Embracing Autism and Finding Our Way to Normal


I am not one to complain, but it is really hard to have something wrong with your child and not be able to fix it!  Damien started his life with a complete

family but when he was only 3 years old,  I decided to go through with a divorce.  Now a single mom, with a young child, we set off on our new life not realizing it would bring us to a new father figure that has embraced everything with open arms and without grudges.  It takes a special man to be a step-father to a special needs child.

When my son was a toddler I called him a "quirky kid".  He did strange things like licking himself and others, rubbing his lips, high pitched squealing, sweating severely while sleeping, obsessing over buttons, reciting commercials out of the blue, bopping his head lighting on a wall, and jerking his neck.  These things did not really worry us until Damien became school age, and then the behavior issues began.  Damien first entered school while living in Mesa, Arizona.  They saw some behavior issues and started working with him, but we never thought anything medically was wrong.  Then we up rooted the family to move back to the East Coast and landed in Alabama, boy was that a change!  His new school was able to see what we were so used to seeing and pinpoint the issue but were not willing to work with him on his behavior.  We finally decided to home school.  

We would find out when Damien turned 5 that most of his "quirks" could be explained by Tourette Syndrome.  We started medication and seeing all different kinds of specialists, but as parents we knew something was still missing.  We found a specialist in the near by state of Georgia, Dr. Steven Berger, a neuropsychologist.  We spent 2 days testing to find out exactly everything that could be wrong with Damien.  At the end, we came out with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, form of autism), Tourette Syndrome (motor and vocal tic disorder), dysgraphia (neurological disorder dealing with the function of writing), generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive symptoms, ADHD, and weaknesses in executive functioning along with sensory processing disorder (SPD).  We of course went through the mourning process as parents.  We had all these dreams we wanted for our child, but now how will he be able to do those things if he was not "normal"?  

But by embracing his developmental and neurological disorders we can find our way to normal!



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