My Son is Autistic

My daughter may be as well. I feel like when you have children you operate on a hope ethos that it stronger than the one we empowered in Election season 2008. I see my husband’s hope eclipsing any of his concerns about his daughter’s health. I feel like I have to be hopeful, again, for his sake.

My eldest son is not my husband’s biological child. Therefore, he was not around to watch my son miss the same “milestones” my daughter is now missing. For me, the resemblance is uncanny. I remember this all too well. The other day my son asked me something that I have already forgotten. I remember my answer to him was, “dude I have three children, I don’t remember facts like that.” Whatever it was it was something genuinely trivial. I DO remember however that when he was my daughters age, he wasn’t talking either and he had the same difficulty repeating sounds and had the same stranger anxiety, etc.

When my son was a little older than my daughter, I wanted to have him evaluated. I filled out the Parent evaluations, sent them in, and took the Teacher evaluation to his day care. Ms. Marie, who was positively enamored by my son, thought I was crazy! Thought there was no way anything was “wrong” with him and therefore she changed my mind. Or should I say, she prolonged my hope. As my little black boy child grew he always had one thing in his favor. He is NEVER a disciplinary problem in school. He has mastered the art of staying below the radar and in overcrowded, inner city public schools black boys who are not making waves, make the grade. Adding fuel to the hope you already have, teachers will tell you, “well you know boys . . . ,” and/or “give him time. . . ”

I hope that my children, despite whatever difficulties they may face along the way, grow to live healthy lives overall. I pray that they feel encouraged to surpass any obstacle and generally encourage them to meet and exceed the expectations of others, as well as themselves. I know that a parent’s life is not easy and as always, I HOPE I am doing the right thing.

6 thoughts on “My Son is Autistic

  1. My 10 yr old son has Aspergers. He was diagnosed last year at 9. I’m in a similar position: 3 kids, my oldest fathered not by my husband… For us, the last year has been about working though the denial. We had 3 opinions done… and we’ve had to really school some family members. Now we are just starting to integrate ourselves into the Autism community. I highly recommend doing this! It’s changing our lives for the better.

    Pay attention to your gut instincts. For years, I kept telling my husband that my son was just “different” and therefore needed a different approach to learning/interacting/disciplining…at the time, I didn’t know why, but I knew that much. it won’t hurt to have your daughter evaluated. It might be scary… but knowing early can make a world of difference.

    Its been really difficult for my husband to accept what having a son w/aspergers means… but we take it one step at a time. This is a long, hard road… but they are worth every single minute of it!!!

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  2. Wow! It is awesome to hear from you and thanks for sharing back. It can be very difficult managing family members, particularly because I feel like Autism is popular/Oprahesque enough now that everyone thinks they are qualified enough to diagnose it.

    They are so worth all of this!!! However, sometimes I’m like, “o.k. so what is next”? I’m taking him to specialists and sooner or later will get some school accommodations but WAY short of having 50K a year to pay for the private school he needs, which apparently he would not test into anyway, I’m kind of like what CAN/DO I do now?

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  3. My 4yr old nephew has autism as well. We were unsure in the beginning, because he didn’t have some of the signs. He started talking early, then suddenly stopped. (he doesn’t have stranger anxiety and flirts with ladies) We were thinking that he would start talking but the last couple of years he has had very little growth verbally. Now he sees a speech therapist as well receives special education.

    I say do not give up hope.

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  4. My daughter HFA. We’ve known for a long time and got the official diagnosis when she was about 7. She’s 12 now, in a mainstream school, and still receiving help. It took YEARS to get my family on board because she is on a different end of the spectrum from my cousin so to them she couldn’t possibly be autistic.

    You need to get your son tested, and get him the help he needs. Some need special schools usually the more severe others just need extra help. There are people in the autism community who range all over the map because no 2 children on the spectrum are the same but there are a lot of resources out there, and a not of information that may or may not be helpful to you, but don’t ignore it.

    Find a parental support group, get through the specialists visits. I know how it is i still remember all the people we saw and all the people we are seeing now. and yes its expensive but our children deserve the care available to them.

    Don’t let anyone who didnt go to medical school tell you there’s no way, people think they ‘know’ all the time and if your child isn’t like Rainman their convinced thats not it. The way the black and white communities handle this are extremely different. It amazes me just how the attitudes, the care level, the understands varies.

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    1. Hi Kia – I’m writing my PhD dissertation on how parents of different racial backgrounds manage their child’s special education diagnoses. You mentioned that you think black and white communities “handle this …extremely different.” Can you say more about that?

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      1. They Do and its startling to say the least. Many black families tend to either brush off diagnosises and missed milestones, incorrectly label issues as behavioral problems (which yes schools tend to reinforce) and rely entirely too much on the idea that strong handed discipline and prayer can fix things. Late diagnosis and acceptance are detrimental to the child. There is a surprisingly large amount of help available via early intervention. As children age the services offered get fewer and costlier and tend to require much more private services. If and when black families tend to believe, they spend more time forcing on finding a cure.

        White communities, are all about figuring out what’s wrong. They are advocates, always searching and researching, they are more focused on and frequently more willing to seeking help. They don’t look to cure, they look to cope. One things all races seem to have in common is getting the family on board.

        These are just my observations as a parent of a daughter on the spectrum. I am often the only black mom in support groups, at school resource meetings, on listservs etc. These groups are mostly women because getting husbands on board is a feat in itself, the children are frequently young Caucasian boys, throw in a girl here in there, because most girls don’t have classical autism markers, and it frequently goes undetected.

        Its just a different atmosphere. I have a lot to get out I just don’t frequently do it. Its been 6 years since we got the official diagnosis and only half of my family even acknowledges she’s autistic. My ex’s family on the other hand (who are white) are much more accepting.

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