05 April 2008

What makes a person autistic? I understand that there are medical criteria, but these seem to be relatively subjective. I suppose someone could be on the more neurotypical end of the spectrum and be diagnosed by one qualified practitioner and not another.

Do you wonder if sometimes physicians feel pressured to give a diagnosis so that children can receive services through the public schools? This idea kept me from accepting Elf's diagnosis for some time. I told the pediatric specialist that I was SURE she was giving me the diagnosis for school, and that's great, but between you and me, what's *really* going on? I think she was insulted that I was questioning her judgment or might have thought she was lying to me.

But my end of the conversation didn't really take that into consideration. It was more like, this can't really be real. We can't really have more than one child on the spectrum. Nope. Not going to hear it because it doesn't compute. We have enough going on with poor G and getting him the services he needs. There must be some misunderstanding. Can we do the tests over, please?

Now baby J is 16 months old and does not speak. He squeals. He waves his hands about. He sticks his little tushie in the air and tries to stand on his head. He has a lot of behaviours that would be very large red flags were we to get him evaluated at the Childrens' Hospital. On the other hand, he makes eye contact. He takes turns making sounds, almost as if he were speaking to you. He points. He signs "please." Mind you, he signs "please" to everything. You could ask him if he wants a cookie, and he'll say "please." A bath? "Please." A big noogie and a kick in the pants? "Please." I think he's figured out he gets something if he says "please" in response to a question... usually some food. He likes food.

But we cannot, CANNOT have three children on the spectrum. Not when we have Emperor's "interesting" behaviours to contend with as well. Please, God, no.

G at this age was using several words. Yes, he banged his head. He had a lot of red flags in retrospect. But he also interacted with people and was quite social. It seems that as he ages, it's much more pronounced. It might have been acceptable at three to hide under the table when your day is not going well. At 13, your friends will notice something's up. One thing I'm surprised about is that G finds friends just fine. Unfortunately, my definition and his may be different. Lots of "friends" dare him to do things for entertainment, and guess who gets into trouble?

I think as "science" progresses, perhaps our definition of what an autistic person looks like changes. Our compassion and attempts at integration should NOT.


  1. Over here the doctors are pressured not to give a diagnosis, because it means more funding hsa to be spent.

    There are a few families out there with 3 children, there is another blogger with 6 autistic children!!

  2. I do think that sometimes they are pressured, but then other times I think that they could care less.
    We have a friend who's grandson definitely has it and they can't get help no matter how hard they try.
    Then our friends who have 2 that are autistic have all kinds of help. Very frustrating I am sure.

  3. I also wanted to say that reading your blog and doing the stanleys has let me kids see that kids with autism can be your friend and interact with you.
    Now what I mean is that they only know our friends kids, and they are little 4 and 2, and now matter how hard they try the little kids don't respond or make eye contact.
    So now they think maybe L and I might be able to be able to play with them later on when they get bigger. They always think about your boys when we see them.
    Your boys seem to do very well. And I applaud you for homeschooling them and putting so much of yourself into them and clearly loving them so much.


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