8

Final Diagnosis Appointment.

When I got the letter through the door with the date for Dylan’s final part of his diagnosis I was overwhelmed with emotions. I cried instantly, with happiness that we finally had got a date after waiting all this time, with dread about it being final and what ifs. Thankfully it was for the next week so I didn’t have too long to wait with all these emotions flying around in my head.

I had asked on a local autism group on Facebook about what I should expect as I was pretty clueless to what would happen and wanted to at least be a little bit prepared, and I’m so glad I did ask. I was told what to expect and that the place I was going to was pretty run down and when we pulled up to it I couldn’t believe quite how run down it was. We managed to get parked in the car park which had very few spaces with the majority full and had a little pep talk about how it would be OK whatever happened.

Before we got into the building Dylan was already pretty unsettled and I was worried as had heard from a few friends that if your child isn’t compliant they will rearrange another date for you to come up and get them seen again, which obviously I really didn’t want to happen.
We were met by two lovely ladies who showed us to a waiting room which had a few toys in, typically all the ones Dylan picked up or showed a little interest in didn’t have working batteries in so this annoyed him more and me. I thought they would have ensured that the majority did have batteries considering that they are fully aware of the children who come to the clinic sometimes have a low-level of understanding. Anyway..

After waiting for about 5 minutes they came and got us and told us they would take Dylan into a room which we could see into through a 2 way mirror but that if he wouldn’t settle for them they would get me to come into the room with them and see if it helped. While we sat and watched they tried to get Dylan to engage in play with a shape sorter and some sensory toys but he just kept putting them back where they came from and was getting more and more wound up, until they got a pop up toy out. He loves pop up toys so this settled him a little bit until they tried to take it away and he just kept hugging it close to himselfย  and throwing away any other toys they offered him. They then asked me to come in to see if this would help settle him after having him in for 5 minutes, I looked at Ad and said I think we will have to come back..

I went in and he climbed onto my lap and was still pretty distressed by everything that was going on, one of the ladies even tried to tempt him with Play-Doh which is usually one of his favourite things but he just got madder. I had been in the room less than ten minutes and she said, “we have enough evidence now, if you want to go back out and wait” I was shocked but also super pleased that despite him not playing ball they managed to get all the information they needed and in such a short amount of time.

He was not for settling after all that had just happened and being pushed to try to settle, but the ladies came back in quickly enough and told us that they had enough evidence today to give Dylan an autism diagnosis, after this Ad took Dylan out of the room to try and calm him and so that I could chat to her and hear all the information she had to offer.

They offered for us to come back to chat without Dylan but we decided it was best if they told me then pass the information on because let’s be honest the place was a 45 min drive away, I don’t know anyone I could leave Dylan with for that length of time.

They have referred us to get support from others, are going to provide us with a few courses to go on so that we can learn as much as possible about everything that is going on and will send the report out with all the information about what they had found today in approx 6 weeks.
We then headed back to the car and Dylan calmed down when he was back in a familiar place safe in his car seat.

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8

Autism Assessment – Stage 2

Stage 1 of the autism assessment is where you are seen by a pediatrician who then refers you on to the next stage if they agree with the concerns and think that an autism diagnosis is necessary.
We got referred to stage two the third week of December which was when Dylan turned three. Unfortunately they cannot refer you to stage two until the child is three, which has made this a very long and drawn out process for us because Dylan’s autism has been so obvious since a very young age. Thankfully though for the stage two we only had to wait a few weeks.
I had heard about the stage two assessment from other people who had already done it and I was very nervous, I was expecting to leave in tears.
Basically its a parent only interview to get as much information about your child from birth to now. All the milestones they hit and which ones they struggled to reach or have yet to reach.

When we went in and as we were sitting waiting I was getting so anxious, and was really worrying about Dylan. When you go to this appointment you are not allowed to bring your child with you so I really struggled leaving Dylan. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have left him with someone bar my husband.
After a few comments made after we got back, I wont be leaving him with them again.

A lady then came to get us from the waiting room and she was very friendly and calming. She told us all about what would be happening and why we were there etc and asked us if we were happy to start and away we went.
At the start she asked us a lot about how Dylan was as a baby, how was the pregnancy, birth, what was he like, did he sleep well, did he hit his milestones for walking, smiling, laughing and what was he like when we weaned him. As I was answering them I was thinking to myself how obvious it was even from such a young age that Dylan was autistic, he smiled & laughed very late, weaning was hell food it still a huge issue with Dylan, I can’t remember how he slept.. but I think it was ok..I can’t remember being too exhausted? (haha!)
She then went on to ask us about how he is now, how he communicates, copes with change, diet, behaviour, friendships, understanding, dislikes and all that type of thing and after all the questions about his struggles etc. and then to end the bit about his development she then asked about his strengths too and his like.
I’ll not answer these all for you.. otherwise this blog post will end up extremely long.
Obviously it isn’t easy at all especially on the mind and your mental state to be constantly thinking about all of the negative things, what your child cannot do and what they really struggle with but I think that I now know that you have to give all this information and think about it that I have grown a little harder shell when being asked and I just answer it the best I can because I know I have too to ensure that he gets the help and care he requires and deserves.

She then asks about your mental health and if anyone in your family has any mental health issues, diagnosis etc and then after that she just has a little chat.
She told us that usually they ask how you will feel if your child does not get a diagnosis but she said that she wouldn’t bother asking us that questions because it is very obvious that he is autistic. She asked us how we think we will feel when we do get the official diagnosis and I think I am going to struggle.

I worked in a special needs school with many kids who have autism when I was younger and many who I have encountered think that this will make it very easy for me to accept and to just carry on with. They seem to forget that these children I worked with, they weren’t my own. I went home at the end of the day and so did they, I wasn’t emotionally connected to them like I am Dylan, my own son. Personally, I think it makes it a lot harder for me. I have experienced how autism affects children as they grow up, I know the struggles and what the future may bring.

We now have another 6-9 month wait for when they will see Dylan and give us an official diagnosis and get it over and done with then onto the next hurdle.
The lady wrote at the top of our one that we will take any cancellations and we just want to get the official diagnosis over and done with so that we can move onto the next part of the greving process.

-WeeOhana