As expected, my last post (which, if you haven't read it yet, please go here and read it first!) has created quite the buzz. I have been blown away by the outpouring of support and love. Thank you so much, my dear friends.
There have also been plenty of statements and questions. Some of which I anticipated...some others, not so much. So I'm going ahead and answering some of the main things I've been asked, because I'm sure some people are wondering the same things but don't want to ask me.
The first question, which is completely reasonable and I 100% expected-" How do you know?"
Yes, he's only 14 months old. Yes, I know that 14 month olds are too young to be diagnosed. But trust me, I know what I'm talking about here. If there is one thing that I know after 2 kids on the spectrum, it's the warning signs and red flags. And there are an abundance of them, bright and red and staring us in the face. SOME of these things are still within the range of "normal", but the string of them together is what leads us to be sure. Just a quick list of things we are seeing (or not seeing):
-Does not respond to name
-Only says "mama" and "dada"
-Wants to be held 24/7. Cries a LOT otherwise.
Ok, that's enough to make the point....I'm getting bummed out by that list, I'm moving on...
"Are you sure you're not just paranoid? Because of the other two?"
I really, really wish that were it. I've discussed this child, at length, with several professionals. I begged them to tell me that I'm crazy. They spent a bit of time with him. They told me they can't tell me he is fine. They can't tell me that I'm wrong. This isn't in my head. I mean, I'm kind of crazy, but that has nothing to do with this.
"What are you going to do?"
I don't know. The best we can, with what we have. We're gonna love him and fight for him to receive therapy that he needs and deserves. And we're gonna kiss him and cuddle him. A lot.
"Is there anything I can do?"
A few amazing people have started a donation fund for his therapy. I'm still in shock about that. I won't post it here, but you can ask me about it. Other than that? Pray. For Vlad, for Diva Girl, for Rascal, for all of us. We need it.
"Does this mean you're done having kids?"
Honestly? Not an appropriate question, folks. Better phrased than that lady who said "They're gonna start handing you some condoms, or birth control or something!" But still....if I feel like discussing my reproductive decisions with you, I will. I'm actually pretty much an open book about it. Just don't ask me and I might tell you!
"So, do you think it's genetic?"
Well, we're three for three here. I'm not saying that in every case of autism, ever, it was 100% genetics, but clearly we've got something going on with our genetics. However...while all three kids are on the spectrum, Diva Girl has a very distinct diagnosis that makes all this interesting. I've been told that we are the only known family with a child diagnosed with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder AND a child diagnosed with Autism. We have no idea what that means.
"Are you devastated/sad/shocked/freaking out?"
Sometimes. And sometimes I'm surprised by how calm I feel and how little I've cried. Like I said in my previous post, this is a journey. And while I've done this before, it is still just the beginning of the journey with Vlad. I think there are many things I have not yet allowed myself to feel, because I'm just not ready yet. There are other emotions that I may never feel, because I have learned from the other two. My kids are amazing you guys. They are bright lights in a dreary world, they are honest and beautiful and I love them like crazy. I just can't bring myself to be in despair about this. But I have my moments.
I think that about covers the most common ones. I'm laying it all out there for you guys. I don't really mind answering questions, it's natural for people to ask them. The non-rude questions, at least.
I had one freak out moment last night where I thought
What if I just told the whole world that he is on the spectrum and it turns out that he is just fine? What if in the next two months he completely catches up? I will feel horrible and stupid for telling everyone he has autism!
When I talked to The Husband about it, he pointed out that in the 14 months that Vlad has been alive, he's been "behind" for half of it. As of right now, he is on the spectrum and we know it. So if he suddenly catches up by his evaluation in May, that would be a miracle.
If that happens, I will very joyfully announce it from the rooftops. I love a good miracle.