Facing the Facts...


Posted on : 12:04 AM | By : Anonymous | In :

I've decided to finally face the facts and admit fully that Annie truly has autism.  I'm not sure where she is on the autistic spectrum... somewhere high functioning, probably Aspergers, with Sensitivity Integration problems.  She has not been diagnosed with anything except the Sensitivity Integration, because she was so high functioning that she would not qualify for other services.  

It has been a rough day.  Her little sister, at two years old, is more mature and handles situations much better and Annie looks to her for leadership and examples of normal. Annie screams constantly and is violent, and I've been trying desperately to treat her as normal in the hopes that my positive expectations of her would bring her closer to a behavior that would make her part of society in some way.  But that is simply false hope.  I need to treat her as an autistic child.  I don't see autism as a 'disease' that needs to be 'cured', but rather a neurological disorder that we will have to live with and that has some valuable aspects as well... for example, her amazing intelligence and memory.

Discipline is our major issue, but I found this wonderful post at Be a Good Dad that has given us a clue, and resonated with us about how Annie reacts to her situations.  I could post many, many examples of what an autistic tantrum looks like from YouTube, but suffice it to say that most people think their child throws a tantrum.  An autistic child throws a tantrum that makes the neighbors think you have ripped all of her limbs off, and left her alone to die for a few hours at a time, several times a day.  And then you repeat that every day, forever.  There are no terrible twos, because emotional development is delayed.  While Autumn is turning three and getting over with the terrible twos in a way that I find incredibly easy to deal with, Annie is 5.5 and still in it but 100 times worse.

The trouble is that around others, Annie is able to contain herself for brief periods of time, a few hours, and function normally while internally imploding.  When she returns to our home she lets it all out by screaming about weird things, finding a comfort object that she has to hold in her hand constantly, and violence towards her sister.  Generally this is true but it happens in stores and other places as well, and people she is comfortable with. 

Anyway, I could take her to the doctor and try to qualify her for therapy, which I have heard can cause a major drain on the family as the world starts to revolve around the therapy of that child and consume time that could be spent doing quality family stuff.  Or I could continue to homeschool, arm myself with the knowledge and tools I need and give her the therapy of a loving, accepting family hopefully.  Medication is not an option for us at the moment (I have some strong feelings about Ritalin and antipsychotics for use in children), although all those alternative solutions like diet changes seem appealing.  

It's a freedom to allow myself to finally admit this.  And it's wonderful how much support there is on the internet... parents have really taken charge of this issue.

Comments (2)

Keeping you and Annie in my prayers.

I totally understand your "facing the facts and admitting" statement. Our Rylee wasn't diagnosed until she was 4. She is now 5 and I've just finally allowed it to be a reality in my life. Btw: it's the first time I've heard that she got to skip the terrible 2's due to emotional delays.
You and Annie will be in my prayers!