I remember the morning of his appointment. I was in a frenzy trying to get my camera bag packed and Cohens diaper bag at the same time. Shoving diapers in my lens pockets. Stopping to laugh at myself then tossing memory cards in bottle slots. The morning wasn’t fluid. Shane and I have our kids down to a science. Borderline mathematical. Cohen and Shane and Kailyn were on their way to Cohens behavioral therapist appointment, and I was off to shoot a Bridal Shower. I set my phone up on FaceTime with Shane and the meeting began.
I asked questions but she asked more. More and more. There was a lot of writing also, that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. Record that shit I talk fast… her hand looks undoubtedly sore and I have just begun. Shane chimed in several times and I assure you this was no easy thing for my inward husband. As I pulled up to my shoot we had our answer. Due to the fact that our Cohen was over 20 months and still not a talker, obsessive over wheels, aggressive when something is removed or the activity changes without warning, lack of acknowledgment of others feelings, and well I’m going to stop. Cohen was diagnosed a high functioning child with Autism.
There you have it. A diagnosis. An explanation. An answer.
Now, before I explain what I see. PLEASE keep an open mind because to us he is perfect. If you are not a parent to a child living with Autism you’re opinion is not wanted, warranted or going to change my views on him. I am sharing our journey through this because well, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism. Not one case of autism is the same. There are many different trials and many different strengths. If you are confused at all or are unaware please follow this LINK .
Here is Cohen’s diagnosis;
Parent Concern: his aggression and lack of vocabulary
Communication: limited words, says mama, dada, boat, water, bye, rara (sister), knows 2 body parts smiles and laughs or claps, follows an instruction to get blankie, pachi, throws away diapers, sometimes points at what he wants, grabs parents hands leads them to things.
Play: Cohen likes playing with cats and book and will bring them close in to examine them, gathers, carries around small items, tends to play “his way”, doesn’t like to play with sister, but stands at her door and tries to climb over gate.
Social: Minimal interest in peers, eye contact is not great but mother is trying to work on that- is up to 3 seconds, will frequently show parents toys, responds to name 25% of the time.
Interests/fears: loves his blankie, likes music, trains, cars, skateboard, studies how the wheels moves up close
Sensory Issues: may have high pain tolerance, prefers his favorite blankie, overwhelmed in crowded/loud areas, hides on couch when mother vacuums.
Repetitive or Stereotypes behaviors: repeats sounds, wants to watch the same movie over and over, slides at least 25 times in a row, wants same books, wants to brush teeth again and again, runs in laps and runs in circles.
Rituals/Adaptability to Change: struggles with changing from bath to bed, likes routines, if there are changes in routine he can be disruptive, eats a variety of food.
Safety: gets aggressive, runs away, even at the beach, bangs head on concrete or near bye surfaces.
Mood/Tantrums: hurts himself when he gets upset, can be unclear to why he is upset sometimes,
Strengths: can be enthusiastic, loves his family
ASSESSMENT: Cohen A Seal is a 21 month old male who shows strength in showing eye contact and socialization and some social interest in his family members. He is usually able to communicate his needs with his family who are warm and responsive to him. He eats and sleeps well. He enjoys books. He has a relative weakness in social reciprocity, lacks interest in peers, has frequent repetitive behaviors (elopement, hitting, biting, throwing objects, and hitting his own head or hard surfaces). I am concerned that the early onset of these repetitive behaviors along with other criteria will worsen over time if not given intervention sooner than later.
I snapped at Shane via FaceTime for asking her again what this meant, “Our son is Autistic SHANE”. I don’t know if it was because hearing it once was enough for me or that if I heard it twice it was more real. I’m ok now and so is Shane. We have our grown up panties (manties) on and are about to embark on this wild ride of trying to understand what is next for us and Cohen. I do offer any insight from other parent whos children live with Autism. Feel FREE to email ME.
Because this is so fresh and we are doing everything in our power to find our perfect fit for ABA, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy we are in a time of educating ourselves. We are asking for not only our family to respect our feelings but complete strangers as well to respect us as parents. You may see my son beating the shit out of me, but I see a little boy terrified and begging to be held and consoled. You may hear my son screaming or making noises you haven’t heard before, I hear tones of new words that may roll out of his mouth. You may see bruises on my body but I see times where I could have done things different to better the outcome or prevented it to begin with. Our lives are different and if you see us DON’T stare. We are on a different road than you and if your staring I don’t want to share that road. We are going to move on and forward with love.
“life is not life without love”- Gage Seal