matter?
Yes, it matters in that the label of ASD has provided us with therapies to help our son that insurance wouldn’t otherwise cover, as well as the opportunity to participate in programs that require a label to attend. It’s provided our son with an IEP that has been instrumental in bridging the communication between home and school. It’s allowed him to participate in a special needs preschool with a teacher that truly changed his life for the better. It’s providing us with a solid plan for when he starts Junior Kindergarten this fall, to ensure he has the best start possible.
Yet, I still find myself struggling with the label, wondering if it truly depicts my son. In my heart, I know it doesn’t. This label of autism felt all-consuming when it was slapped on him last year, but now, it feels like such a small part of who he really is.
Impulsive, creative, active, intense, aggressive, sensitive, funny, sensory-seeking, compassionate, competitive, energetic, autistic — these are just some of the words that describe my son.
For now though, I’ll take the label.
Do you ever struggle with your child’s diagnosis?
Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!