Sometimes, when I look at my little V and listen to him babble incomprehensibly, sometimes even repeating the same babbling over and over again, I feel like he is actually saying something, that his babble actually entails some meaning in his own head. It even has the timbre of Icelandic, as his voice goes up and down at just the right places. It sounds like he is speaking. Sometimes, he even looks me directly in the eye, while using his hands as if he is trying to tell me something. The only thing missing are the actual words!
Recent statistics from the US show that 1 in every 110 children have autism. That is not a small number! Further, statistic over the past few years show that the number of cases are increasing – the odds are not getting any better. Thus it is important that people know the signs of autism in order to detect autism as soon as possible.
“V” she said for the 7th time, a little louder than before to try and get his attention. It wasn’t really working, he was very occupied with all the toys in the room and simply didn’t hear her. The physician looked at me and asked: “Is this normal form him? Is it common that he does not respond to his name?”. The sinking feeling became more profound and I nodded. Still, I felt like I had to give him something so I added: “But this is extra bad, it usually not this hard to get his attention. I guess it’s all the new toy that is distracting him”. Despite my excuses the sinking feeling no longer threatened to take over but comfortably settled into the armchair of my mind. The tiny sense of hope vanished and reality checked in again. I knew deep down inside that the outcome of this evaluation was not going to be good.
Almost a year ago, we heard the mention of autism in relation to our older son for the first time. It was merely one word in a long recitation of plausible things that a diagnosis process could lead to and out of those, autism was not at the top of our minds. It was also the first time since we moved to Denmark that our request for some extra support at the kindergarten was received positively. Soon after, an application for support was finalized and a few months later we got the news that JA had been granted 8 hours of support per week starting in August 2011. Although we had hoped for more support (the maximum support possible consists of 16 hours per week) we were glad that he would finally get some support. And what a difference it made!
For those of you who do not know, we currently live in Denmark where my husband and I are working on our graduate degrees. We moved here in the summer of 2010 and our original plan was to live here for a few years and not only finish our degrees but also gain some work experience in a foreign country. However, when the news of our son’s autism diagnosis struck, everything changed and suddenly our future plans were up in the air.