After several failed titles for this post, I settled on something quite unimaginative. Last week, we went to see a developmental specialist regarding Lucas’ speech delay. It has been almost two months since our pediatrician told us that he was worried about Lucas’ lack of speech (to read all about that day, see this post) and since then, we have been to a follow up evaluation, a speech specialist, audiology for a hearing test, and finally to our developmental specialist.
The initial follow up was with our pediatrician, who further interviewed us about our son’s skills and habits. His test still came up with concerns for autism, so we were given an appointment with the pediatric sub specialities clinic. In the mean time, he put in a referral so we could be seen by a speech specialist. After that evaluation we were given a referral to speech therapy. I followed up on that referral and we have our consult in early December to asses his needs at a local speech center. I hope this means we can start therapy immediately after we come back from our holiday travels. Shortly after our appointment with the speech specialist, we were seen at audiology. They concluded that Lucas hears at a normal or near normal hearing level. Nothing there that should be inhibiting speech. Finally we had the appointment with the doctor who specializes in autism. She was amazing and we really trust her. She asked a ton of questions and had Lucas play with some toys to observe his eye contact. In the end, she says she wants to keep a close eye on his development and progress with speech therapy. She also put in a referral for us to start occupational therapy.
During our appointment with the developmental specialist, I was sure the doctor was going to take one look at Lucas and say that he’s totally fine and that we are just dealing with a speech delay, nothing more. I was so sure that he was just “normal.” And initially, that is the impression I got. But after a few answers caused some red flags to go up (she really seemed to hone in on his poor joint attention as well as his lack of eye contact), she looked at us and said, “I do see some signs of autism here, guys.” I couldn’t seem to make noise come out of my mouth after that. She said that there wasn’t enough evidence for an early diagnosis, AND that she never diagnoses a kid after just one meeting. He’s still SO young. But we will go back in six months so that she can see how far he’s come, especially after being in speech and occupational therapy. In the mean time, I’m slowly reading about autism and taking one day at a time. We have no diagnosis. We DO have a healthy child. A precocious son, who is ever active, gives the best hugs and kisses, and is predisposed to happiness. I’m just going to focus on that because at the end of the day, THAT is my reality and consequentially, my joy.