Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Son Has Asperger's

After meetings with school specialists, many observations, and a lot of imput, Reagan has received the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. I always knew he was different. So was I at his age (or now even). He is sweet, quirky, a little clumsy with social graces, but genuinely affectionate and genial. I was a bit dumbfounded by the final diagnosis and yet, I know that it's correct.

At the same time, I have noticed that Ciaran is not developing the way I would expect him to. He often doesn't respond to his name, or any sitmuli at all if he is engaged in something. His verbal communication is virtually non-existent and his non verbal communication is minimal. He's active, and social within his family to some degree, but something is wrong and Dominic and I both know it. He has an evaluation on the 19th for his speech development, and I expect that we will be offered services through the school district. If I'm honest with myself I expect that I will receive a diagnosis that also puts him on the autism spectrum, like his older brother.

My emotions are mixed. No diagnosis changes who my child is. And I'm so lucky. My children are here, alive, and healthy. These diagnoses aren't terminal. There is so much that can be done to make their lives easier and that's what the official diagnosis offers us: tools. At the same time, I think about how challenging life will be for them and am slightly overwhelmed by the duty placed on Dominic and me to meet their needs. Even more, they need parents who measure up and get it right. I don't want to fail them.

I picked up two books this evening. One about early signs and treatment for autism and one about helping your child with Asperger's. I have them in front of me and I want to read them but a part of me also want to return them. While reading and learning about something has always been helpful for me there is still that part of me who wants to stick her fingers in her ears, close her eyes tightly, and wish it all away. I won't do that, mind you, as the autodidact side is much stronger, but it is there.

I suppose in the end this is just another set of scenery for our life path and it really is a relief to understand why Reagan does some of the things he does. But I won't pretend that I'm not having some difficulty with it. Even if it is irrational.

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