The continuing story….yes I know I stopped writing for a while, I have my reasons.
E was a wonderful boy. He was smiley and quick to meet physical challenges. He wasn’t talking yet, but it didn’t seem strange at first. Boys tend to talk later than girls. Also when infants concentrate on one skill set, such as large motor, they get slightly delayed in other aspects of development. Since E was all about walking and climbing, I just didn’t worry about his language.
However as time went by, it was clear that he might have an issue. It wasn’t just that he wasn’t talking, but he wasn’t making sounds. Before E turned 1, I had heard noises cooing, and attempt at sounds, but after he turned one, nothing. My house was silent.
At a checkup at the pediatrician, E’s lack of speech was brought to light. An evaluation for development delay was suggested and scheduled. My mommy senses began to tingle. One of the known signs of Autism is losing a skill. He was making some sounds, and then nothing. You start to question everything. I tried to remain calm. My happy smiley son didn’t seem to have major issues, he was just quiet.
The first evaluation we did was a nightmare. It was done in one of the exam rooms in the doctors’ office. E was scared from the moment the door closed behind us. He shut down fairly soon into the process. I knew the results would be troubling, but I also knew that the evaluation wasn’t a true picture of my child.
I remember we went on vacation trekking across the midwest to visit family. We were eating with old friends at Imo’s near St.Louis when I got a call to schedule E for a fuller evaluation and recommendation for therapies. I took the call in the bathroom and it was a little daunting. There wasn’t enough information yet for me to really worry, but I wasn’t calm either.
The internet is a dangerous tool in the hands of a paranoid parent. E was young and had some warning signs for Autism. I tried to talk to some of the neighborhood moms. They all wanted to be reassuring, and thought E looked like a healthy happy child to them. All I could see was a quiet child who shied away from others. From E, there was only silence.
What the phone conversation in Imo’s laid out was E was being referred to an organization known as the CDSA . CDSA stands for Childrens Development Services Agency. Its a branch of the Department of Public Health and the agency in charge of the state Infant and Toddler Program. They are dedicated in catching development delays and providing appropriate therapies. I had just stepped into a system. It was my turn to be silent. I was stunned by it all.
For more information about CDSA: http://www.beearly.nc.gov