My son was given a tentative diagnosis of autism in November, by the developmental pediatrician in charge of the ASD clinic at our local center for disability services. The dr. decided he wanted Z to go through a formal ASD evaluation which includes the ADOS, a SLP evaluation, an OT evaluation and a play-based evaluation, in addition to my son meeting with the doctor again.
*FYI- For those that don't know, that's Z in my header, this was taken 2 years ago. He's the one wearing the Spiderman Viper costume with the legs tucked into his cowboy boots. At his sister's gymnastics class. Note the WIDE, OPEN SPACE all around him. And the way that everyone is acting like, oh, that kid? I actually hadn't even NOTICED he: 1. was there 2. was wearing a costume 3. has worn this costume to the last five weeks of gymnastics practice.*
His evaluation is in two weeks, and my child has no idea he has this tentative diagnosis. Had. He had no idea. Until tonight.
See, I've been stressing over how to break it to him, sincerely believing he would freak out. Because he freaks out when we go through the car wash, or if the toilet is to loud. But I knew I'd have to discuss it with him at some point, and tonight he seemed relaxed enough to broach the subject. It went nothing like I thought it would.
Me: "Hey, Z? Can I ask you a question?"
Me: "Do you ever feel like you just don't know what people are talking about, or you don't know what they want from you? Or do you feel like you don't know how to make friends?"
Me: "Huh! Well, would you like to find out why you're having these problems?"
Z: "No, not really."
Me: "You don't?"
Z: "Nope. I'm good."
Me: "*sigh*.......Hey! Do you remember Dan Ackroyd? That guy who wrote Ghostbusters and Dragnet? Did you know he has autism?"
Z: "He does?"
Me: "Yeah! And he's totally cool, isn't he?!"
Me: "Well, how would you feel if somebody told you that you had autism?"
Z: "Um, I don't.....can we talk about this later? This is my favorite show that's on right now." (Adventure Time. A show obviously created and written by people taking massive amounts of hallucinogenic drugs.)
Me: "Well, just tell me. Would you be upset?"
Z: "No! Of course not! Oh, shhhh! This is the best part of the show!"
Z: "Wait, why? Do I have autism?"
Me: "Well, the dr. thought you might, but he wants to be sure. So you're having an evaluation in a week to find out."
Z: "Oh, ok."
Me: "So you're ok with all of this? I mean, no matter what, you're still the same awesome Z, right?"
Z: "Of course I am! I'm still me and I.....oh, wait. This is a new episode. I don't mean to be rude, but can we talk about this later?"
My kid is totally awesome.