I had heard awful things about this doctor, and wonderful things about her. I feel bad for the people who had bad experiences, because she was good for us. She listened, paid attention to Jeremy, asked a lot of questions but never made it sound like there was something wrong with him.
Then she told me what I already knew, or suspected anyway.
She was asking me all about all these things and they weren’t like Jeremy…no, he doesn’t do that! Or that! No, he has a great imagination! Yes, he talks in a normal voice!
Maybe it isn’t that. Maybe she’s going to tell me-please, let her tell me-I worry too much. He’s a little different but he doesn’t have that.
But he does.
My son has autism. High-functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD, pick your label, folks, they’re all the same. Well, not really. Jeremy has Asperger’s Syndrome which is…what? A less severe form of autism, I guess you’d say. He has no speech delay, in fact in that area he’s always been above average. Same with his cognitive skills. The kid is brilliant. But he doesn’t get the social thing. He’s very literal. He will spin and spin and spin and not get dizzy.
He has autism.
I was prepared for this, had done research and felt that he probably had it. So why does it hurt so much to hear out loud what you already knew?
Because there is no going back now. There is no saying ‘It might be…’ or ‘He kinda acts like…’
I was cool yesterday. I told the doctor I was glad to know; now when people look at my son funny, glare at him as he’s lining up all the packs of gum in the checkout aisle or melting down because there’s construction in the mall and the sound of hammering hurts him: ‘Look, people, he has THIS. Here’s what it is.’ Yeah, if you can take the time to glare at my child, or to speak about his behavior because you don’t know, I’ll teach you. When you are done with me, you may be pissed, but you will know why this child acts this way. I was strong, in the doctor’s office. I saw Jeremy’s OT as we were leaving and I was less strong, then. She is a friend: ‘What a nice surprise!’ she said. I told her. She asked how I was. I told her I was going to go home, cry, throw up and then I’d be all right. She hugged me and I managed not to cry. She did too.
I didn’t cry on the way home. Almost, but not quite. I didn’t tell Jeremy’s father. I ddn’t tell the kids. I posted on the Yahoo group I’m part of, because I know my friends there will understand and I don’t have to actually talk about it. And there, I didn’t say much.
I made dinner. It was good. I folded laundry, gave Zac some cold medicine, called my brother. If talking to Bil didn’t help, I need to keep quiet for a while. It didn’t help.
So now it’s morning, and I think it’s OK. Sebastian goes to see this same doctor in October, and she wants to see Dylan too. We talked a little about the two older boys after I mentioned that Sebastian was going to be coming in, and she wants to send them to genetics since they all have something going on. I’m not sure about this. Will it involve needles? Dylan and Bash are terrified of them. Will I make them do it so that we can possibly learn how to help other kids? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If it turns out that the other boys have this same thing-and Dylan almost certainly does, and Sebastian has something going on-then I will be an invaluable resource to the children’s center. They will educate me as much as possible and I will be a great addition to the Family Support Network, which I already joined. But I don’t want this. Should we just disappear? Try Jeremy’s OT at home? I don’t want them to be Those Boys, us to be The Family With Three Autistic Boys. I just want them to be…not normal, but not different. Not different.
But they are, and they are wonderful and amazing, they are as perfect today as they were yesterday, Jeremy is still King Jeremy the Wicked with a wise and crazy sense of humor, and he’s OK.