Helping families dealing with autism spectrum disorders
Header image

Happy New Year

Posted by Patricia Harkins in Uncategorized

The year went by so quickly!  Our son graduated high school and did well in his first semester of community college.  My practice did well and is expanding.  We were all relatively healthy.  While 2011 was a pretty good year in our house, I know it was terribly difficult for many.  I empathize!  We had our difficult years as well.  Here’s to 2012 being a better year for everyone!

It is amazing how many people are connected to autism.  I went to a New Year’s party and met a couple with a 13 year old recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.  He had previously been diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  Like so many families, they are lost.  The diagnosis itself doesn’t give you a roadmap or directions, just a label.  Now they have 13 years of misunderstanding, medication problems, and family impact to repair.  Despite the explosion in information about autism, there are still many providers who do not think about it, and therefore don’t diagnose it when faced with an intelligent, high functioning person on the spectrum.  The next morning, our host mentioned her grandson being diagnosed, and needing a counselor.  It seems everywhere I go, when I mention what I do, someone has a connection to autism and needs advise.  

The good news is when kids get diagnosed early and get the information they need, most do very well.  Last Thursday, I saw about 10 kids in follow-up.  They had all been diagnosed about 3 to 5 years ago.  All but one were doing very well.  They were in general education classes, language was developing well, and they were improving socially.  Several had friends, and most were on grade level academically.  This is what early diagnosis and intervention get you!  So many TV shows paint such a dismal view of life with autism, it’s depressing.  While there were many difficult times, all our hard work and interventions have paid off.   

One family last week was dealing with receiving the diagnosis.  They thought their son’s progress was very slow, yet he had really taken off since starting therapies.  The early years can feel like you are walking through molasses.  Believe me, a lot of changes happen inside that little brain once intervention begins.  Once they start to make progress, it keeps getting faster.  Unfortunately, there will always be the few kids whose progress is minimal.  But the vast majority take off and make progress with intervention.  Keep a diary, and go back and read the early entries every New Year’s Day.  You will be amazed at the progress from year to year.  Happy New Year to each and every one of you.      


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response

  • Jeff S says:

    Touchdown! Every new ability or milestone our son displays is called a “touchdown”. Not in front of our son but we actually raise our arms and say “touchdown”. The first time our son lied was a touchdown moment. The first time school called and he did not start the fight was a touchdown moment. Celebrate your touchdown moments. The next touchdown it will be here soon. Peace