My husband and I had been losing sleep for months on end about our almost 2-year-old son, Landon. His development had seemed to not be following the norm. At first, we chalked it up to "every kid is different, he is learning on his own time." Which I whole-heartedly agree with. This eased our worries for a while, then it started to become more and more obvious to us that it was more than that.
As the months went on and his progress seemed little to none, we began to be more and more worried. The more we talked to people about our worries, the more we were told that he was fine and we had nothing to worry about. So the isolation and panic set in.
We decided that we would do something about it! We were really worried about the answers that we may get about our son. On the other hand, we had to know. We wanted to help him and the best-case scenario would be that it was all in our heads and we would be able to put our hearts at ease.
We went into our State's Early Intervention Services expecting to come out with just a speech delay and some monthly speech therapy services.
As soon as we walked in, the evaluators started to whisper amongst themselves about Landon. I immediately felt dizzy and the rest of the appointment was a blur.
"Your son is exhibiting many of the signs of Autism. We will start providing you services in the coming weeks and we recommend that you get on a waiting list to get him an official diagnosis. This will be a rough journey but he is so little and will do great if you do everything you can."
I walked out of that office with my young son, having no idea what the future held.
The Weeks After
After we found out this news, we had so many emotions and questions. We had no idea that Landon would need 20+ hours of ABA Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. We did not know that our lives would revolve around Autism and therapy. We did not know ANYTHING! I think that is where our greatest sorrow and relief were centered in. On the one hand, we were distraught over all the unknowns about our son that we never dreamt we would have. On the other hand, we could learn how to help him and feel more connected in his own way! Something we been craving as his parents.
We received an official diagnosis for our son which opened up so many doors. We lived in a rural area where the several therapies that Landon needs were not offered. So we put our house on the market and moved back into Henderson.
So much of life changes in such a short amount of time. We have another son just 15 months younger than Landon and things he was starting to do naturally, did not come naturally to Landon. This made it even more real that Landon just learned differently and needed extra help on certain things.
A few months after our diagnosis, Landon started receiving ABA therapy from a company that exceeds all of our expectations in every way. Our Autism journey was filled with miracles from the very beginning.
One Year Down, A Lifetime of Learning to Go!
Now here we are, almost a year since Landon's Autism diagnosis and our outlook is so much different.
Autism does not define our son or his future. It's just an amazing part about him that makes him able to see the world differently from the rest of us.
Therapy is fun and so helpful. While Autism has so many perks, it also comes with a lot of challenges. ABA, Speech, and OT have been so helpful and we have seen so many changes in Landon. He is able to communicate much more effectively, although we have so many hurdles left, he is head and shoulders above where he was. We are able to connect with him on a deeper level. We feel like we can communicate that we love him in a way that he understands. He also has been able to show us and even tell us he loves us and more of what he needs from us.
Having two boys so close in age, one on the Spectrum and one that is not, has been a challenge as well as a huge eye-opening blessing! They help and balance each other in so many ways. We wouldn't change one single thing about either of our sons.
Autism is a huge part of our life and we love it. Having a son with Autism has made us slow down and enjoy each and every moment, milestone, and memory. We don't take any point, word, gesture, etc. for granted. What comes so naturally to our other children, we have a full-blown dance party over when Landon gets it down!
Every day is filled with so many lows and so many highs. We are still learning day by day and some days we feel defeated. But we are doing it as a family and we are trying our dang best! That is all any family can do, right??
Anyone that is walking the Autism Parent path, you are not alone. Reach out and ask for help. You do not have to do any of this on your own. We can do this!