I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I went for that awful appointment at Children's Specialized. I think I cried for a week straight. Then I read about a dozen books on autism, in addition to officially getting my "Google Degree" on Autism.
I know I've said it before, but it just isn't clicking. I'm not an idiot, I pick things up pretty quickly and I comprehend what I'm reading. I'd venture to say that I'm pretty intelligent. I have a pretty good grasp on autism. It's still not clicking with me though, I just don't think it's what is happening to Neil. I don't know what else it could be, but I don't think it's Autism. I mean, it could just be a speech delay....no big fancy diagnosis, just a need for extra help in speech & OT. I've gotten more confident in my opinions too. When it comes down to it, nobody knows my baby like I do.
We met with the Transitional Planning people, these are the 3+ version of Early Intervention. They are out of the school district. I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised. Even at the meeting, I heard Neil talking to a few of them. They noted his demeanor change when the talking changed from easy chatting, to a demand. I know that's an issue, but it's not something unfixable.
I don't know if it's the insane amount of praying that I've been doing, but I think Neil's speech is actually improving. He's starting to get it a little better. Today in TJ Maxx we looked at the snowmen. I have made the mistake in the past of looking where he was looking, noting he was looking at snowmen and saying "oh, look at the Snowmen!" or something. Now I point, I've been making a conscious effort to point and say "Snowman" more simply. I think I was talking to him like an adult too much, which makes me feel like an idiot, but, hindsight..
Well, when it was time to move on, I took the snowman from him and put it back on the shelf and I said "ok, time to say bye bye to the snowman!....Bye Bye Snowman!" and waved. Neil did the same thing, he said "Bye Bye No-Man!"
Tonight, when tucking him in instead of giving him his binkie right away, I tried to get him to say it. I do this a lot, but not always depending on how maxed he/I am at the moment. He has said "Banbee" before for binkie, but it's usually after a while, like 3 min at least. This time I did it and I did an easy sign of putting my pointer finger to my mouth - I did it about 3 times, and he put his finger to his mouth just the same way. I gave him the Binkie right away. It felt good. I *really* needed these little signs of hope.
The people at the elementary school, where his preschool will be are actually very nice, educated and easy to talk to. I was very pleasantly surprised. They didn't treat me like I was lying to make Neil look better, or like I had no idea what anything meant. They asked a butt load of questions, worked with Neil a bit, observed his behavior. They picked up on things that I actually agree with.
And, I have to say I feel totally vindicated. After leaving the Speech & OT evaluation this afternoon, Neil & I went to get some shopping done in Target & TJ Maxx. We were in Target and strolling past the baby doll isle. We normally don't look twice at any isle that glows THAT pink, but as I was walking past I had a twinge of curiosity (remember the woman from Children's Specialized told me he was autistic because he didn't feed the baby doll) well, I grabbed one of the open baby doll boxes that had a "Try Me!" bottle that you could move and feed the baby doll with. I put it on the cart in front of Neil - he looked at it, grabbed the bottle and fed the baby. I was so happy haha. When we left the isle I said, ok, baby's going to go night night now, "Night Night baby!" and he said "Night Night!" as we were leaving. The store clerk was stacking boxes, and turned around to ask if I needed anything. I said "no thanks, my son was just saying goodnight to the baby dolls" ahh, how good it felt to say something like that! It's the little things, it really is.
Here's a current pic, for those of you who haven't seen him in a while: