I remember that very day, five years ago, when the neurodevelopmental pediatrician told me that my son has ASD. It was September 9, 2014, and after waiting three months for the appointment, the doctor confirmed the suspicions of my son’s teachers; he has Autism Spectrum Disorder. I didn’t believe his teachers before when they told me that my son was displaying symptoms of ASD. He was “normal” for me and acting like a regular, active, and playful child. What I failed to see was that he had a condition and that he needed help.
The teachers in Kindergarten were telling me before that he was too hyperactive. He was also inattentive in class according to his playschool teacher and lacked focus too. His Nursery teacher said to me last time that whenever someone passed by their classroom, he would leave his seat or whatever activity he did and go outside to follow the person who caught his attention. For them, this wasn’t normal behavior.
Back then, I asked them, “So, what is normal?” They said that while they are teachers for toddlers, they are not experts in clinically ascertaining neurodevelopment delays or special needs learners. What they have is a course on seeing the signs and symptoms of behavioral disorders in children, and that is all.
The school psychometrician, who has more knowledge on these matters, evaluated my son, and she also told me the same thing. “Ms. Carter, I recommend that you send Michael to a neurodevelopmental pediatrician for proper assessment and testing. With my specialization and studies, I believe, he has a developmental condition. As to the extent of that condition, or the levels of what he has at the moment, I cannot be sure. A doctor in that field will be able to provide the soundest medical assessment and diagnosis of Michael.” She handed me a list. “Here are the best neurodevelopmental pediatricians in the state. If you need help with the scheduling of appointments with Dr. Smith, tell me. I may be able to squeeze in Michael for an earlier meeting. He is my cousin, and that is if you want to go with him to Michael’s testing.”
Of course, I went with Dr. Smith since everyone in the school recommended him. And yes, I asked help from the psychometrician for a schedule, and so, the appointment which was supposed to be in 4 months was lessened to 3 months. That’s how jam-packed neurodevelopmental pediatricians were in our state.
I don’t mind the doctor telling me that my son has this autism disorder or this hyperactive behavior. That’s not my point at all – I don’t care about that. He can be a super and extremely hyperactive or lacking focus during class. My son is my son, and I love him. I will support and care for him, as long as he needs me to do it for him; even more when he can’t function as well as he can in this world, like how his teachers were telling me back then. I am his mother, and I will do anything for him.
And so, my son was assessed and no surprises there, he has ASD and luckily, one of the high functioning ones. He just needed treatment, which I submitted my son to go for the past five years.
Is he better now? I believe that he is because his OT has told me that next week will be his last therapy session. His symptoms are getting less since he knows how to cope and manage it on his own. Therapy is not anymore necessary with him at this point.
As a mother, I feel that I have done the right thing with him, and I will continue to have his back because that’s just how it is with our family.