Today when I logged in at the office, these were the first two things that popped up in my feed:
Can Some Kids Outgrow Autism? Maybe. (via Babble)
Some With Autism Diagnosis Can Overcome Symptoms, Study Finds (via New York Times)
Then, I realized that I never posted about B’s recent developmental pediatrician appointment. To be fair, it was December and there was a whole lotta shit going on. You know, holiday parades and Santa and Winter Break.
At the beginning of December, B and I trudged over to Children’s to have our biannual appointment with his developmental pediatrician. Every June and December, we make the trek to make sure things are going, well, kinda sorta along the lines of what we should expect.
I hand off all the progress reports from his caregivers and try to remember everything that happened six months prior so that the doc can give a reasonable assessment on his progress. Since we don’t have a lot of time, most of the appointment is me making sure that the biggest events/milestones/concerns are covered.
B was extremely well behaved this time. Don’t you love when that happens? He brought his buses and gave the doc quite the overview of his busing schedule. Which number whent to this school, which one went to the other school, and all the others he counts on the morning drive. She didn’t seem surprised by his recurring obsession with buses.
She noted that he is still toe walking (have to work on the stretches) but his muscle tone is looking good. She mentioned to keep up physical activity as that seems to work his sensory and energy needs. His diet is definitely limited but she said that as long as we were attempting to give him healthy choices we were still ok.
She then said something that made me take pause.
She said that B could very well “fall off” the spectrum in the future. When, she could not say, but as time goes on, he is on track to “outgrow” his symptoms. This would leave SPD and ADHD (which we are working to diagnose) as his main issues.
Color me a little shocked.
I dare not say that once an autism diagnosis is revealed, that life is over as we know it. We all know that is not true. Indeed, there are a lot of challenges and hurdles but we manage to work through them. And we never give up.
But what happens when you “succeed”? Can you beat autism? Are you cured? Or is more like a quirk on your radar screen, mainly dormant as you go through life?
The first question I asked was, naturally, “but he IS on the spectrum right? Was he diagnosed properly?” Doc assured me that there was no mistaken diagnosis, and I instinctively know this. When I remember the past and what we’ve been through – I know that the correct diagnosis was made.
One of first things people say when I mention when B was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (June 2010) is, “wow, he was so YOUNG.” Yes, he was 2 1/2 years old (barely) when we got the news. However, if you knew us, you would have sensed that his actions and issues spoke volumes way before that date.
If he does fall off the spectrum, I know for certain it’s because of Early Intervention and getting that early diagnosis. Having that diagnosis gave us the starting point on how to face autism head-on. It’s why we worked on all these exercises and therapies. It gave me an avenue to seek help and support (hellllloooo Interwebz). It also gave the launching point to this blog.
Will he outgrow autism? I don’t know. Do I want him to? If it means that I lose who he is, then of course not. But I do want him to be able to function and thrive in society. And if that means that with our work he “falls off”, then I guess that’s what it will be.
But believe me, this is WAY DOWN the cracked bricked road. Right now, we have to keep reminding him not to stop walking on his tippy toes and to not whack a friend with a tambourine when they are not following the rules.
All in a life’s work, ya know?