Friday, February 25, 2011

Autism?

Mikan visited a developmental pediatrician on Wednesday. We are trying to figure out if Mikan's delays are due to his prematurity, his poor vision, his sensory issues, his cerebral palsy, his little exposure to peer socialization thus far, or if he may be on the autism spectrum. The doctor agreed that because he has so many variables to possibly explain some of his questionable symptoms (fleeting eye contact, lack of imaginative play, not sharing his attention with us enough, etc.), it would be unwise to diagnose him at this time. She wants to give him a few months in school and reevaluate with a psychologist. However, she did say that if he didn't have the medical history, vision problems, or sensory processing disorder, his behaviors are definitive enough to place him on the autism spectrum. If he is diagnosed, it would be a provisional diagnosis until he is 5 or 6, and he would be reevaluated to see if the label is still accurate.

We are optimistic that his symptoms are mild enough to be treated early. We've just been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. We've been told for the last few years by several doctors that there wasn't any reason not to believe Mikan would outgrow all of the delays caused by prematurity. This seemed miraculous given his beginnings, but we believed it with each piece of progress he's made. In the last two weeks, we've discovered that he not only has cerebral palsy, which will need to be monitored carefully for the next several years (requiring additional bracing, and possibly botox injections, surgery, and casting), but that he may also be on the autism spectrum. Mikan engages us a lot, and doesn't fit our typical picture of an autistic child, so we are trying to implement therapies to help him with socialization.

I really thought his schedule would slow down as he got older, but everything is getting more intense. Beginning in March, Mikan will go to a clinic to receive OT twice a week, ST twice a week, and PT once a week. He will also be attending preschool. The developmental pediatrician also wants his hearing tested and a repeat sleep study done since his last results were abnormal (with a capped trach). More testing. Deep breath. Whatever God has in store for us, we'll embrace.

4 comments:

DevonLeah said...

You are really dealing with a lot. God has a special plan for Mikan, as u already know and yall r doing a great job. Sometimes it feels like things get so overwhelming and everything comes at once....
Yes, deep breath! =) Hugs!

Kara @ Just1Step said...

So sorry you're going through all this. I'm sure it's even harder now with another little one at home. Will keep you guys in my prayers!
~Kara

caelea said...

J and J, I've been following your blog since Mikan was born, and I have to say that your journey is a miracle and an inspiration to me. Mikan has overcome so many challenges and he has the support of two of the best, coolest, most caring parents out there. If a doctor is suggesting that he is exhibiting signs/behaviors of autism, then this is just another hurdle in his development that he will overcome. I know God is going to take care of you and him. I'm praying for you and sending you thoughts of encouragement...even if it's just via the internet.

Jennifer said...

He doesn't fit your idea of a typical "Autistic child" because there isn't one. :) Further, he will not BE an Autistic child, he will BE Mikan forever and always. Early intervention and two amazing parents are yet another reason that it is difficult for one to "see" spectrum like behaviors. This is a good thing. Always, always, always remember....Mikan is Mikan whether he has Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Asthma, Diabetes, allergies etc....he is ALWAYS Mikan first. I am always here for your family should you need reminding of that. :)